Feature Article
OS Fact or Fiction: End of the NCAA Football Season Edition

NCAA Football 13 was a step forward for the franchise.

Matthew Coe: Faction. This is a little bit fact and a little bit fiction. NCAA Football 13 was a very small step forward for the franchise with many new ideas left unfinished or underutilized. Examples include the uniform store and the Road to Glory mode. The uniform store was a great idea, but the support from EA has ranged from underwhelming to frustrating. Meanwhile, ancillary modes such as Road to Glory have been allowed to grow stale with features being "streamlined". Where did the updates from Erin Andrews go? The mode is still missing features from the PS2/Xbox days as well. Heisman mode was mainly a dud. Legacy issues in gameplay still plaque the series. Where is the solid step forward?

Chris Sanner: Fiction. NCAA 13 was a step sideways. The game neither went forwards or backwards, it was more like being stuck waiting on new technology and suffering from those limitations. The NCAA team was given an impossible task this year, and they didn't mess up the series at all, but there wasn't enough done to really feel like the series went measurably forward or backwards. This year just was for the NCAA Football franchise with so little innovation and advancement, here's to hoping that was a one-year aberration.

Dynasty Mode needs to have an overhaul of sorts to streamline a lot of the elements and to make it more accessible.

Chris Sanner: Fact. The formula Dynasty has been working with was fine five years ago. But I think it's time for the best career mode in sports games to earn the title again with a rethinking of how it does business. The NCAA Dynasty mode has always been ahead of the curb in our genre, and I think a better way to do menus and the career experience is at hand. The Interface could use a major overhaul and simplification -- that doesn't mean you take away options but it does mean they are much easier to access and use. For instance, for online dynasty's, who likes muddling through five weeks of recruiting? That's not practical for a lot of people and the time it takes to move through an offseason is ridiculously long. There's a better way, I'm sure of it. It's time for another Dynasty revolution.

Matthew Coe: Fact. The dynasty mode is in need of a serious overhaul, not just a face lift. Right now, dynasty mode just isn't nearly as immersive as it could be or should be. Recruiting, while taking baby steps forward, is still not a good representation of the real thing. Recruiting is still a clunky barrage of menus and text options. The database of player names needs to be expanded to include regional recruits from areas such as Utah and Hawaii, as well as other areas that produce Polynesian players and players of different backgrounds. The height/weight to speed/strength ratio still needs some serious tuning as well. And in all honesty the entire user interface in dynasty mode just needs a major reboot. It's grown very stale and repetitive over the past several years. The ideas and additions implemented over the past couple of years (coaching carousel) have helped, but it's time for a major game changing shift to occur.

The infinity engine will make all the difference in the world for NCAA Football 14.

Matthew Coe: Fiction. I say this having played Madden NFL 13 with it's very flawed and incomplete version of physics in the infinity engine. The offensive and defensive lines are in desperate need of physics and much smarter AI and pathing. These are things that the infinity engine, in it's current iteration, aren't capable of producing. There are many other areas of the game lacking as well. Playcalling AI, crowd sounds and atmosphere, updated playbooks (especially on defense) that keep up with the ever-changing college football schemes and fronts, and working penalties are just a few examples. The infinity engine, even if it's highly refined, will not be anything close to a cure-all for NCAA Football 14 without some of these major areas of concern being addressed.

Chris Sanner: Fact. Why? Because I believe the Infinity Engine made all the difference in the world for Madden as well.Let me be clear about one thing, it wasn't perfect. The Infinity Engine's implementation into Madden had serious problems and quirks to be sure, but it did change a lot of the fundamentals of EA Football. If NCAA Football gets the second edition of the engine this year, then the game will be much better than last year's edition. I am fully expecting the Infinity Engine to be a huge difference maker in year two with the quirks and flaws worked out and new things worked on like line interactions. So color me excited for next year's EA Football games.

The NCAA Football series is actually in trouble thanks to the player lawsuits and could go away entirely before the next console generation.

