NCAA Football 10 First Look

EA Sports lifts the veil on its upcoming college football game and creates a school of tools.

by

Let's say you've had a falling out with your favorite college football team. Not to name names here, but hypothetically speaking, let's just say your team, which in recent seasons had an incredible run near the top of its conference, spent the past year lingering in futility, with a faltering offense that barely managed to find first downs, much less the end zone. Your favorite team lost to its archrival in an embarrassing shutout and, in the offseason, fired its longtime coach in favor of an unproven and unpopular choice.

Clearly things aren't going well for you and your team. But if you're an Auburn Tigers fan--oops, we said we wouldn't name names here--what do you do? Well, if you're playing EA Sports' upcoming NCAA Football 10, you just might consider replacing your favorite team with one of your own creation. An incredibly deep create-a-school feature makes its debut in EA's upcoming college football game, and we got a chance to see it, and the rest of the game, for the first time at EA Sports' recent New York City press event.

Technically, create-a-school isn't new. The previous-generation versions of the NCAA Football series gave you the option to create schools from scratch, along with a limited number of options for school color and uniform style. With NCAA Football 10, create-a-school has been blown out; it's so big, in fact, that the tools you use to create your school are completely separate from the game itself. Instead, the tools will be released as an application on the EA Sports World Web site. EA is aiming to release the application about a month prior to the game's July release, which means you'll get a head start on creating exactly the program you want and have it ready to go on day one.

As for the tool itself, it's an easy-to-use Web application that takes you through the various steps of creating your school. You start with the basics--name, location, nickname, and so on--before moving on to the real meat of the tool, the graphics and uniform editor. Because this is a Web app, you can import any sort of graphic to serve as your team logo--or alternate logo, if you like--and the number of uniform options is much larger than in the old PS2/Xbox days. Handy tools such as a color matcher will let you identify and nail just the right color scheme for your team, and you'll even be able to choose from any stadium in the game to serve as your home stadium. There's no custom stadium creator, unfortunately, but you can choose from a handful of generic stadiums if you don't want to use a well-known locale. In addition, you'll be able to customize things like grass patterns and color (for that all-important Boise State look), as well as end zone appearance and on-field logo placement.

While the new create-a-school tool is great for people who want to create their own dream team, create actual FCS (Division II-A) programs that have heretofore been missing in the game, or re-create their high school or middle school programs, it seems like it's going to be an equally functional tool for making sure your favorite team's roster is fully up to date, or for accurately re-creating classic college teams (complete with their real lineups). The Web-based creation tool will let you create and rate every player on your team, and longtime NCAA fans know that typing in roster names with a mouse and keyboard is infinitely preferable to hunting and pecking with the in-game keyboard. Better yet, the ability to upload created schools as well as search through the thousands of user-created programs will mean that you'll be able to explore and download from a huge variety of user-created schools.

Created schools will be available for play in both online and offline dynasties, as well as quick-play matches, but will not be available in Campus Legend mode or in online head-to-head matchups. This is because created schools become part of the online dynasty file that is shared between players in the dynasty; while in head-to-head matchups, sharing the data on both schools would result in a download too large to quickly get the game going.

The other new feature on display for NCAA 10 was the Season Showdown, an over-arching feature that looks to work off the rivalries that are already so prevalent in college football. Essentially, anything you do in NCAA 10 will earn you credits toward an overall score for your favorite team in NCAA 10. From playing games against the CPU, to taking on opponents online, or even playing Web games on the EA Sports World Web site, everything you do will contribute to your team's overall score for that week. Essentially, even if your team is stinking it up on the field, with enough fan support, they might be winning games in Season Showdown.

The new create-a-school tools are easy to use and in-depth.

Each week during the college football season, those points will go toward your team's head-to-head Season Showdown matchup against whichever team it will be facing that week in the real world. The team with the most cumulative Season Showdown points at the end of that weeks' matchup wins the game, and the competition begins again the following week. Full season stats will be tracked in the mode, with a 32-team playoff kicking off late in the season, resulting in a championship Season Showdown matchup that will coincide with the BCS National Championship game.

In addition to simply playing NCAA 10 to earn credits, how you play the game will also go toward your team's score. For instance, the game will reward you for sportsmanship (by avoiding cheese tactics like going for it on every fourth down or running up the score on an opponent). If you're consistently loyal to your favorite team and play it regularly, that will earn you points. And of course, good old-fashioned skill on the sticks will also help you on your quest to increase your team's chances.

Yeah, we'll have to go with Tennessee here.

