Codemasters today announced that it has secured the exclusive and official England soccer team video game rights and plans to release England International Football for the PS2 and Xbox in Europe in May. The Xbox version of the game will be the first soccer title for the console to support online play via Xbox Live, although no online play for the PS2 version has been announced at this time.
"It's a massive coup to win the rights to the England team for England International Football. We can now provide the England football fan with the true England international match day experience," said Nick Wheelwright, managing director at Codemasters. "On [the] Xbox, it's immensely pleasing to deliver the first football game ever to feature Xbox Live online play."
In addition to an accurate re-creation of the entire England squad, England International Football will feature a further 19 European national teams and 12 from elsewhere in the world. Teams confirmed for inclusion in the game to date include Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Australia, Japan, and Germany. All of the teams will be available for use on Xbox Live, where two players can choose to compete against each other or they can team up to play cooperatively.
"We're very pleased to be working with Codemasters to bring the first online-enabled football title to [the] Xbox--England International Football," said Michel Cassius, senior director, Xbox platform and marketing. "At last, football fans can enjoy footie action on Xbox Live, playing together with friends or competing against rivals. Xbox Live's unique voice chat feature will bring a great sense of cooperation and ease of play to the pitch."
England International Football has been in development at Codemasters since last year and builds on the company's Club Football engine. Commentary and match analysis in the game will come courtesy of Gary Lineker and Barry Davies, and crowds watching the game will acknowledge the action on the pitch with chants that were recorded live from England matches.
As players progress through the game, they'll unlock additional content, such as player profiles, team photographs, and video clips--including highlights of England's historic 5-1 drubbing of Germany back in 2001. The game will also feature a player editor system, which allows players to either keep the team up-to-date or to perhaps add themselves to Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad.
We'll bring you more information on England International Football, which has not been confirmed for North America at this time, as soon as it becomes available.