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NCAA Football optioned to Wii, PSP

EA Sports' amateur pigskin sim set to debut on Nintendo's console, return from hiatus for Sony's handheld; Wii cover to feature mascot, not athlete.


Is Wii ready for some (amateur) football? Electronic Arts will finally find out later this year, as the publisher today announced NCAA Football 09 for a slate of five systems, including Nintendo's latest console. The collegiate gridiron sim will also take the field this fall for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable, but has now been discontinued for the original Xbox.

While the Wii is the only system welcoming NCAA Football for the first time, the PlayStation Portable release is notable as well. The series first appeared on Sony's handheld with the 07 installment, but it was quietly left off the schedule for last July's NCAA Football 08. Collegiate pigskin wasn't the only PSP no-show in EA Sports' 08 lineup; the NHL series of hockey games also took a one-year break, though it isn't clear if that line will return to the portable for NHL 09.

As with the Wii editions of the Madden, NBA Live, and FIFA series, NCAA Football will include EA Sports' increasingly ominpresent "Family Play" mode. Intended to lure novices into the EA Sports fold, the mode strips away complicated Wii controls to allow neophytes to compete with veterans.

The Wii version of NCAA Football 09 will also be distinguished from other ports of the game by its cover athlete. Instead of a college star now out of school, the game will feature one school's mascot on the front of the box. Fans will be able to vote on which school's mascot that will be by logging onto the game's official Web site.

Electronic Arts did not specify a release window for the game, but the series has launched in mid-July for the past seven years.

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