College Football video games are coming back, we just don’t know when

College Football is coming back, EA SPORTS College Football

Of all the EA SPORTS series that I thought would make a comeback, College Football wasn’t at the top of the list. In a surprise announcement on Tuesday, EA revealed that they are working on a College Football game. For fans of the older NCAA Football games, this could be great news but considering EA’s record lately, we really need to see more before fans start popping champagne.

Why Now?

The timing of this seems odd. The college football season ended a few weeks ago, the Super Bowl is later this week and the only asset to this announcement is a generic logo layered on top of a field with confetti. Taking all that into consideration, we definitely should not expect to see anything for a while. Also, with no date attached, we can also safely assume this isn’t a 2021 game, more likely to launch in the Summer of 2022. A tweet from the official account does make mention of ‘…sharing more information as development progresses in the next couple of years.’, which definitely leads us to believe Summer 2022 at the earliest.

According to the Washington Post’s article on the announcement, it sounds like the deal between EA SPORTS and the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) will include licenses for more than 100 schools (essentially most if not all FBS teams), their respective logos, stadiums, mascots, fight songs, and even the College Football playoffs. It seems the only real stumbling block is getting authentic players, which was the reason the older NCAA Football series is no more. Chances are, we could see the inclusion of classic teams, which would allow for EA to circumvent the issues currently facing ‘amateur athletes within the NCAA’. They focus on current NFL players and former athletes willing to put their name in the game for the right price. It could be fun playing as an all-time Miami Hurricane squad or the last few championship Alabama teams.

One mode we can most certainly expect is a story mode. On top of that, EA SPORTS College Football must include integration with Madden, including importing your created player and graduating players into the NFL Draft. I absolutely hated Madden’s college story mode so I am worried about what might entail in this game. There are ways of doing a narrative sports-focused story mode correctly and they have plenty of time to pull it off.

Please, don’t copy NHL 15

But, my other concern is the opposite of a feature-rich game, it’s a barebones one. Even if EA doesn’t rush this out the door, they still may only include one or two modes (a non-customizable season mode and some sort of online play) and little else for the game’s first year. It wouldn’t be the first time they do something like that, so fans should be prepared for some disappointment. 

A college football stadium, featuring Navy on the endzone, from NCAA Football 2014

Overall, I am happy we’re getting college football back in any form. We may have to wait a bit until we see this in action but I really hope that the development team handling the game can deliver a solid sports game. If this is successful, we can definitely see the return of other dormant sports franchises.