View Full Version : Kotaku: EA Sportsí "Football Czar" Opens With A Two-Month Drill

04-22-2011, 08:08 PM
"Before I came down here, I spent hours combing through forums and reading what people say. There's a lot of negative response to a lot of things," Weber says. "But when you think about it, you've got a really engaged community there. Maybe they're angry about certain things, maybe they're frustrated about certain things, but they're out there, they're passionate, and those are the people you want to build a game for.

"I'd rather deal with a passionate fanbase than one that doesn't care," Weber said.


Then came news that Madden 12 was moving from its traditional early August release date, to a week before the season opener.

EA Sports insists it planned to move the date all along, to align it with the league's ever growing gala week celebrating the new season, and this would be the new release window for future years. But comment boards and forum posters took it as EA throwing in the towel on a lockout year. Analysts have said a lockout threatens Madden's sales by up to half their usual total. Weber is adamant that, if there really is no football in real life, that makes 2011 the year to focus hard on game development, not to take a pass.

"If there was a year to produce a Madden for the hardcore, this would be it," Weber said. "In a year of potentially no NFL, the guys who are going to come back are the hardcore fans."

"Fundamentally, you'll see improved collisions, and significant improvements to the defensive AI," Weber said, and indeed, the AI tuning and these collisions - less of the "suction" tackles caused by certain animations - have been touted for Madden's Tiburon sibling, NCAA Football, which Weber also oversees. "We've also done a lot of work on how players perform throughout the game; we're diving deeper into how they perform as the momentum of a game changes. You'll see a ton of improvements in our Franchise and Superstar modes. And we'll have a new feature in how our players play the game online as well. But I can't get into more detail than that."


Weber showed up in February, halfway through Madden 12's build. What a three-year plan is, Weber says, is a comprehensive focus on football gameplay - "whistle to whistle" as he says - that's meant to keep each year from being purely reactive, so that future editions going forward all have identifiable long-term development behind them. In so doing, he offered that Tiburon's core football gameplay team would double in size. Though this crew works on the engine used by both Madden and NCAA, that became "Madden's team is doubling."

Weber reiterates: Twice as many people will be working on core gameplay for both games. Madden and NCAA retain their own teams of designers, producers and animators, focusing on the features that differentiate them.

"We're going to focus on building from the core out," Weber said. "It's something we've seen in the FIFA franchise. Our FIFA team had very large, dedicated and high performing central gameplay team that formed the core of their business. So, our NCAA football team does amazing job of delivering the sights, sounds, tradition and pageantry of college football. Our Madden team focuses on the NFL experience. We will let them focus on those things while having a high powered, heavily funded team driving improvements, from the core out."

Click here for the full article (http://kotaku.com/#!5794980/ea-sports-football-czar-opens-with-a-two+month-drill).