Chris Sanner: Fiction. Yes, it's entirely possible NCAA Football could go away. I'm not discounting that. But by TV viewers, College Football is the second most watched sport in America. It's the second most popular sport in the entire country -- and while sales of it's game aren't quite up to NBA 2K levels, the NCAA Football franchise remains one of the most profitable franchises on the market. I think the easiest way to make sure NCAA sticks around will be EA completely randomizing rosters and even taking out roster editing (let's hope not) before they completely nix the game. That's the business approach that would make more sense overall.

Matthew Coe: Fact. I've stated this before and I firmly believe that the days of licensed NCAA Football games may be numbered. The entire issue of player names and likeness is going to be a major sticking point going forward for EA and the NCAA Football series. What if one of the conditions of a settlement included removing the ability to edit and/or share rosters? I do not believe that the series could survive that. There exists a very real possibility that in the next year or two, we could see an historic shift in how collegiate licensed video games are handled, and it's not good news for sports gamers and fans of the NCAA Football series.

NCAA Football 13 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 kingsofthevalley @ 11/26/12 01:55 PM
If they even think about taking out editing, I hope they look at the angles before they do it. Problems with player likeness? Ok, remove the ability to edit NAMES if you must. Keep ratings and equipment open. Shouldn't be a problem there, easy as pie.
# 2 BenGerman @ 11/26/12 02:26 PM
I think they really need to focus on five things as far as gameplay is concerned...

1) They need to fix Offensive / Defensive line interaction. I've won a lot of games in NCAA and lost a lot of games in NCAA, but never have I won or lost because of what happened in the trenches. Positioning, ratings, and varied playcalling have far too little of an impact on the game.

2) SPECIAL TEAMS! How hard is it? If EA is so worried about their online players getting upset by a blocked field goal, give us a set of special teams sliders that allows us to actually have a chance to block kicks and punts. On top of that, the entire return system needs to be redone. It doesn't work as it is now.

3) WR/DB interaction. Especially with physics being introduced to the series, we need to have more fighting for the ball. Players should be aggressive when trying to catch and swat a pass. EA Football is the only sports series I know that only has one or two animations for the entire aspect of the game. Put simply, they are about 10 years behind the times here. More catch animations, more battling for position, more swat animations, etc.

4) Coaches should have more of an impact on the game. There is more to coaching than just developing a playbook. A coach should have a designated style for each kind of situation. For instance, Nick Saban is more likely to remain calm and carry out his original gameplan when behind than a coach like Mike Leach would be. There should also be a recruiting rating for each coach. I'm not sure why CH was able to do this 5 years ago, but NCAA still can't grasp the concept.

5) Make the field bigger! I've been saying this for years, and now GotMadSkillz is all over it with some in depth research he has done with the game. There simply isn't enough 1 on 1 situations, and it results in a cluttered field of play that is very unlike college football.
# 3 malky @ 11/26/12 03:01 PM
Playoffs playoffs playoffs does anything else really need to be said on what must be included in next years game?
# 4 DetroitStyle @ 11/26/12 03:05 PM
Player editing would never be willingly removed. Not unless the NCAA specifies that the feature cannot exist in the next license agreement/renewal. The courts or lawsuits would never rule or be able to argue against player editing. It would be like removing photoshop form store shelves because you can recreate an Iron Man movie poster. It doesn't make sense and there is legal mumbo jumbo that supports it.

