At today's Camp EA press event, EA Sports officially announced the development of NFL Street, a game featuring the stars of the NFL playing a style of football that closely resembles EA's other street sports game, NBA Street. The focus of NFL Street will be on hard-hitting action, pick-up-and-play game mechanics, and only the most essential of rules. Aside from the announcement, EA also provided a playable demo of the game, and we took the opportunity to take a close-up look at what NFL Street is all about.
NFL Street's core gameplay features seven-player teams, a brisker pace than the majority of other football games on the market, and no kicking or punting whatsoever. In the demo we saw, there were three basic gameplay modes, including a normal single game in which you choose from any of the 32 NFL franchises and then select your seven players from a possible pool of 10 to 12 available players. All players will be playing both offense and defense, so you'll want to pick a balanced group of offensive-minded players and defenders--you won't want to get stuck with Rich Gannon and Jerry Rice as your only defensive backs or Warren Sapp as your quarterback. The game also features a league challenge mode, which is similar to the season modes in the NBA Street games, as well as a pickup game, where you can create a team from more than 40 of the top NFL players from any team and play against either a friend's team or the computer.
Another aspect from the NBA Street games that has found its way into NFL Street is the ever-popular gamebreaker move. As you play through the game, you'll find yourself accruing points and, in doing so, filling your gamebreaker meter. Once your meter is full, you need only hit the gamebreaker button before the snap of the ball, and depending on whether you're on offense or defense, your respective side will become nearly unstoppable until you lose possession of the ball. For example, offensive players will be nearly impossible to tackle, and their various dodges and jukes will be far more effective. To help boost your score more quickly, you'll also be able to perform showboat maneuvers. Showboat moves are essentially taunts that give you additional style points, depending on how many you do in a row before the play ends. But you'll have to be careful, since performing a showboat move makes you much more prone to fumbling the ball if you're brought down.
NFL Street plays and feels extremely similar to the NBA Street games in a number of ways. The controls themselves are very much a simplified version of the Madden controls and include basic power-move buttons for both offense and defense and a turbo-boost button. Playbooks are also significantly more simplistic than in other football games, and you'll have fewer plays to choose from. However, you will also have quite a few more trick plays in your book, including halfback passes, double reverses, and all sorts of other bizarre trickery. Graphically, the game features exaggerated-looking character models (like in NBA Street), and they all look appropriately menacing, as well as surprisingly accurate in some areas, especially when it comes to player faces.
NFL Street will be available on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube early next year. We will have more details on this game as they become available.