Archive for the ‘NCAA Football’ Category

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With the release of EA Sports’ NCAA Football 14, gamers have their first opportunity to immerse themselves in the popular card collecting Ultimate Team mode with some of college football’s all-time greats. The inclusion of Ultimate Team mode in NCAA Football 14 allows college football fans to assemble a roster from over 1400 of the game’s greatest players.

Gamers can play against the CPU in solo challenges, or go head-to-head online in Seasons Mode. By collecting “coins”, players can help build their own powerhouse lineups, comprised of greats like Desmond Howard, Doug Flutie, and Eddie George.

ESPN and EA Sports asked fans to vote on the #UltimateTeam of the last 25 years, and the Nebraska Cornhuskers emerged victorious on the strength of their back-to-back National Championships of the 1990s. As a part of the celebration of the great Cornhuskers teams, Tommie Frazier has been included as a playable character in NCAA Football 14‘s Ultimate Team Mode. Frazier is best remembered for leading the 1994 and 1995 Cornhuskers teams to back-to-back National Championships. Frazier’s 75-yard run versus the Florida Gators in the 1996 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is still considered one of the greatest plays in college football history.

EA Sports is giving away a Tommie Frazier card to anyone who logs into NCAA Football 14’s Ultimate Team mode from Friday, August 16 to Thursday, August 22. Frazier lent Franchise Mode a few minutes of his time to discuss all things NCAA Football 14.

Franchise Mode: How much of a role did you play in bringing Nebraska fans out to vote on EA Sports’ #UltimateTeam?

Tommie Frazier: I didn’t really have to play an active role in that because the fans of Nebraska are going to do what’s right. They were always going to go out and support their program and the University of Nebraska. I don’t think any former players had to do much lobbying. If you know the true passion of fans of the Nebraska football program, then you know that anytime they have a chance to go out and support the football program, then they’re going to do it.

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If you haven’t heard, the NCAA is currently in a lawsuit for current and former student athletes over the alleged use of player likenesses in EA Sports video games without receiving  compensation. Last month, the NCAA announced that they’ll no longer license their trademarks in EA Sports video games, and today the Southeastern Conference is doing the same.

“Each school makes its own individual decision regarding whether or not to license their trademarks for use in the EA Sports game(s),” the SEC said in a statement. “The Southeastern Conference has chosen not to do so moving forward. Neither the SEC, its member universities, nor the NCAA have ever licensed the right to use the name or likeness of any student to EA Sports.”

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After the news that the NCAA was no longer providing their license for college sports video games, many were wondering what was going to happen to the state of the NCAA Football franchise. Andrew Wilson, Executive Vice President of EA Sports, has assured fans that the franchise will continue without the NCAA name. Here’s what he had to say:

EA SPORTS will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks. Our relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Company is strong and we are already working on a new game for next generation consoles which will launch next year and feature the college teams, leagues and all the innovation fans expect from EA SPORTS.

So look for a game without a cover athlete, with the usual ESPN integration, and without any NCAA representation (see a mock cover above). The fact that EA Sports is bringing the series onto the next-gen consoles is a good sign though.

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Wow, this is pretty huge. Presser from the NCAA:

The NCAA has made the decision not to enter a new contract for the license of its name and logo for the EA Sports NCAA Football video game. The current contract expires in June 2014, but our timing is based on the need to provide EA notice for future planning. As a result, the NCAA Football 2014 video game will be the last to include the NCAA’s name and logo. We are confident in our legal position regarding the use of our trademarks in video games. But given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA.

The NCAA has never licensed the use of current student-athlete names, images or likenesses to EA. The NCAA has no involvement in licenses between EA and former student-athletes. Member colleges and universities license their own trademarks and other intellectual property for the video game. They will have to independently decide whether to continue those business arrangements in the future.

Damn, and this year’s NCAA Football game was so good.

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A tweet has been making the rounds this morning (see below), featuring an Aaron Hernandez card being unlocked in NCAA 14. Because of the timing of the release of NCAA 14 (the game comes out tomorrow), Hernandez is still featured in the game.

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EA Sports has quickly acted on the matter, with a message from their spokesperson:

“We made a decision to remove Aaron Hernandez from Madden NFL 25 and NCAA Football 14. Because NCAA Football 14 was finalized prior to our decision, Hernandez’ image still appears in the Nike Skills Trainer. However, he is not in the game, and anyone who unlocks that particular Nike Skills Trainer reward will receive an Alex Smith Ultimate Team player item instead. The image of Hernandez will be removed via a Title Update in the near future.”

He won’t be on the Patriots in the upcoming Madden 14, being released from the team after being charged with first-degree murder. He also won’t even show up on the free agent roster. Smart move by EA.

EA Sports returns with NCAA Football 14 on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. This year’s installment comes with a bevy of promises on improved gameplay and presentation, let’s see if it lives up to the hype.

NCAA 14 sees the integration of the Infinity Engine that fans of the Madden series will be familiar with. It’s the game’s most immediately noticeable upgrade, as real-time physics are at play on every collision, cut, and hit. The Hit Stick is more central to defensive gameplay than ever before, enabling gamers to make big plays, and force turnovers.

EA Sports overhauled the running game this time around, with a specific focus on the option. For the first time, players can emulate the high octane spread offense of programs like Oregon. A renewed focus on blocking allows ball carriers to effectively navigate the field, opening up the play and enabling triple options, zone reads, and shovel options to be executed with more realism.

There’s a plethora of changes to presentation, too. New menu and loading screens offer a simpler delivery of game options, while over 500 new in-game animations help NCAA 14 feel like a new experience compared to its predecessors. New wide, zoom, and coordinator camera angles are a plus, as are the revamped player models, stadium atmospheres, and field textures.

The foundation from previous year’s efforts remains in dynasty mode, but new Coach Skills and Power Recruiting add depth to the game mode, while streamlining the team-building and courting processes. Coach skills provide 18 upgradeable categories to help you develop your players and boost your school’s ranking. No longer will you be tied up in phone calls and scouting for hours while recruiting the nation’s top high school talent, as recruiting ‘points’ can be allocated in a variety of ways.

Overall, NCAA 14 is an outstanding sports gaming experience. It’s been a long time coming for a true to life college football experience to hit the console circuit, and EA Sports’ NCAA Football 14 graduates with honors. The stagnant feeling left by NCAA 13 dissipates quickly once you take hit the field with the latest title. This is the college football game that college football fans have longed for.

 

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For many college football fans, EA Sports’ NCAA Football title has come to represent something of a disunion when it comes to gaming. The lone college football franchise grew stagnant with last year’s release, which offered little in the way of updated gameplay and design. The same old running and blocking problems plagued NCAA Football 13, and the continuing disarray on the defensive side of the ball was enough to push a lot of devoted gamers to the brink of breakup with the title.

EA Sports would have to deliver something new with NCAA Football 14 in order to retain its audience, and if the game’s demo is any indication, then it appears as though college football fans may finally receive the game they have desired for so long.

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