In terms of on-the-field gameplay, the NCAA 10 team seems to be taking some risks this year, introducing some new features that might end up being controversial for hardcore players. Foremost among them is the concept of chaining plays. This is a way for players to link similar plays together in an effort to fool the opposing defense and burn them for a big play. The example shown during our demo was a simple fullback run up the middle. In the team's playbook, that simple run play was linked to a play action pass right next to it. By calling one play or the other, you essentially begin to set up the other play in the link. It takes several calls of that play to fully set up its sister play, so you'd need to run the ball up the middle several times to set up the play action effectively. But, once you do, the chances of the defense "biting" on the play action is increased, allowing you to make something happen with the pass. Plays set up gradually as you call them, and once a play is fully set up, you can use it at any time in the game.

The concept of linking plays makes sense--it is, after all, what coaches and teams try to do on Saturdays in the real sport. We're just hoping that it doesn't come off as canned and overly powerful in its implementation in NCAA 10. At the very least, it's going to require an even more diligent eye for the player on defense to try to recognize the play before it unfolds.

A new game-plan feature will let you set preferences for every position on the field. For example, on pass defense, you'll be able to choose from options like "go for the pick," "normal," or "swat." While there's an obvious reward for instructing your defensive backs to try for an interception, there's the counterrisk of those backs getting beat if they miss the ball and get caught out. Similarly, if you instruct your players to go for more strip ball attempts, you might end up with a forced fumble or two, but you run a similar risk of getting called for more facemask penalties as a result. Your game plan can be as fluid as you like in the game, and you can make adjustments at any time to try to react to what your opponent is doing.

There will be lots of ways to earn credits for your school in Season Showdown.

Another tool in your defensive toolbox will be the concept of keying in on the offense. This is essentially a guess on the part of the defense of what the offense will do. You've got four choices: run right, run left, run middle, or pass. Successfully keying in on a play call will increase your odds of stuffing it, while failure might result in a big play for the offense. In addition, you can key in on specific players--such as focusing on a star receiver when the offense is in the spread formation looking to convert a long third down. Keying in on players doesn’t necessarily mean double coverage; rather, it means that the CPU players will be more aware of that player's position on the field and will try to put themselves in a better position to stop him or break up the play.

Last year's NCAA Football 09 practically reinvented online play with its ambitious online dynasty feature, and we've got big hopes that this year's game will improve upon that feature, as well as its offline counterpart. EA wasn't ready to go into detail about those improvements yet. We have yet to hear what's in store for this year's Campus Legend mode, but we expect to learn more about the game, and get our hands on it for the first time, at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. Until then, check out the GameSpot sports blog for all the latest NCAA Football 10 news leading up to its release in July.

Discussion

63 comments
DarthMichael20
DarthMichael20

It sounds pretty good so far BUT..... Will there be playable FCS (Division II-A) teams? I don't want to have to create something that already exists. They were included in the PS2 and Original XBOX versions. Why can't we have them on the next-gen consoles? That has been the reason I haven't purchased another NCAA football game over the last two or three years.

amogil
amogil

is EA gonna make the guys run crazy looking again .. maybe they should use the engine from 07 08 time frame and incorporate into 10 cause 09 running was corny ... sorry just ranting been play cfb since dreamcast

swb21
swb21

EA needs to be concerned with improving actual gameplay, like CPU playcalling. It's been the same since 2005 I find it hard to believe they can't improve that.

swamptick
swamptick

LOVED the burn on AubRUN Tigers. Roll Tide! 36-0

Elite_Baller
Elite_Baller

I'm sorry to say it Juicy Mullet. but thats one of the advantages of going D1. You work hard in High School to be the best of the best. Then you get recognized as the best of the best. My statement is very contiversial and bias I understand. but the truth is the truth.

Elite_Baller
Elite_Baller

I think that it would be cool if you could download an ranking update every week. I mean seriously it dosen't feel realistic when you're about to start up a game and you see a team at #1 when in actuallity they dropped down to like 17 or something.

rynedee
rynedee

The gameplay modifications sound like a welcome addition, while the create-a-school is going to be 'love-it-or-hate-it', altho it might be fun to d/l the 1924 Notre Dame team or a Slingin' Sammy Baugh TCU team. The Season Showdown is nothing more than a lame attempt to make College Football 10 relevant. My guess is that the pre-season top-5 will dominate the season showdown, as most players will go with a good team (kinda like trying to play a game of FIFA without playing against a ManU, AC Milan, Barcelona, etc.). Can't wait for more info on their Campus Legend mode...

