NCAA Football 12 First Look Preview

We run you through a quick introduction to the visual changes in this year's college football sim.

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It seems awfully appropriate that this year's entry in the NCAA Football series feels more like a free-spirited college game than ever. The timing really couldn't be any better. Up in the pro ranks, the NFL is headed toward a potential work stoppage for the 2011 season, and unless every big college football school in the country discovers that its student athletes totally didn't read Sense and Sensibility before writing their book reports, the amateur game will continue as always. As a nice bit of contrast to all of that serious collective-bargaining business, this year's NCAA Football is all about visually capturing the energy and eccentric team fandom that is unique to the college game.

For the team at EA Tiburon, doing this involves some substantial changes to the game's presentation. As one example, you'll find new team introductions geared toward showcasing the mascots and pregame rituals that make each team special, whether it's Texas students walking a live longhorn out onto the field, Georgia's English Bulldog Uga sniffing the grass like he's looking for somewhere good to mark his territory, or the Oregon Duck riding onto the field on a motorcycle. (Hopefully they won't grow too repetitive when you're playing a full season with your team of choice.) Other additions to the festivities include conference-specific broadcast packages and fully 3D crowds designed to reduce the cardboard cutout audience look.

NCAA Football 12 will offer a number of other presentation changes, as well. There's an HDR lighting system that, if it works according to EA's promise, will do a better job of adjusting the exposure levels on the fly when the game camera sweeps from sunlight to shadows, or vice versa. And in taking a page from this year's Tiger Woods game, the grass is all rendered in 3D blades rather than a flat textured surface. You'll actually see those blades come flinging up from the ground when a player takes a hard hit to the floor, though there is a certain shag carpet effect at certain times in terms of just how long the grass looks.

Most of what EA showed us was focused on the visual upgrades, though we did get to see a little bit of what Tiburon has in store for gameplay tweaks. As crazy as it sounds, one of the introductions to this year's game is a tackle button. Think of it as an alternative to the dive button and the hit stick when playing on defense: a more conservative option when you don't necessarily want to go for the home run. It'll work in a revamped tackle animation system that Tiburon hopes will eliminate the artificial look of players floating into tackling position before making the big play. This seems like one of the more subtle changes that only diehard fans of the series will pick up because the animations themselves aren't drastically different from last year's.

College football fans love honoring foreign nations. Just not right now.

Right now, we're intrigued by some of the ways that Tiburon is trying to capture the festivities of the college game. The new intro celebrations are slick, and the revamped lighting gives an otherwise familiar graphics engine the chance to pop a bit more than in previous games. Now, we're left wondering what's in store for the new game modes and changes to existing game modes. Last year's game took some criticism for not doing much with previous game modes, so it seems like now would be a great time for the developer to complement the revamped presentation. We'll see what's in the pipe as we get closer to NCAA Football's summer release.

Discussion

24 comments
gameboy900
gameboy900

 @knighthawksfan I got a Xbox 360. My Gamertag is: GameboySP9000 but I have this game on the PS3. My PSN ID is: GameboySP9000.

knighthawksfan
knighthawksfan

@gameboy900 that is cool man if you got xbox live u should hit me up sometime bro and we can have some friendly games

gameboy900
gameboy900

@knighthawksfan North Carolina Tar Heels for me that's my team.

knighthawksfan
knighthawksfan

I can't wait too get this game because I am going too be playing with my iowa hawkeyes all day like always. Go Hawks!!!!!

my_dougie
my_dougie

@scoota69 Yea its impossible to make a read off nose tackle. BTW my Highschool coaches actually came up with the midline read back in the late 80's it spread like wild fire, we won a ton of games and a few state titles in 4 A

scoota69
scoota69

i just hope they can run the midline option correctly (aka reading the right read) the splite back veer option of army and a better version of the read option in pistol.....triple option or die!

georgeorjose
georgeorjose

i think i will actually get this game this year

rocksteady05
rocksteady05

O look new intro's again! Do they realize that after the first couple games EVERYONE skips the intro, and is left with the exact same game they had bought last year.

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

They always do a lot on presentation, and neglect the games modes. ''Try to maintain a balance between the new players and the die hard fan''.... that kinda sound familiar and not good! (madden)

buzzcann
buzzcann

@0:40 seconds, and @0:56... repeat canned animations within the first 60 seconds of teaser... FAIL.

RAMFANVILLAR
RAMFANVILLAR

They really have to consider the Madden clock management. The average number of plays per game is similar to real games. In this case we can play 15 mins qtr instead 7 or 8 mins qtr

icecoldkilla78
icecoldkilla78

i dont think they wil ever bring the I-AA teams back into the game, but i really wish that they would

bosoxphan
bosoxphan

They all cheat. If your not cheating your not trying.....USC cheats, Ohio State cheats, Bama cheats. They ALL cheat, only some get caught.

carpetviper
carpetviper

I don't know about being on the Offensive or Defensive Line, but I wish they made a gametype where gamers could play either 7 vs 7 or with an O and D line, 5 guys could be one player thorughout the game (well one player on Offense and another on Defense and Special teams) Eg, You are Brady on Offense, (LB) Tracy White on D, your buddy is Welker on Offense, Leigh Bodden on D, and then two more guys are receivers, tight ends, or running backs on Offense & DBs, LBs or CBs on Defense. Do you think it would work?

jlj905
jlj905

they finally gonna bring back the volumetric grass from madden 07, good stuff

daabulls23
daabulls23

I hope they address the running animations. It still feels and looks weird.

Ghosthunter54
Ghosthunter54

They need to switch to either the Euphoria engine or something like it if they want this game to improve mechanically. Writing more scripts for more canned animations is all EA ever does with their games. Time to change it up if they want it more realistic.

dellis66
dellis66

NCAA 11 was solid, only shortcoming of the top was blocking schemes to make the option more of an option

Zuhalter2000
Zuhalter2000

A tackle button? Really EA? Thats a step backwards.

PingwonCcb
PingwonCcb

Can I get UTEP's Paydirt Pete in the game!