The Future of Sports Video Games

Posted by WhenYourGodGivesYouLemons On 9:04 PM

....or at least this bloggers pipedream.

I enjoy both sports games, especially Madden and FIFA, as well as many other genres like first person shooters and real time strategy. The sports genre is a lucrative one due to its guaranteed fan bases and yearly sequels but as a fan I think some changes could be in order. While my enjoyment is unquestioned, the ability to live out your greatest sporting fantasies is always pleasing, I have a few suggestions for how the genre, especially the American sports like ice hockey, baseball, basketball and the Madden juggernaut could be improved.

My main point is that the career modes in the respective codes should be an adequate representation of a career in that sport. By that I mean games like NCAA Football and Madden should be combined to create one game. While this idea will be poison to companies like EA who churn out the college and pro versions of several sports, increasing their ability to make money, it would certainly, in my opinion, be a hit with fans.

My overall idea, which by no means is perfect, would see the player chose to become either a coach or a player within the game world. If they chose the role of a player then they are immediately thrust into the final stretch of the high school football season, the last 3 games or something. The player would partake in the games and would be allocated experience points and attribute points ala traditional RPGs and the raft of online massively multiplayer role playing sports games like Goal Line Blitz, Blue Line Attack and 11 Strong. In that career the player would be given one shot at these games, against tough opposition to determine there college interest; play well you garner more attributes and make yourself more attractive to scouts, struggle and your interest will go down and your starting college attributes won't be as high. The player will then be given a choice of interested colleges but if the school you'd like to attend is not interested then you can forgo a scholarship and play as a walk-on. This will affect your status on the team as you could give up a starting position on a lesser team by attempting to make it on a more prestigious team. The game here would then implement elements of FIFA's Be A Pro feature. If the player is not first string then they would play on the scout team and in training scrimmages instead of in the weekly games. This way the player would continue to gain experience, although not as much as playing in actual games, and attributes and eventually good performances would lead to a starting role. Sit around too long and you can transfer out to another program but incur the penalty of not being able to gain any match xp just training xp.

Once the player becomes a starter or if they were a sought after recruit and were always a starter elements like pre and post game interviews would come in to play ala the Football Manager series. Comments the player makes in the media would affect team and player morale. For instance demanding to be the centre of attention would boost your morale, possibly affecting performance, but affect the teams morale and chemistry. Conversely shunning your star status and praising the team would result in better team morale and chemistry and a better team performance. These media interactions would also affect your non-physical attributes like temper, composure and teamwork. In this respect flying off the handle in interviews would raise your temper, resulting in a higher chance of being ejected from a game and a decrease in composure during games. These mental attributes would play a major role in your players performance when you elect to sim a game instead of playing it yourself and could also result in study violations or other penalties/benefits depending on their makeup.

Bonus xp games could also be unlocked through all American nominations etc and the combine, draft camp or equivalent would also be a place to gain bonus xp. At the camp/combine a standard amount would be determined but an exceptional leap or agility result would grant you extra xp, like some Madden titles, which could be vital if you were a walk on with low draft prospects.

The pros would work much the same as college in regards to your roster status ie training games instead of actual games and also your xp gains would start to shrink as your player gets older, once again similar to FIFA's Be a Pro. Mental attributes here could once again affect your personal life with drug and other elements seeping into your players lifestyle if their mental attributes are in a certain setting.

On the coaching side of the game the player would be given an option of creating a new unique coach or continuing on the player you created in the game. I realise this would be a stretch for the engine creating a game that would sim and create, what could be 50+ seasons but I think the next gen tech could do it if given the chance.

Players who play through a players career and then coach would be given some benefits for their commitment. In the pros the last team they played for would give them a chance, a prolonged chance (yes you could get fired) compared to other teams and the player would have greater connections at his alma mater ie a better scouting report on potential draftees. If they choose to coach in college the same benefits would apply, the coach's alma mater would give them more support and a longer chance during tough times and the coach would have an advantage in recruiting players from his high school. Former team mates, who are now coaches, would also be more inclined to accept contracts from you depending on the status of your team morale and chemistry while you were on the team.

The usual coach roles would also be included like recruiting (players would choose what games they scout for players), trades, training etc. The main change to coaching would be interviews which would once again affect your player's morale and chemistry. Player interaction, which would be especially important in college as you could talk to a player who is thinking of transferring and attempt to persuade him to stay, would be another new feature while coaches would be given the opportunity to offer up extra money (from their career earnings) for better coaches ala Sean Payton or improvements to facilities and coaches would have the ability to move between coaching in the pros and in college.

Finally everyone's favourite feature from the NCAA series, create a school, would also be included opening up a whole bunch of other possibilities.

Players, in these sorts of games, would be given the greatest depth possible a sports game could offer and would experience a level of engagement and involvement that would make other games jealous. I'll admit that the idea of a career spanning 50+ years/seasons is ambitious and some of the flow on effects could be hard to implement and some players may not be attracted to it but the prospect of completing an entire sporting career from relative start to finish is rather cool in my opinion. It would be a revolution in sports gaming in my opinion and certainly much more than a roster update.



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