If anything, EA would randomize all rosters and take away the roster share feature. I'm OK if they go down that road as you can still find ways to share rosters but if editing for some reason ever did get removed I would probably be done with the series.
# 5 statum71 @ 11/26/12 05:56 PM
If or when roster editing goes......I guess that's the end for me. I know its not EA's choice. But I would have no interest in a football game with fictional players.
# 6 BSchwartz07 @ 11/26/12 08:13 PM
what a lot of people don't realize is that there cannot be an issue with the player's likeness.. the NCAA owns that and can sell it if they wish... the same reason why they can sell jerseys with the number of a particular player. They just do not have the rights to the names... this is also the case with posters and printed advertisement for the actual events, not just games. The NCAA is actually working to gain access to athletes names, which would allow for these games to become even more realistic.
The issue with the lawsuits comes from AFTER a player graduates or leaves the NCAA, at that point the NCAA is arguing that they still own the rights to anything from their time in college, like a replay of an old game. While the athletes are arguing that they need to pay up. Thus, no classic teams. The lawsuits won't hold up in the long run, the players suing signed releases for their images while in school... it is a part of a standard DI scholarship.
# 7 SkillzKillz719 @ 11/26/12 09:28 PM
I say ditch Road to Glory or keep it TOTALLY the same so they put zero hours into. I get that casual players like that RPG element so leave as is (and we should totally ignore it).

OL/DL and WR/CB interactions need to feel like... well... football.

Completely overhaul dynasty mode (possibly an AD mode....?) and make it in depth and like the teams are different. The reason this year I'm not going to be playing NCAA in March is because of how stiff everything feels. Usually it's the modes.
I dont know. I just feel a more of the same sort of release coming lol
# 8 xirdneh132 @ 11/26/12 09:36 PM
At the very least fix fullback blocking in this game. I don't know how many times on a sweep play instead of blocking the guy in front of them they bizarrely change direction and attempt to block a slow lineman chasing from me behind. Run blocking in general is just awful. The AI often does things the smart way against me when they run block but I don't know how many times my lineman (no matter how good or aware) just whiff on a block, ignore a linebacker, it's so frustrating or when receivers just leave their man to go block a safety while leaving the cornerback to just destroy me in the backfield before I can get any momentum. DL/OL interaction definitely needs an upgrade but blocking by the fullback is every probably the most horrendous issue on NCAA
# 9 josephid @ 11/26/12 09:55 PM
Simple things, work on the option, in game save, user camera.

Also, give us a playoff tree or mode where we can just put in teams and play, none of this fluff GM coach weekly news or extras.

What about a choice of picking just playing offense or defense when chosing sides. I play against the computer and would like to play as both teams but just offense. When I do this Always have to pause and change teams.

Last get rid of the abort button or shovel pass button. Just have the computer block better on play action, too difficult to abort play.
# 10 The_Wise_One @ 11/27/12 02:22 AM
Yuck that last part made me nervous. I've really enjoyed this years game though but I'm starting to get burnt out with this series.
# 11 BLACKjersey53 @ 11/27/12 03:11 AM
The infinity engine isn't perfect, but I can't remember any sports that has kept me in instant replay to appreciate what is going on in a game as long as I have with madden 13. When everything goes right, whether it's a tackle, a goal line dive, or simply breaking a long run because the last defender has tripped and fallen over a player, it keeps me wanting to play the game. I have personally always been an NCAA fan, but I can't seem to take madden out of my Xbox anymore. I want that feeling with NCAA again. Oh, and a smaller football would be pretty sexy too. Just saying.
# 12 UH53 @ 11/27/12 05:22 AM
EA should really consider the possibility that this might be the last NCAA game and go for broke!!
Here are a few suggestions that, IMO, would make the game stand out for years to come.

1) Continue to build upon the uniform store by integrating Teambuilder into the model! EA usually comes up with good ideas and then goes half assed in their approach. Teambuilder... Good idea that hasn't truly been updated since it's inception. If they gave users the ability to integrate Teambuilder creations with say Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor templates for uniforms it would give the users a feel of the game being personal.... Especially when it comes to their favorite team! Just having a Uniform Store and waiting months for you to create or not create is absolutely stupid!

