EA Sports NCAA Football Producer Ben Haumiller says he's heard the critics and gamers across the web talk smack about the company's long-running college football series and believes this is the year they will change their tune.
With this week's decision by the NCAA to not renew its contract with EA Sports with the Ed O'Bannon copyright infringment case ongoing, it's quite possible that "NCAA Football 14" may be the last game in the series that bears the NCAA name. It may also be the best.
"NCAA games are always different from year to year, but this year’s additions are noticeable improvements," Game Informer's Matthew Kato said in his review. "NCAA 14 doesn’t take the kind of giant leap forward that will be noticed by the masses, but it’s an installment that will be built upon and which we will look back at as a key moment in the franchise’s larger history."
The company's latest addition to their annual college football series adds a bevy of secondary gameplay additions that Haumiller sees as a great way for the franchise to end its run on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 before the development team begins to focus on next generation consoles.
But before they go on to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, Haumiller said he wanted to get the game right on the PS3 and 360.
"I think the biggest criticism with the last year’s game was that it was starting to show its age," Haumiller said. "This year, we put a big emphasis on making changes to the game that will help us shed that perception. The front-end menus have a completely different look, instantly making the game feel different the first time you boot the game up."
New additions to the game's Dynasty Mode and the implementation of the Infinity 2 physics engine Haumiller said mean more gameplay options and a more realistic game than last season.
"Our Dynasty Mode is one of the deepest career modes in sports video games. With the addition of Coach Skills, and the revamping of recruiting, through the new Power Recruiting system, the mode is even more engaging than ever before," Haumiller said. "On the gameplay side, the additions of physics through the Infinity Engine 2 and in the option game add additional depth and realism to the game that we’ve never seen before in the NCAA Football franchise."
With the current console generation winding down as well, Haumiller's vision of making the best NCAA football game may become a reality.
"There were so many great things that came together this year to provide the most complete NCAA Football experience to date," Haumiller said. "I think this year’s game will be remembered as the game that shrugged off the perceived staleness of the past and helped usher in the new era of college football."
"NCAA Football 2014" is now available on the XBox 360 and the Playstation 3.