It's been over seven years since we've had an officially licensed college football video game, which is a shame considering that, while EA Sports's Madden series has been trash for over a decade, the NCAA football series has always been pretty solid. But fans of football simulation and, more importantly, mascot brawls ...
... can now rejoice because EA Sports announced this week that they will be bringing back college football video games.
We're living in exciting times, but as much as I want to don my customary chicken suit and pummel the shit out of Barney the Dinasaur in celebration...
... I can't help but feel like something is amiss. Namely, shouldn't this be impossible? The reason the NCAA Football franchise disappeared to begin with was because players were not getting paid for their likeness or even paid at all. That hasn't really changed. It might change soon, but there are no guarantees. So, again, how is this happening?
Ah, here it is. EA just isn't including the "real-student athletes." Of course, this is bullshit, but you already knew that. This is EA we're talking about. This is the company that has its own page on Wikipedia just devoted to criticism. This is the company that gave us the virtual loot box:
But the reason EA claiming to not use player likeness in their upcoming games is especially bullshit is because it's something they've already been doing for years. The rosters in NCAA 14 never listed the player's actual name, but that didn't stop them from attributing ratings and distinguishing features and jersey numbers. So a player might show up in a game as South Carolina DE #7 99OVR, but we all knew that was Jadeveon Clowney:
Maybe this time around they actually randomize the rosters, but I doubt that happens. College football is all about pageantry and tradition and I doubt fans who are looking for a true-to-life experience are going to feel immersed when Alabama is led by a randomly generated 28 OVR QB while the Akron Zips are fielding a perennial powerhouse.
I could be wrong. Maybe fans won't care or maybe the EA developers will find a way to balance the teams appropriately and make them feel unique without assigning ratings based on the abilities of their actual players. (I'm not sure how. The reason Clemson is good at passing the ball is because Trevor Lawrence is really good at passing the ball.) Maybe they'll just focus on Mascot action:
Or maybe, for the love of God, they'll just pay the players. (Spoiler: They won't)
Top Image: EA Sports