For years, EA Sports has been dealing with questions from college football fans as to when its video game series on the sport would make its return. Tuesday came with a massive update on the future of the college game on next-generation consoles.
ESPN spoke to Daryl Holt, the vice president and general manager of EA Sports on Tuesday, who confirmed that the series will be rebooted under the name “EA Sports College Football.”
EA itself put out a tease for the upcoming game on social media.
For those who never stopped believing...#EASPORTSCollegeFootball pic.twitter.com/2vDUYnbXEJ— EA SPORTS (@EASPORTS) February 2, 2021
“As we look for the momentum that we’re building on in sports, it all starts with the passion of our fans and the opportunities of what they are interested in,” Holt said. “I don’t think there’s a visit where I go outside wearing a piece of EA Sports-branded apparel that someone doesn’t go, ‘Hey, when is college football coming back?’”
Holt told ESPN that the game is still a few years out from being a reality, but is now in active development with the team being assembled to make the game. EA Sports, which will not use the NCAA in its branding for the new project, partnered with a collegiate licensing company to get the rights to FBS schools, uniforms, and more to get things moving. As of now, there are reportedly over 100 teams that will be available to be played.
Holt explained the reasoning why the NCAA name is involved in the development of the project.
“It all starts really with where we see college football as going. There’s a lot of things happening, and there’s a lot of things happening in sports,” Holt said. “EA Sports College Football gives us a name and a brand to kind of workaround for some things that might evolve as well as what we’re focusing on really out of the gate, which is really the FBS Division I schools and the road to the College Football Playoff and college football championship.
“So EA Sports College Football we just felt is the right name for the product for not only now but also as we move forward.”
The game will be the first since NCAA Football 14, which featured Michigan Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson on the cover. As of now, the game is being developed without rosters that have the names, images or likenesses of actual athletes with NCAA rules prohibiting that from taking place. However, rule changes to that aspect of the athlete experience are expected to come within the next year or so.
Given the ever-evolving nature of the sport and some of the key things to still iron out, it makes sense that this is a long-term project that they seek to get right. NCAA Football 14 has developed a massive cult following the ability to download updated user-created rosters. During the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, some copies of the game were going for as much as $200 via resell markets.
College football is seemingly on its way back to gaming platforms. What do you want to see in the newest editions? Sound off in the comments below.