NFL Blitz, NBA Jam creator lands at Madden studio

Mark Turmell named senior creative director for EA Tiburon, sets sights on company's pigskin sims.


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During his years at Midway, Mark Turmell was known as the man behind some of the most popular arcade-style sports games ever: NBA Jam and NFL Blitz. While those titles were known for throwing their respective sports' rule books out the window, Turmell's latest job calls for anything but.

Look out for Madden NFL 11, now with 30 percent more BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!
Look out for Madden NFL 11, now with 30 percent more BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!

In a posting on the EA Sports Web site, the publisher introduced Turmell as senior creative director for its EA Tiburon studio. While the Tiburon team has worked on titles as varied as Superman Returns and the forthcoming EA Sports MMA, it is primarily known as the developer of the Madden NFL and NCAA football series.

The publisher posted a short interview with Turmell in confirming his new role, which he described as trying to "impact and improve the moment to moment football gameplay for both Madden and NCAA." The interview also addressed the obvious question about how Turmell's experience working on over-the-top arcade-style sports games will translate to the more simulation-minded pigskin sims.

"I have focused on arcade sports and fighting game titles for the last 17 years, and even though they aren't traditional sims, there are huge lessons learned that can be applied to sim titles," Turmell said. "Including how to communicate rules/situations to the user, ways to make the game easier to pick up and play, how to make plays/moves more impactful and entertaining, and even the general pacing of a game to keep player attention. The industry and audience is changing fairly dramatically, and often times our customer is looking for a quicker, more streamlined experience…I love the arcade style games, but certainly understand the difference and requirements for sim products."

Earlier this week, an unconfirmed ESPN report had Turmell joining EA Sports to help revive his NBA Jam franchise at the publisher's Vancouver studio. That project remains unconfirmed, and the possibility of a revival was not discussed by Turmell in the interview.

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Avatar image for furgoogle

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for uas-2001

NBA Jam was awesome, lets hope the new one can achieve such awesomeness also.

Avatar image for Mr_Manikin52

Heck YEAH. Next-Gen BLITZ and JAM! I haven't played a sports game in ages.

Avatar image for jshaas

@DKHardee... I agree, they used to have the FCS schools in the game when it was on PS2 so why not on PS3/360?

Avatar image for DeViLzzz

There is room for arcade type sports games but I don't want to see Madden turned into some ridiculous BS that isn't like the real sport. Let him make some goofy games with the name Madden n whatever but call them Madden Arcade 2011 or something to that effect. Please don't overhaul the real sports games.

Avatar image for DKHardee

Well he should start by putting FCS in NCAA Football 11

Avatar image for KickinIt_ftw

@MighteyMouse2 "madden should be an extremely intricate and in depth." Wait, what?! Embelish, please. This time with less nerd rage.

Avatar image for -Fromage-

Hopefully he guides it in a better direction.

Avatar image for DrKill09

Please make Madden fun again like the Genesis days. I HATE the new Maddens.

Avatar image for aminty1

The games were known to be classics and I think the new EA Sports games should be better this time round with Turnell's guidance and expertise.

Avatar image for dwd_27

blitz was a great i remember playing that it was the first nfl game i played

Avatar image for SadPSPAddict

Could be a breath of fresh air :)

Avatar image for AtomicBaconBits

He NEEDS to revive the golden days of Blitz games.NFL Blitz 2001 was the last superb Blitz game.I just recently bought a Dreamcast again just so that I could play it,and it's still just as fun as it was over 9 years ago.I'm tired of these monotonous sims and crappy arcade wannabees.Bring back Blitz.It was the one and only franchise that got it right.

Avatar image for p00zer

Are they talking Blitz, like Blitz on the 64 and Ps1? If so, !@#$ yeah!!!

Avatar image for grasshopper6

meybe he can fix madden and make it less childish and more of a football game

Avatar image for playtimetech

wow, that is good news to play ti...wish it comes soon...

Avatar image for tyco_ex

I want NBA Jam back! That would be awesome. And I could care less about madden, realistic games are boring. If I want to play real football I'll go outside and do it.

Avatar image for ChamomileBaths

Hopefully we'll see Madden Arcade step it up a little next year, I don't need many more modes, just more refined gameplay.

Avatar image for playa42018

Why does it matter that he was the Blitz and Jam creator when Madden is suppose to be a realistic sim instead of an arcade game... With that said, I've love for them to come out with a true NFL Blitz sequel.

Avatar image for maverick_76

Every year I hope for a better Madden experience, but it never seems to come, hope this year might be different.

Avatar image for daabulls23

Blitz was Da Bomb!

Avatar image for Steyrvolt

When the next one comes out it'll still be the same crap game, but at least we'll have the option to change the character skins to Raiden from Mortal Kombat. Isn't this kind of like trying to make a kid's TV show more sexy by having a porn star work behind-the-scenes on it? It's still gonna be a kid's show in the end. A kid's show with ti*s. Wait. Is Madden gonna have boobs in it? I just confused myself. Thanks, EA.

