What do you know about EA Sports’ new college football video game

College football will return to video game platforms with the launch of the first edition of EA Sports College Football in the summer of 2024.

When it’s released, it will have been over a decade since the release of “NCAA Football ’14,” which was released prior to the 2013 season. There are still unknowns, but there is more clarity as to what the first version of the game will be.

EA Vice President and General Manager Darrell Holt spoke EXCLUSIVELY with ESPN about where things are in the game. Here’s what we know – and what we don’t:

So the summer of 2024 is a little murky. Any more details?

Not right. EA Sports will likely want to give its other titles some breathing room, too. Madden usually comes out in August. FIFA – which will be renamed to “EA Sports FC” from next year – in late September and the NHL in mid-October.

Back when it was called “NCAA Football” — the name is no longer — the game usually debuted in mid-July.

Holt said they still have options and aren’t tied down to a specific date at this time.

What will you be in the game?

This is still a work in progress, although it is just beginning to take shape. The game will feature Dynasty Mode and Road to Glory – multi-season team and single player experiences familiar to players of previous versions of the game.

More than 120 schools will participate in the game, but not every FBS school has signed up yet. Holt declined to say which schools had committed — and who had not — to the game, although Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick said shortly after announcing the title’s return that his school would only participate if athletes benefited from it. When asked directly about Notre Dame, Holt refused to answer. He also declined to explain what the process would be like to include those not yet in the game.

Holt said the intent of EA Sports is for real footballers to get in on the game as well, though the exact intrigue is still being researched.

An EA source told ESPN that if a player is included in the game, they will be compensated.

“Things are still evolving and evolving at a rapid pace in different ways,” Holt said. “So there are different elements that we have, you know, within schools or within college athletics that are very clear, and there are other things that have a little bit more question marks around them.

“So it’s probably one of the murkiest paths, I think, from exactly that perspective of what’s the clearest path.”

Holt hasn’t ruled out the possibility of FCS and HBCU schools returning as well, though he hasn’t commented on that. FCS and HBCU were both in the game until the mid-2000s, when Division I-AA and I-AA.

Of the schools that have committed, EA has collected information about their sounds, experiences, traditions, stadiums, and uniforms for inclusion. Holt said they’ve been to three college football games so far this season to get actual collegiate noise and parts which makes the different schools and stadiums unique with so many stadiums on the schedule with at least one full college football season until launch.

“This is an immersive college experience that will last, so our expectation is that we will continue to represent the authenticity of the sport,” Holt said. “Discover ways that people can bring their passion for our game, their game and their sports team to our game and play it. So I think it will be an ever-evolving experience.

“Some things are really things that we’re designing and thinking about some of the things that I think will continue to fall apart.”

EA hopes to get every team all in the game — they’ve written new technology to try and match their ambitions with reality — but until they get deep into the game and start fully developing the game, they won’t know what challenges might come.

What about the cover? announcers?

Again, not much. Regardless, it’s too early to choose a sporty cap. EA said it started recording with “well-known commentators” but did not disclose the names.

Holt wouldn’t say whether they’ll go the “NBA2K” series route, which has different teams announcing, or Madden where it’s an announcing team throughout the game. Previous editions of the game featured ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso as announcers.

Where are they under development?

Holt said they moved past the creative design and pre-production stages and started production, having completed some prototypes and things to look at. But it’s still very early.

Think of it like they went to the grocery store, picked up most of what they wanted and started preheating the oven to cook.

The game is being made in Maitland, Florida, and will use the Frostbite engine, which is the same engine used in the game Madden.

Does this mean it will be a copy of “Madden”?

No, these are separate development teams working on the two games. The teams shared some ideas and concepts and made suggestions to each other, but there really was competition between the two.

They’re very focused on being a specific college football game rather than Madden – College Edition.

“We want to make sure it’s uniquely college football,” Holt said. “If someone is worried about it being a Madden clone or something, that’s not our intent and it’s not the way we’re going about it.

“I think people will be excited when the match comes.”

Holt addressed whether or not there was pressure over criticism of how Madden has handled its franchise situation for at least the past half decade.

“When we sat down and started, you know, on a white paper or a whiteboard talking about what are we going to focus on? What are we going to focus on?” Holt said. Reboot and share and that sandbox aspect rounds out the things they want to do to build a program, run it, and manage the team.

“And then laying the groundwork for the future of a lot of things that we’re going to do. So it comes down to a very important part of the game, a very important focus of the game. I would say number two probably right after the gameplay itself.”

What will it be like in Dynasty mode? college players? trainers?

There is still much to be determined. Holt emphasized the plan and intent of having real college football players in the game.

He didn’t rule out anything else, including coaches, something that wasn’t the case in early versions of “NCAA Football.”

“I wish I could talk a little bit more about that, but we’ll have more to talk about in the future,” Holt said. “Just one aspect as we talk about features and more details, we’ll reveal more in the future.”

In terms of integration with “Madden” — such as importing draft classes, a common feature of older iterations of the game — Holt was again coy about what they would or wouldn’t do, but acknowledged there was a history of communication between the two producers.

Do you have any idea what the road to glory will look like?

Like Dynasty, Holt has been light on details although he has said many times that they are aware of all the stops on the way for a college athlete from being recruited to becoming a “campus legend” and theoretically turning a pro. Holt said they focus on making it a “compelling experience”.

Could there be more Madden integrations with this and Face of the Franchise – again, it’s probably too early to tell.

When asked if part of the experience would make players go to class like in older versions of the game, Holt laughed — and made no comment.

“I’m not going to comment or deny that it could be on a plate somewhere and it could be in the game,” Holt said. “But more to come.”

What’s Next?

More waiting, more than likely. With over a year left until release, it may be a slow drip of information for at least a little while.

There’s a lot to do as they try to get big and wide within the game.

“You want team differentiation. You want a college game wide open, with Saturday stories out,” Holt said. And these kinds of things that I think become interesting when you realize we’re making a game, but it’s an interactive experience and it reflects someone’s passion and belonging.

“Every team is someone’s favorite team, as we like to say. And so we have to make sure that happens.”

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