First look: NCAA Football 2003 GameCube

EA shows off the new features of its college football game.

EA's upcoming NCAA Football 2003 for the GameCube will feature all 117 Division I-A and 27 I-AA schools. Improvements upon last year's game include new 3D cheerleaders and 25 new mascots, with more than 200 team-specific chants and fight songs and school-specific stadium entrances. Players are also modeled with increased levels of detail, featuring larger uniform patches, pride stickers, and new faces and textures.

Further improving upon the NCAA Football 2002's gameplay aspects are the new plays and formations that are in this year's version, including new option variations and dynamic wide-receiver splits. Players are also outfitted with new animations, including standing catches, stiff arms, broken tackles, and new speed options. There are also new control mechanics, including a defensive coach's cam and defensive swat. Changes made to the game's AI include an enhanced running game, defensive pass coverage and blocking schemes, independent audibles for the defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs, and the ability to review offensive and defensive assignments drawn on the field.

New game modes and features added include a rival game mode, in which schools can face off against their archenemies, for a chance to win one of 23 rivalry trophies. Players can lounge in a trophy room, displaying notable victories, as well as participate in all of the 28 bowl games, including the San Francisco Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, and Queen City Bowl. With the "my favorite team" feature, players can also personalize their interface to include a particular team's mascot, school music, logos, and color scheme. The new create-a-school feature allows for the creation of a custom team, which can be taken into the season and dynasty modes, with control over the creation of a name, uniform, stadium, and fight song.

This year's dynasty mode includes new custom schedules, allowing for the selection of nonconference and nontraditional games, as well as neutral-site games and classic matchups. There are also opportunities for off-season improvements, including coaching strategies such as recruitment and cutting, based on on-field performance, crowd attendance, and the program's prestige.

Rounding out the changes to this year's version of the NCAA Football franchise is the addition of a pennant collection, through which players can unlock secret teams, stadiums, and cheats. NCAA Football 2003 players will also be able to unlock special Madden Cards in Madden NFL 2003. There are also 50 new mascot teams, as well as the 2001 All-American team. The commentary this year is manned by Kirk Herbstreir, Brad Nessler, and Lee Corso and has been improved with less repetition and more in-game content.

We'll have more on NCAA Football 2003 as the game approaches release.

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