989 Sports reveals two in SD

NBA '06 to feature new story-driven mode; Road to Sunday blends football, fighting, and gambling.

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In an event held in San Diego over the weekend, 989 Sports, Sony's sports-game subbrand, announced two upcoming PlayStation 2 games for release later this year. NBA 06, which will be developed internally by Sony Computer Entertainment America, is scheduled for release this fall. Road to Sunday, currently in production by Red Zone Interactive, is scheduled for release this winter.

NBA 06 takes gamers behind the scenes of pro basketball with its NBA Life: Volume I mode. This mode challenges gamers to experience the NBA from the perspective of a rookie point guard, from draft day to the NBA Finals. Players will go through the ups and downs of a grueling season, complete with team chemistry issues, injuries, and endorsement deals. Unlike normal NBA career modes, NBA Life is linear, meaning your character has a path to take and must accomplish certain goals to progress, such as making a certain number of shots in a game. The mode is more like a role-playing or adventure game than a standard sports career mode.

NBA 06 also features several minigames, including 21, Horse, and Shout Out, as well as a PlayStation skills challenge and various online tournaments. The game's Showtime Gameplay lets b-ballers chance riskier plays, which are rewarded with increased statistical attributes for the entire team, a more involved crowd, and a bevy of highlight-reel passes.

Road to Sunday is unlike any football game on the market. Gamers will play as Blake Doogan, a man who inherits a fictional football franchise and a debt to a Jamaican kingpin after Doogan's father is killed in a mysterious explosion. Doogan figures the only plausible way to pay off the debt is to win the league championship and enter his players in underground fighting tournaments.

Yes, Road to Sunday combines football and off-the-field backroom fighting. But it doesn't end there--since cash rules everything around them, the characters can also gamble on the fights to pay off the debts. For less-bloody bets, Doogan can participate in poker and blackjack games, illegal and otherwise. Stealing a page from Pete Rose, Doogan can try his luck at the sports book, wagering on football games, complete with over/under, money-line, and props bets. If that weren't enough, gamers can take their players into the gym with a series of rhythm-based minigames to pump them up and get them ready for Sunday.

Back on the field, Road to Sunday introduces position-specific gameplay. PSG lets gamers select one of their seven playable characters and take on the action from that character's perspective. By locking on to one player, gamers can make that one play that makes the difference in the game.

Both games are awaiting rating and pricing information. For more information on the games, check out GameSpot's previews of NBA 06 and Road to Sunday.

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