Jedi_Dad
Jedi_Dad

I am not so excited about the create-a-school. I love the heisman mode and hope they have really worked that over and made it alot better by adding new options and new positions. I am still hoping for the day when online co-op against humans or CPU becomes a reality. Sports titles seem to be the last holdouts to this FPS stable feature.

butterlou
butterlou

I hear what some of you are saying on this thread... however, be careful what you wish for. The IN GAME PLAY mechanics should be tweaked. I don't care who has an umbrella or where the cheerleaders are looking. When I make a cut, don't make my speed and acceleration start all the way over. Don't use the guys at 2K; those games were NOT that good. If so, they would have won the license and/or would still be involved. Work on the jukes; jukes work. Defensive guys that are streaking with the flanker CAN NOT hawk back to the ball and perform some awesome interception on the wideout who was in the flat... WTH?! The rosters. Get the roster ish fixed. Last year you could have all your favorites then the patch came and it wiped out all rosters and carried over into NCAA Hoops as well. Get that fixed then focus on the other stuff. Referees since they are "in the game" and cheerleaders, crowds, and mascot interactions.

Set_Free
Set_Free

Gooooooooooooooooooooo BLUE!!!!!!!!!! Born a Michigan fan and i will die a Michigan Fan.... Win Lose or Draw!!!!!!

sison101
sison101

I really hope this is better than the past few years. I love college football and last year got Madden instead. Too bad that was a mistake as well. We're all tired of shelling out $60 for a game where the only change is there's less in the game and load times get worse and worse. Come on EA you rich bastards!!! Earn your $$$ this year instead of us just throwing it at you cuz we were too stupid.

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

One NCAA football game in your library of sports games is enough.

Ubermensche
Ubermensche

Only will think about buying it if EA can get the PS3 version to actually run well and also support 1080i/p resolution. Pretty pathetic considering GT5, GTA4, MGS4, DMC4, LBP, and KZ2 can all support 1080 yet EA can't figure it out for a football game. Also since all of the above games mentioned are graphically superior in every way to these rehashed EA sport titles.

gwave65
gwave65

That's right, Roll F-ing Tide Baby!!! We never went anywhere. We were just trying to give the rest of the country a chance to catch up with the SEC!

costlywar
costlywar

My friend and I was playing NCAA Football 09" the other night. WE were observing and looking at the details of this game. We had to laugh at several things. When it was raining hard ,and nobody in the whole stadium (PSU @LSU) had an umbrella or a poncho on. The players were playing but they did not look wet. The cheerleaders were jumping for joy without showing they were getting drenched. Almost makes for a good deodorant ad., "you won't feel wet". Most of the players when they were hurt no one really cared. There was no assistance whatsoever! The fans along with the sideline bench were cloned and clapping and supposedly cheering in the wrong direction. You could have thrown a long 40 yd pass and the player would keep his feet in-bounds and his team on the sidelines would be clapping like they had down -syndrome looking another direction, when the action was not even there. Then there is an annoying loud person which is repeated in every single game saying stupid remarks. "I can't believe this is happening" in every game in almost every down. See, this is what we are talking about. Create-a-school, send in the clowns, do a fantasy draft, big deal! How about making the game atmosphere better, the crowds interact with game and the weather. How about different refs calling the penalties instead of the same one. ESPN 2K5, now there was a game with a lot realistic game details. It had a real football experience, from the colorful announcers, to the half-time,post game show. Too bad Take 2 developers do not have license for this game. You can learn from them EA SPORTS! Next year are we to anticipate create- your- own- clown, or cheerleader! Yea! that will make the game much more fun. NOT. Final score : Penn State 17 LSU 14

Espurs117
Espurs117

lol @ all the "suddenly bama roll tide!" fans.

kbmj2324
kbmj2324

Same game AGAIN I see....EA please for the sake of us gamers, give up the exclusive license!!!

Furycliff
Furycliff

I am a huge college football fan and because of that I have bought NCAA football 7 of the last 8 years. I will not be buying it this year. Every year I get my hopes up thinking its going to be different and they are going to fix the real problems. And every year I am let down to find out they fail to address the gameplay problems, and often just create new ones with the new features(impact players, momentum anyone?). So have fun with the game this year guys, the CFB fan in me will miss it, but its time to show im tired of the same average gameplay, and I just cant support this game anymore.

KingJduro
KingJduro

As long as I can create a school and take it to A dynasty I will buy this havent bought a college football game in a couple of years!

GodofBigMacs
GodofBigMacs

LOL, I was thinking about Michigan, not Auburn. But I guess Auburn works.

ImYour13thStep
ImYour13thStep

Create a school could be interesting.....hmmmm...the possibilities!!!

QingJao86
QingJao86

To me it sounds like its changing the same ole same ole game, I never get it the same year, but I might this year.

thequietguy
thequietguy

The Create-a-School thing sounds sick, but all the credits stuff seems really complicated. It's nice to know that EA is at least trying, though.

