At least one sports video game publisher in the industry isn't bothered by the exclusive licensing deal granted to Electronic Arts by the National Football League player's union. Midway is shaking off the hit and getting right back up with its announcement of the Mature-rated Blitz: Playmakers.
Ripped by sportswriters labeling it the "No Fun League," the NFL has been cracking down on anything controversial that occurs with one of its properties. Whether it be fining players for pulling mobile phones out of goal posts after touchdowns or chastising networks for television promos featuring a nude actress leaping into the arms of one of the league's bad boys, the NFL is pulling away from anything it deems not family-friendly.
Free of the shackles of rules and regulations from the NFL, Midway's upcoming extreme football title will tackle the dirt that surrounds the gridiron, including front office politics, excessive on-field violence, and drug abuse, all topics the NFL doesn't want to be associated with.
"No longer bound to the NFL license, there will be no league restrictions on content and gamers will finally experience what makes playing a football video game really fun: off-field controversies, dirty hits, excessive celebrations and much more," Midway marketing chief Steve Allison said in a statement.
Midway's previous Blitz games used the NFL license and featured big hits and excessive violence. The NFL, believing on-field violence in its league may be a result of violence in NFL-sanctioned games, took a thorough look at football games, particularly the Blitz series a few years ago.
In the upcoming Blitz: Playmakers, players will take a football team down in the dumps and restructure, re-staff, and revive the franchise into a celebrated squad of championship winners, fictionally named winners, that is. The extreme gridiron game will feature multiplayer competition and online play.
The title's story is appropriately being penned by a writer from Playmakers, a gritty ESPN drama about the highs and lows of pro football. The show wrought controversy because of its excessive portrayal of violence, sex, and drug use in a pro jock's life. It was canceled in 2004, reportedly under pressure from the NFL.
Blitz: Playmakers is scheduled for release in late 2005 on "multiple consoles." Midway did not specify which console, or whether it would be current or next-generation.