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Another Open Letter To Peter Moore, EA Sports President

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Old 12-09-2008, 12:45 AM   #1
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Another Open Letter To Peter Moore, EA Sports President

Hello again Mr. Moore,

I hope that you have gotten a chance to read my earlier letter to you, and I wanted to follow up with some more specific examples of what I am talking about. I posted the letter that I sent you in most of the forums, and while most everyone that responded so far has agreed with the points that were made, they also said that I should include specific examples. I want to keep this letter brief, but will cite just a few examples of the changes that I believe should be made to change EA Sports games from having that "EA Sports look and feel" to a more authentic realistic TV broadcast look and feel. I also wanted to clarify that while I do believe using ESPN branding to make it look more like an ESPN broadcast would make the game substantially more realistic and like an actual broadcast, it alone will not accomplish that.

In Madden 09, I think that there were quite a few steps made in the presentation department, however the game still fell way short of what it should be. There were nice presentation elements, but unfortunately alot of them were destroyed by the EA Sports branding, such as the overlays. Next, there were things that were added to the game that actually made it less like an actual broadcast, such as when the player is running free for a touchdown and the camera starts to "shake". I have watched alot of football and I have never seen this happen. This is an example of how EA Sports is trying to make their games look like an EA Sports broadcast and not an actual TV broadcast, and while some people may think it is "cool", I think the majority of sports gamers would be more satisfied if EA Sports just took out all of those unrealistic EA Sports elements. This is very easy to do. If some camera angle is not possible in a real life sports broadcast, dont put it in the game. EA Sports, it seems is just trying too hard to be different from what we see on TV, and actually creates things like this to accomplish it. However, it is only hurting the realism of the game, and actually turning away gamers and sending them to 2k sports, who don't bother with adding things that you wouldn't see in a real sport broadcast. While a small example of this, but one that really just solidifies the fact that EA Sports is trying to do too much to make themselves look different, is the opening shot of the stadium. The way the camera is positioned between two tree branches and zooms forward moving them out of the way for a clear shot of the stadium is just unneccessary and again shows how EA Sports is unrealistic. I have never once seen that when watches the shot of the outside of a stadium to start a game. 2k Sports showed people BBQing, walking into the stands, etc...and it all just added to the realism that you were watching the beginning of a broadcast of football.

Next, comes all the things that should be added to make the game more realistic. Most of these are are the things that 2k sports was doing all the way back in 2005 with NFL 2k5. Start off with some kind of pre-game element. In Madden 09 you have fireworks, and people coming out of the giant helmets onto the field. Is everygame the Super Bowl. They don't do this in every game. Just keep it simple with something like the players warming up or a pre-game interview. Next when close to a first down, dont just go to the jumbotron, which shows a graphic of the chains. Actually bring the chain gang out and have them measure for a first down, just like in a real game of football. It adds to the excitement and realism. I cannot understand for the life of me why EA Sports would just choose to go to a shot on the jumbotron rather than bring out the chains. I have watched alot of football and never once seen them cut to the jumbotron to see if they got the first down. The same goes for injuries, when a player is injured bring out the trainers and maybe even the cart. Then go down the sideline reporter for an injury report later in the game. Speaking of that, there should be sideline reporters, just like in a real broadcast of football. Have them talk throughout the game about talking to the coach at halftime or injury updates, etc. This adds so much realism to the game. Next, there should be a halftime show. It should be a shortened version of what you see while watching real football, and show highlights from around the league. Again, as I mentioned in the last email, these examples shouldn't even need to be said because all you have to do is watch an actual broadcast of sports and you will see what the game is missing and what it has too much of. However, I am going to continue and say that we should also see players on the sidelines on the phone or without their helmet on. We should have a post game interview. All of things would do so much to make the game better, more realistic, less like an arcade game, and more like an actual sports broadcast. If EA Sports was a real TV network that really broadcast sports and they presented real games the way that they are presented in the game, I don't think maybe people would prefer to watch that over an ESPN broadcast, or an NFL Network or Fox broadcast, so I can't understand why EA Sports continues to think that people want there games to look different from an actual TV broadcast.

Another thing that needs to be added is actual broadcast camera angles. Of course, we can't play the game from the sideline perspective that we see on most broadcasts, but it would add so much to the game to add more TV like camera angles while the players are walking up the line of scrimmage. For instance, do a close-up on a quarterback while he shouts out audibles or while he fastens is chin strap walking to the line. In Madden 09, there are multiple different camera angles shown while the quarterback makes his way to the line, but no a single one of them actually looks like anything we would see during an actual TV broadcast. There is one shot were we get a close up on an offensive lineman while he makes his way to the line from the huddle, and this shot is repeated numerous times throughout a game. However, not once do we get a closeup shot of the quarterback leaving the huddle and making his way to the line. I just cannot understand why EA Sports leaves out things that are simple and would add so much to the game. If you are going to add pre-snap shots to the game, why not add the ones that we actually see in a real sports broadcast.

Next, there needs to be attention made to all of the little details in the game. Like in college football, put a towel hanging from a players pants. Have players taking off their helmets while heading to the sideline. Have refs actually throw the flag and show coaches throwing challenge flags. Also, when challenging a play have the ref put on the headset and go over the monitor and watch while we get a replay of the action from multiple angles. It really shows how little attention is paid to the details in Madden 09 when it shows "Penalty" on the score overlay when there is a penalty, instead of saying "Flag." Again, I have watched alot of football, and its always says flag. Either they just missed this very easy detail, or they just wanted to make it look like an EA Sports broadcast. Either way, it needs to be changed. In college football, stop putting effort into things like funky mascot dances, put the effort into getting all the little details right in the game, which is a list that could go on and on. Also, cut shots on EA Sports games always feel like they are seperate from the rest of the game. For instance, even though EA Sports does actually have a ref going to look at the replay monitor in the game, it just doesn't look real. However, in the 2k sports game it look real. It just looked like a camera was looking at the ref who was watching the replay. It is the same thing with all those mascot shots in the college game. The way that it is shot and shown, just doesn't look real. It looks like a pre planned cut-scene, instead of just looking like part of the broadcast. Just another one of the ways EA Sports has that very undesirable look and feel.

