Video game includes detailed features of football team, stadium
While USC fans wait for football season to officially begin when the Gamecocks play the Pirates of East Carolina University on Saturday, Sept. 3, advocates of the sport are still able to experience the action that takes place in Williams-Brice Stadium — through a video game.
EA Sports released “NCAA Football 12” on July 12 and has since then generated record-breaking sales for the “NCAA Football” franchise. The game allows users to play as and against any current Division I FBS college football team of the NCAA, including the South Carolina Gamecocks.
According to Electronic Arts Inc., more than 700,000 copies of the game were sold during the first two weeks at retail, a figure increased by 17 percent compared to last year’s sales of “NCAA Football 11.”
Due to NCAA restrictions, the names and exact likenesses of student-athletes on the college teams are not used in the game, but according to Alex Howell, a designer of “NCAA Football 12,” most of the other factors are realistic.
“As far as likenesses, we have everything but the players,” Howell said. “Stadiums, mascots, jerseys, logos — they’re all extremely detailed. We tailor the teams and rosters to be as close to how the teams actually play on Saturday as we possibly can, including play styles and coaching.”
Howell also said that users do have the option to edit player rosters to have teammates look like actual USC players.
“NCAA Football 12” has introduced several new features to the franchise, including the “Road to Glory” mode, authentic gameday traditions, an enhanced tackling engine, a coaching carousel and conference customization.
“We have a brand new ‘Road to Glory’ mode, where you can create a player from scratch and play all the way through your senior year in high school with teams that you may have actually played in high school,” Howell said. “You can customize jerseys, logos and stadiums to create the experience to a T. We’re trying to recreate that college football experience since most people obviously don’t have the opportunity to walk on at South Carolina. We really try to put the user in the players’ shoes.”
Michael Nader, a second-year computer science student at USC, has experienced the “Road to Glory” gameplay.
“You pick a character, and how well you play determines how good of a recruit you’ll be,” Nader said. “Schools will try to recruit you, you choose a school and you get into the bottom of the lineup. You work your way to the top and get more responsibilities.”
Players are able to create custom conferences in the game, including changeable factors such as detailed schedule types, bowl tie-ins, team rivalries and realigning teams in and out of conferences.
“I always use South Carolina as an example in talking about custom conferences,” Howell said. “You can create your own conferences and edit those conferences in dynasty play, pulling Clemson from the ACC over into the SEC to play South Carolina if you want.”
In his conference customization, Nader was able to place Texas Christian University, currently a member of the Mountain West Conference, to the Big East Conference to realistically reflect this process that will take place in July of next year.
The game also features a brand new coaching carousel that allows users to “climb the ranks of the coaching ladder,” such as starting off a career as a coordinator and ending as a head coach leading a team to a national championship.
“It allows you to experience what that’s like in real college football,” Howell said. “Like if Clemson’s coach leaves, he’s got to go take a job somewhere else and someone has to fill his position, and it just trickles down until all these spots are filled … It’s a lot of control in the user’s hand, which is what we want — to put these options and cool, customized features in their hands. We let you go create the conference of your dreams and make ‘NCAA’ your own game.”
“NCAA Football 12” is rated “E” for everyone by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and is currently available for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 video game and entertainment systems.