First Look: EA's new Madden, NCAA, NASCAR

Madden QBs get tunnel vision, NCAA goes for the Heisman, and NASCAR teams up; first screens inside.


Madden NFL 06
NCAA Football 06
NASCAR 06: Total Team Control

The EA Sports season typically begins in summer with a bang, with the release of its two flagship football franchises, Madden NFL and NCAA Football, and its NASCAR game by mid-August. These three games, the first from EA Sports to hit the streets after the Electronic Entertainment Expo, typically introduce some of the publisher's new ideas for the upcoming season, including revamped graphics, across-the-board features such as online play or the universal EA Sports profile, and new features for individual games.

Little is known about what Electronic Arts has up its sleeve for this year's EA Sports games. But today, as a teaser, Electronic Arts released some screenshots and a sneak peek of features that will be included in its first batch of games this season.

Last year's edition of EA's big-time player, Madden NFL, focused enhancements primarily on defense, with its inclusion of the hit stick and defensive hot routes. This year, the focus will be on the other side of the line of scrimmage.

Madden 2006's overhaul comes in response to the franchise's typically pass-heavy offense. Using the game's awareness ratings for quarterbacks, players will now have a conical field of vision. A player with a high rating, such as NFL MVP Peyton Manning, will be able to see much more of the field than, say, a third-stringer with the San Francisco 49ers.

EA hopes this will balance out an offense that passes nearly 80 percent of the time and put the pigskin back where it belongs: in the hands of running backs.

NCAA Football 2006 is graduating an all-new mode designed to capture one of the most exciting aspects of college football. Named "race for the Heisman," the new mode challenges players to go from high school draft pick to best collegiate player in the nation during their campus careers.

After working out in some drills for perspective coaches and selecting schools, freshman will be set up in a dorm room and take the field to prove their mettle on the gridiron. Once the created player walks the stage and throws his graduation cap in the air, his career can be continued into the pros by importing him into Madden 2006.

The final newly announced addition to EA's upcoming lineup adds team mentality to the NASCAR Chase for the Cup franchise. Instead of racing against 42 other drivers alone, gamers will be able to race as part of a sponsor's team.

Drivers will now be able to bark orders at their teammates, telling them when to make pit stops, calling for drafts for that extra bit of speed, and more. And just because a gamer's car gets scrapped in a wreck, that doesn't mean the race is over--gamers will be able to take over for one of their teammates.

For a thorough rundown on the new additions, check out the feature previews for Madden 2006, NCAA Football 2006, or NASCAR Chase for the Cup 2006. GameSpot will have more on these games as information becomes available.

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