EA Sports is bringing back college football, marking a return for the franchise which was abandoned with NCAA Football 14 on the PlayStation 3. That was released all the way back in 2013, before the PlayStation 4 even launched, with the series put on ice ever since. Now it’s announced EA Sports College Football, and while it doesn’t have a title planned for 2021, it’s partnered with collegiate licensing company CLC to ensure it has access to over 100 teams, including uniforms, playbooks, and more.
Unfortunately, the rosters will not be accurate – for now. That’s because current NCAA rules prohibit players from selling their likeness rights while still in college, although it’s expected that these restrictions will change within the coming year or so. Presumably, EA Sports will be banking on a favourable outcome here – but whatever happens will not affect the title’s release, according to bigwig Daryl Holt.
“We'll just keep tabs on everything as it develops and we'll be ready,” he told ESPN. “That won't be a problem for us. But it's really, that's not an answer for us right now to decide. We're as much passengers as anyone else. So we make sure we deliver what our college football game players would want in a game. And that starts with just a very immersive experience and there's lots of things we can do to bring the true college game play and game day to the virtual world.”
The title’s just starting development, with the PlayStation 5 being a target platform. As such, there’s no additional information to share at this point beyond the fact that it’s happening. We’re quietly optimistic for this project, to be honest: without the time constraints ordinarily associated with titles like Madden NFL 21, EA Sports may have the opportunity here to really go back to the drawing board and reinvent what a next-gen football game can be.
And that, ultimately, could benefit the Madden NFL franchise as well.