JuicyMullet
JuicyMullet

I just can't believe theres STILL no FCS teams. I don't want to CREATE my school. I want to play with the ACTUAL TEAM. Is it really too much to ask EA??? You have a blu ray disk with the PS3 that has 60 freekin gbs of room on it.

twashington9737
twashington9737

I'm not big on college ball of any sort but I do watch, time to time, especially when it comes to Bowls and March Madness however, I did go in a bit when it comes to the NCAA Football franchise and have even owned a few games. I stopped buying them after the 05 version but continued to rent. The reason being is that I realized I was just wasting money because when Madden would come out, thereafter, the college game would sit idle and get dusty. That being said, I WILL be making this purchase. This clip looks better than the sizzle clip I seen on IGN. I see how some things have been implemented, including how the players appear to run better than before and, also, reading and hearing about the new features has me excited. I'll give it shot, again, this year.

Lostboy1224
Lostboy1224

Very happy create a school is back, but I just hope they fix all the small things that add up to big things. I love the college atmosphere so I hope they get a little more creative and reliable when it comes to the commentary this year. Last year I would hear the same inside jokes about 5 times a game. Keep it simple but change up wording and emphasis to make it seem like new material. Maybe some audio clips for game winning situations and championship settings, that would be nice. I would love to hear totally different audio for BCS games. Oh, and dear god add something to the Campus legend mode cause it was the exact same thing last year and if you ignore it for 3 years in a row that would be insulting.

ftwhog
ftwhog

it sounds like there ruining a great game,i did buy it every year but i don't know about this yr

nakasa5
nakasa5

Who is on the cover this year? It should definitely be Knowshon Moreno jumping over that Central Michigan safety. Air Knowshon!

andrew122085
andrew122085

Yep Bama is back and Auburn is out they should have never fired Tubbs he has been the best coach there in along time

mechberg
mechberg

@andrew122085 - You had to win one sooner or later.

andrew122085
andrew122085

Hey AUBURN.... We Just Beat The Hell Outta You! Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer Give Em Hell ALABAMA.....ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!!!!

mechberg
mechberg

Yes, of course it's Tennessee! My bad, Volunteers. Fixed.

PhilWil92
PhilWil92

"For instance, the game will reward you for sportsmanship (by avoiding cheese tactics like going for it on every fourth down or running up the score on an opponent)." -Ummm, not running the score up is part of sportsmenship online? What am I supposed to do when I have the ball on the 5 yard line because they fumbled? That's kinda dunb if you ask me. @LEGOslayer Apparently GS doesn't know their college football (or colleges for that matter). HAHA I noticed it too. I feel like Tennessee takes that as a insult too.

LEGOslayer
LEGOslayer

Wow GS...thats Tennessee not Texas...as a Texas fan, I take insult to that.

Netherscourge
Netherscourge

Why don't they add more frames per animation? The players always look robotic in NCAA and Madden...

njm1314
njm1314

Just please tell me that the offense isn't as broken this year. The defensive AI last year was just atrocious (I think somebody forgot to actually program in what zone coverage is). But I'll buy it for the create a school function alone, the UTSA Roadrunners are coming baby!

Heros_Enemy
Heros_Enemy

HEY! IM A TENNESSEE FAN HERE! Good game totallly gonna buy.

maverick_76
maverick_76

Oh and also if the animations like suction blocks, morph interceptions and dreaded spin and rocket catches are there, again, no sale for you EA!

maverick_76
maverick_76

Funny about the UT caption, looks like Eck made a boo-boo there. As far as the game is concerned, I'm going to rent it first and see for myself how realistic it is. If I find that I can cheese the computer and win online by not being a savvy play caller but a game exploiter, no sale for you EA!

NuKkU
NuKkU

Looks good but i like pro sports better college it isnt that good

kingtwiggy
kingtwiggy

I think I might just rent it this year...I've bought every version since the first one for PS2 but it's just getting a bit lackluster. Too much of the same ol' same ol' and not enough new features/improvement. I do like the fact that they're bringing back the create a school, but without the create a stadium it just isn't quite the same. I'm glad I wasn't the only one that noticed the fumble on the picture caption. That's CLEARLY a Tennessee uniform...not Texas.

mil60osu
mil60osu

How can you guys not point out the fact that in page 2, the picture says "we'll have to go with Texas here" when that is a Tennessee player. Who writes these things. How can you not tell that Texas has a longhorn on their helmet, and only Tennessee has a "T" on there

lindseyiluvyou
lindseyiluvyou

Did anyone else have trouble on NCAA 2009 with encroachment? It seemed like every 5 minutes i wouldn't do jack and my defense would move and get an encroachment

costlywar
costlywar

I agree with DirtyAI. Create -a-team is like sending in the clowns, or doing a fantasy draft and there you go. Please report to us that this game has other better attributes. Otherwise, its hello game rental, instead of here is $60.00