NFL Street 2 Designer Diary #1

We hear about the gameplay in Electronic Arts' upcoming sequel to NFL Street from one of the game's designers.

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Currently scheduled for release on December 22, EA Redwood Shores' sequel to NFL Street will count online play, additional gameplay modes, and interactive wall moves among its new features. NFL Street 2 will also boast a completely reworked GameBreaker system, which is one of the things that designer Jason Barnes describes in this week's Designer Diary.

Bringing the Off-the-Wall Action to Life

By Jason Barnes
Designer, EA Tiburon

 NFL Street 2 aims to balance over-the-top gameplay with a touch of realism.
NFL Street 2 aims to balance over-the-top gameplay with a touch of realism.

Our goal with NFL Street 2 was to make the gameplay of the first version of NFL Street obsolete. To do this, we needed to add new gameplay features and improve on the original. For the first version, we motion-captured our football-player stuntmen as they slammed each other into walls for big tackles. For NFL Street 2, we wanted to expand on the interaction with the walls. On our third and final shoot for NFL Street, we spent part of the day shooting a player making wall catches and running along the wall. It was very exciting, because we had the stuntman strung up by wires to get good liftoff. I was throwing a lot of bad passes so we could capture multiple catches from different heights. Capturing the wall catches and moves during the first game's development gave us the ability to add these animations to the game during preproduction of NFL Street 2. We ran into some problems working on the wall catches, but this gave us an opportunity to capture more wall animations at the NFL Street 2 motion-capture shoot.

Once we got the wall catches up and running, we knew we had added something unique and fun to football gaming. We were looking forward to working the wall hurdles, jukes, dives, and passes into the game. We motion-captured all these moves, and even some off-the-wall defensive dives that we did not end up implementing into the game. With each milestone, a new set of wall animations was implemented, each set expanding the depth and interactivity of the environments. We had the main new gameplay element in and working, but we had a lot more to do.

Improving on Greatness

If you dug the first NFL Street, this year's version is being loaded with even more.
If you dug the first NFL Street, this year's version is being loaded with even more.

Working from the original NFL Street, the gameplay elements we wanted to improve upon were the run defense and passing game. We added a ton of new run-specific defensive-line moves--in the original, we had only pass-specific D-line moves. These new animations have the defenders sidestepping blocks and making last-ditch diving efforts to tackle the ballcarrier. To improve the passing game, we worked on lead passing and defender awareness. Play-action is now very effective with well-balanced play calling. We added "O moves" as an attribute that affects the cuts of receivers, along with jukes and spin moves to leave defenders in the dust. This makes receivers much more valuable.

Breaking the Game Wide Open

We wanted to rework the GameBreaker system, so we added a second GameBreaker level to give you the option of using your GameBreaker right away or saving it until you earn a GameBreaker 2. Part of this new design was creating GameBreaker-specific animations. For level-one GameBreakers, we have defensive-line moves that blow up blockers, and tackle-breaking moves on offense that punish a would-be tackler. Also, on defense you can now rip the ball away from the ballcarrier. This adds some strategy, in that you have to decide whether to go for a diving tackle to cause a fumble at the line, or chase down the ballcarrier to get the direct strip.

The GameBreaker system is being revamped.
The GameBreaker system is being revamped.

Each GameBreaker move chips away at the GameBreaker meter, as if you were using up fuel to pull off the moves. For GameBreaker 2, we wanted to use a variety of high-flying and teamwork animations. To accomplish this with cinematic effects, we used noninteractive sequences for the start of plays. Now you'll see players jumping off teammates to get over the line or make a catch, and there are a couple of trick plays that you will have to see to believe.

This is just a little bit of the exciting new gameplay we've added for NFL Street 2. Check back next week for a segment on the all-new Street events.

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jakeboudville

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very cool

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