2) They should also think about the game lasting more than just the season by making it fully editable! Let's say this is the last NCAA football game that EA can create.... If they gave customers the ability to purchase updates through out the year i.e. uniform updates like you started to create or additional stadiums for non-conference match-ups or updated bowl games, the game would stay relevant for years to come and would always keep them in play. It would also probably give them respect that they've lost! From conference realignments to playoff modifications, the game shouldn't be a one trick pony! I wish they'd get ahead of the curve instead of reacting late and striking out! Users should feel connected to this game like no other.... They shouldn't keep their fingers crossed hoping that you'll get it right next year. After NCAA 11 I thought they may've figured that out but I was wrong!

3) Finally, they need to take the time to truly sit down and look at what they're creating! Why is it that everybody in these communities who watches college football seems to know more about the game and what's in it than they do? Copy and paste! I know that sounds simple and it's more technical than that when it comes to creating a game but the message is simple. If they see it in the game "Copy" and "Paste"! From equipment, player appearances, field degradation, gameplay (physics), and atmosphere.... Copy and paste!
# 13 The_Gaming_Disciple @ 11/27/12 08:47 PM
#1 - Depth to field ratio needs to be corrected. This will legitimize ratings such as speed and acceleration. The players are too big for the field currently.

#2 - Offensive and Defensive line interactions as many as have said needs to be corrected.

#3 - In football, never in a game do you see the exact same tackle twice....no need to go further on this rant...

#4 - The players, especially the AI consistently appears as a robot running down the field. How is it that other games can represent fluidity in movement for human characters, but EA cannot?

#5 - What is the purpose of having a 6'6" 5* recruit at WR who won't jump up for a pass, but will allow a 5'10" CB intercept the ball in front of his face...EA are you kidding me?

#6 - Beating dead stick with a horse...In previous iterations you allowed me to use L2 or Left Bumper to turn my WR around to attempt a face jump for the ball in mid air...So your online CHEEZER'S have caused this function to be taken out on AA and Heisman...in offline dynast as well...WOW...THANKS EA!


#7 - Oh yea...did I mention anything about tackle animations...

#8 - You do realize a great addition to dynasty would be to have other coaches beside the HC recruit high school players...you realize they do this, right?

#9 - Please be diverse with regards to having more ethnic players in your game...there are more than just white and black athletes in football today...

#10 - Sliders appear to work in practice mode, but not in play now or dynasty...why is that EA?

# 11 - Can the field while playing look like real grass rather than a Home Depot or Lowes carpet rug?

#12 - For the love of Ray Charles get rid of those PREDATOR DREADS...you had them right in last gens games...even Ray Charles could see that...

#13 - I hate to bring up 2K, but steal from them with regards to player packages...based upon a players attributes and skills have them play true to their style...a bruiser RB like Toby Geirhart...a finesse and bruiser RB like Adrian Peterson...and dual threat RB out the backfield...a la Warrick Dunn...have a spectacular WR a la Peter Warrick...

#14 - BACK DOWN OFF THE GRAPHICS....This is what's killing the fluidity of player movement during the game...2K doesn't have great graphics for their players...but theY sure have some GREAT GAMEPLAY...

#14 - Has anyone on this community board ever been to a high school, college or pro football game where PASS INTERFERENCE was ''NEVER'' called...

#15 - Looks as if will be ranting next year for the same stuff..I'M OUT...!
# 14 MHammer113 @ 11/29/12 08:23 PM
LMFAO I love every single one of your 15 mini rants. I just wish they would stop jerking us around saying they're gonna do this and that and that things are improved and then BAM nothing....

One thing I do want to say is I believe that NCAA Football is in no trouble going forward in terms of sales. College football is the second most popular sport as the article said. And this game would be the second best selling sports game in the USA if the game was of better quality. Honestly I believe that we will not see a better game until the next generation.
# 15 videlsports @ 12/01/12 11:00 AM
While I'm not sure if we will see a better game this generation of consoles, I do Like the total control passing, and the passing angles. But I think they should have really put the infinity engine in. All that said I hope another developer steps in and makes a game

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