Avatar image for Units420

MighteyMouse2, either get yourself some anger management or medication. This is not that serious. And no were in the article does it say Madden will become kid friendly, arcade or the such. Just looking for elements from the Blitz games that can be applied to a Madden to make it more entertaining and approachable. And why shouldn't EA do things to make the game more approachable? The bottom line is getting your products into as many hands as possible, right? Further, hasn't the cry been for new elements to Madden to be introduced, rather than just repackage the same game with a feature or two and roster updates? So the minute new avenues are explored, folks wanna cry foul? This is exactly why the gaming community will never, ever be totally taken seriously as a valid entertainment genre in the mainstream

Avatar image for MighteyMouse2

this is beyond the biggest load of bull*hit i have ever heard. my friends and i are outraged EA would do something so drastic and unintelligent. i will never buy a Madden or NCAAF game again if it becomes more arcade, kiddy, and "easier to pick up and play" f*ck that. madden should be an extremely intricate and in depth. if people are to dumb to become good at it that's there own fault. madden is an adult's way to be a kid, with legit simulation. and get chris as*face collinsworth the F*CK off the game Now.

Avatar image for chrislee

just get me a new nba jam complete with "boom shaka laka"

Avatar image for deactivated-5cd05fa50bb7d

I want a 2K football game. Hands down those were the best.

Avatar image for Kleeyook

As for Madden NFL 11, u don't need to add more features to make it a good game. Just don't add anymore bugs and improve graphics and sound. :(

Avatar image for pech17

madden is the worst sports game ever...same garbage every year its like they dont even update the glitches every year too, with the nano blitzing and rocket passing...fix this junk EA

Avatar image for DarthChristian

@#$% madden,i'm sick of them puttin out the same garbage every year. how about we get some blocking in the damn game for once

Avatar image for stziggy

Come on NFL, let's have some competition on the NFL video game market. Madden is slowly tarnishing your brand.

Avatar image for gamecubepad

Madden is the suckage.

Avatar image for tizzomr

I would love if they brought back NBA JAM 2 on 2 style like was last seen in NBA Hangtime. If you could do that, and just smoothen everything, and add some new dunks, and leave the original animations, and stuff in tact, I think you would definately have a PSN XBL best seller.

Avatar image for JUSTBLAZE_928

I would love some NBA Jam i miss making 3 pointers from full court with the ball on fire.... But i wont count on seeing an NFL Blitz anytime soon because real football fans wont be happy if it doesnt have that NFL logo on it.

Avatar image for Kavsta

i hope the next madden won't be crazy glitchy and be truly authentic

Avatar image for PSP107

im still waiting for an good NFL sim madden with next gen qualities.

Avatar image for parhar67

Sweet now maybe we will have a game like blitz the league but with an nfl license!!!!

Avatar image for Guzthon

It brings old memories of pure hard-hitting-slamming games. I wish the best luck for Mr. Mark Turmell. "Mutant League with NFL Blitz and/or NBA Jam? I'm in, it would be excellent". :)

Avatar image for Wuflungdung

I have been waiting for a new mutant league game for a long long time, if they did it right it would be an epic game

Avatar image for BloodMist

The need to make another Mutant League game, like, right now.

Avatar image for tony382

Those blitz games were horrible. I prefer a si like Madden over any arcade type sports game.

Avatar image for lurkero

"I have focused on arcade sports and fighting game titles for the last 17 years, and even though they aren't traditional sims, there are huge lessons learned that can be applied to sim titles," Yes, the lesson is that adding arcade styles to sports is the best way to make them fun. I would play Blitz 2000 and NBA Jam over any Madden any year.

Avatar image for lamprey263

Well, I prefer a good Blitz game over Madden anytime, but my preference for Blitz is I prefer the arcade sports action in contrast to sport sims. I wish this were news that he'd be working on making Blitz games for EA, but I think he'll just work on the current EA games. Hitz would be nice to have back too. These were the only sports games I ever cared to play.

Avatar image for daveneonfarrell

Awesome. I'd finally pick up a madden game if was more streamlined.

Avatar image for bguy9

Oh god, please kill me now! I finally thought madden was getting back on track with it's "sim-ness". I will definitely not buy '11 game until there are good reviews for it, and if I hear it has gone in the terrible "arcade" direction I will never buy a madden game again until they get rid of this guy..

Avatar image for fascinationjx

this doesn't necessarily mean there will be any re-boot of NBA Jam and NFL Blitz. i don't know all the legal issues, but i would believe Midway would still own the actual franchises (even though Midway is bankrupt). just b/c the guy created those games, doesn't mean he owns the rights to them.

Avatar image for Maxor127

How about they scrap the entire Madden team and hire Visual Concepts so they can finally start making good football games. I haven't played a good Madden game in 10 years, and now it feels like a launchpad for crappy bands that appeal to preteen girls. And it's not just Madden but all EA Sports games. My brother borrowed FIFA from a friend, and the first thing we did was turn off the music because it was atrocious. Didn't they even snag the ESPN license and have done absolutely nothing with it since then? Supposedly NHL Hockey is the only decent game EA Sports produces, but I'm apprehensive about even trying that given their track record and the stupidity of the general populace.

Avatar image for WestSideAzn

@ SalarianChemist, I agree. Madden 08 was great, both gameplay-wise and with its visuals. I feel like Madden NFL 10 has reverted back to how football games looked like (i.e. on the Xbox and PS2)

Avatar image for charrr1234

If only there was a Blitz/Jam mode in next years game.

Avatar image for LynQ

bring back the good ol blitz not the steroid juiced up one

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