That’s right NCAA Football fans, bowl patches will be making their triumphant return in NCAA Football 12.
If you have read any of my articles concerning the NCAA Football series over the years, you know that I put a big emphasis on the little details in the game, especially details that were present in the years when the series was flourishing on the PS2 and Xbox in the early to mid 2000s. This small jersey presentation addition blew my mind when I first saw it in NCAA 2002, and it quickly became one of my favorite aspects of the series.
The patches themselves gave each bowl game the feeling that you were participating in something much bigger than a regular season game. Plus, I'm one of those geeks who loves everything about the pageantry and tradition of college football, so seeing the patches in a video game representation of my favorite sport was nothing short of a dream come true.
I was crushed when I picked up my copy of NCAA 07 for my Xbox 360, only to realize the patches had been removed. As we all found out the hard way, the HD era ushered in a NCAA Football franchise that felt stripped of many of the unique characteristics that had made the series so great. With each subsequent game release during this console generation, my hope for the re-emergence of the patches became more and more bleak. I felt as if something I had cherished for years had been stolen. No matter how hard I would try and overlook the patch omission, I simply could not shake that feeling of disappointment whenever my team reached a bowl game.
Over the past couple years, one of the first things I brought up whenever talking to NCAA developer Ben Haumiller or producer Roy Harvey, were the bowl patches.
“Are they back this year?” I'd ask.
“Ben are the patches back?” I'd inquire.
“Roy, that’s a great new lighting system, but what about bowl patches?” I'd say while batting my eyelashes like a high school girl at a Justin Bieber concert.
I sounded like a broken record, and I always got the same disappointing answer: "We tried to get them in this year, we really did, but it just didn't happen."
So imagine my excitement when I sent an e-mail to Ben to ask about an aspect in NCAA 12, only to get an added surprise message from Ben that those beautiful little sewn-on patches would be making their return as well.
And thanks to my undying love, devotion and infatuation with the patches, Ben has let us break the news!
Now, I can already hear the cynics out there saying, “bowl patches, psssh, who cares, tell me about gameplay."
And while I agree with you that there are bigger gameplay issues to tackle before this franchise is once again considered elite, I’ll tell you why bowl patches are relevant. Take a look at my article from back in January about creating a better NCAA 12. If you read the first paragraph, you will realize that most of what I asked for in terms of presentation has already been announced over the last few weeks. The NCAA team is paying attention to the little details that make NCAA Football so great, and most importantly of all, paying attention to what the community wants -- case in point, forum member's ODogg's hard-line stance on dreadlocks.
I look at it this way, if the NCAA team has put the time and effort into the small presentation details, similar to the developers who work on MLB: The Show, then I have confidence that the developers have put just as much effort into refining the solid on-field gameplay. This also means there are no excuses for NCAA 12 and beyond. This year's game must include smarter CPU AI on both sides of the ball, better blocking logic, scrambling quarterbacks and CPU opponents that also utilize "120 ways to win" a game. After all, with bowl patches now back, I need another crusade to embark on this year.
According to Ben, this week will be a busy one concerning the release of information on the game, and OS’ own Chase Becotte will be checking in later in the week with some hands-on impressions. So strap yourselves in NCAA Football fans, the ride that is the NCAA Football 12 hype mobile is gearing up. Make sure to check OS for the latest NCAA 12 updates as they become available.
Christian McLeod is a senior (citizen) staff writer here at Operation Sports. Devastated by his beloved Michigan State Spartans' collapse in last year's Capital One Bowl (featuring bowl patches), he is on a mission to win a national championship with the team in this year's EA Media NCAA 12 online dynasty. Make sure to follow him on Twitter @Bumble14_OS, talk to him on our forums via Bumble14, or challenge him online at XBL/PSN Gamertag Bumble14.