Next, I want to talk about Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09. For the first time ever, a presentation cam was added this year and it is actually done pretty well. However, there is still so much that should be done to make this more like an actual broadcast of golf. I am not going to to touch on all of the arcade like aspects of the game, because the new Tour Pro mode and presentation allow us actual golfers, who are looking for a real golf experience to get away from all of that. Just adding realistic overlays to this game would make it seem so much more like an actual golf broadcast, but again it is not all that is needed. Every year Tiger Woods adds some new feature that doesn't really add much while barely addressing any of the presentation or realism issues. Like I mentioned, while there is so much that could be taken out of the game, I am not going to focus on that since the game is now customizable to my individual liking. Here is what I think needs to be added. We need to have caddies and other people playing with us. We don't need to watch them hit every shot, but it would just be nice to not always feel like you are out there all alone. Next, the galleries are horrible unrealistic. There needs to be a rope seperating the galleries from the action and the galleries should grow based on how well the player is playing. Also, there needs to be alot more people in the gallery. Sometimes Tiger Woods, or whoever is winning, has huge seas of people around the green on 18, in Tiger Woods 09 there is just a few people scattered throughout. Also, when you hit a ball offline, alot of times the galleries will gather around the ball and you have people on both sides of the ball as you hit back into play, but this element is always missing from the game. Basically the galleries just need to be much more realistic and if you watch a PGA Tour event it will become very easy to see what needs to be done.

Next the pre-shot camera angles always just seem to be fake and again try and establish that EA Sports look and feel. If you are going to have pre-shot camera angles, use the ones that they actually use in an actual golf broadcast. I do like the new camera angles that are used during the shot in the presentation cam, because they are very much like what we would see on an actually golf broadcast, but the pre-shot and post-shot camera angles are not anywhere near as good. It should also sometimes cut to a player's face while the shot is in the air, or show it in a PIP window, which are both things that have been done in the past, but are then taken out for no reason. I don't need fancy, unrealistic camera angles in the game, and I think alot of people would agree. For instance, everytime that a putt is made we are usually shown a shot of our player walking right at the camera, but it just looks so much like a videogame and so fake. Instead, the player should walk to the hole and pick out there ball and give there putter back to their caddy and walk off towards the next hole. It is just another case of something that EA Sports could so easily fix to add to the realism, but they just continue to not do it. An example of how they just constantly miss in the realism in a pre-shot cut scene where it shows a close-up of the player putting his tee into the ground and a close-up on the ball. It just looks fake, and would look so much better to just show the player putting his tee in the ground from a further away angle, just what we see in an actual broadcast. Again, if it is not possible for the shot to actually be scene during an actual golf broadcast, just dont put it in the game. Just get rid of that EA Sports look and feel, because it is just taking away from the realism of the game. EA Sports could really take some hints from 2k sports on how to make their cut scenes look less like cut scenes and more like just another camera angle of the action.

In order to make it like a realistic golf broadcast all that needs to be added is realistic looking overlays, better presentation cam, better player models with realistic looking clothing and faces (golfer's dont smile huge grins into the camera everytime they hit a good shot, yet they always do in the game and it just looks ridiculous) more realistic pre-shot camera angles and cut-scenes, more attention paid to the little details like having a microphone on the tee box, like they have in tour events. some replays and swing analysis like what we see on an actual golf broadcast, more realistic celebrations (golfer's dont throw there putter's in the air when they make a big putt, and they don't dance either) more realistic post-shot and putting cut-scenes and camera angles, better commentary and shots of the announcers in the booth, golfers and galleries on other holes and reactions from those holes, accurate tee-times and playing partners, and that is just to name a few. There should be shots of the leaderboard during a round where the announcers discuss the tournament. It would also be great if the announcers made some comment about where you stand in the tournament, like for example what kind of lead you have or how much you are trailing by, and then when you do win a tournament mention that as they are walking to 18 on sunday. Then have a presentation where you are handed a trophy and hold it in the air. I could go on and on about all of these little details, but again if you watch a golf broadcast and see what goes on during an actual tournament, it seems that it would be easy to make the game re-create that and make me feel like I am playing an actual PGA Tour event. A round doesn't need to only take 20 minutes to play, if the game can keep us entertained for longer. I would easily play an hour long round in order to have some of these presentation elements implemented into the game, and if you read the forums and listen to the gamers that actually play golf and care about more than just creating a funny looking golfer who breakdances when he makes a putt, you will see that I am not alone in this thinking. If you are going to hold onto the PGA Tour license, you need to focus on more on creating a PGA Tour game, and less on creating an arcade golf game that will appeal to people that have never watched a PGA Tour event in their life.

Since these are the only sports in which I am forced to play whatever EA Sports puts out, these are really the only ones I am going to comment on. Again, please read the last email that I wrote in order to get a general idea of the concepts I am talking about, as this email only serves to give specific examples of those concepts. The general concept though is get away from that EA Sports look and feel and unneccessary things that are meant to be cool and different and just create games that truly are "in the game" by making it look more like an actual sports broadcast Thanks again for your time.
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Old 12-10-2008, 06:18 AM   #2
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Re: Another Open Letter To Peter Moore, EA Sports President

Please stop posting this all over the forums.
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