Video game company Electronic Arts (EA) dropped the biggest news fans of the NCAA Football video game franchise has been waiting for years: its return.
That’s right. EA announced in February that the popular college football video game is returning to next generation consoles. It will this time be titled “EA Sports College Football” instead of the “EA’s NCAA Football” with the year entry title we’re used to seeing. Though the exact release date has not yet been announced, we know the date will be sometime in 2023 and it’ll be playable on the next-gen consoles. Already fans are looking forward to playing some of their favorite college teams.
A lot of has changed in the college football landscape since the last edition of the video game in 2013. Now, the top ranked four teams at the end of the season compete in the College Football Playoff, there’s more teams competing in the FBS level (130 to be exact) and there are 35 postseason bowl games. However, as we wait for the next installment of the game, there are some features that I hope they implement into the game due to the changing landscape of the sport and bring back some features that were omitted from the newer, previous editions.
Here are the five things we need to see in the return of EA’s NCAA football game:
1. Ivy League schools
Who wouldn’t want to see Harvard take on Alabama for the national championship? Or form a dynasty with Cornell? Heck, I would even place the Ivy Leagues in Power Five conferences to compete for a conference championship. EA needs to put the Ivy League schools in the game. Allow passionate college football fans see what could have been if the Ivy Leagues still competed in the FBS level. Also, let us have fun in creating chaos in the college football landscape by creating a dynasty with one of the schools. College football fans love a chaos here and there.
2. More customizations
I am a big fan when it comes to customization in video games. This can be from character creation to intricate things like house decoration. EA needs to step up with its customization with the series. They already do a great job with providing alternative uniform choices, but where it falls short is customizing coaches. It’s a bit disappointing when creating yourself as a coach or any coach in general that you’re limited to about six facial, body and hair appearances. The clothing options too need more variety.
I would also add field appearances as well. Wouldn’t be nice for one game to use one of the school’s logo and use a different one for the next game? I know some schools don’t have the option of multiple logos, but it would give fans more control and authentic feel to the game.
Last, playoff expansion option. I know it’ll be years before we see some sort of playoff expansion from the current one that is implemented, but wouldn’t it be cool to see if we had an 8-team or 16-team playoff format already? EA must let us have this option in the dynasty mode. Let the fans show the college football committee that an expanded playoff could work.
3. The option to choose between playoff or BCS format
When the College Football Playoff format was announced back in 2013, it came with cheers and jeers. It was the end of the BCS era. Now approaching the eighth season with the current playoff format, there are fans who were first fans of the format now not fans and vice versa. And it seems like the BCS format will forever be dead. EA needs to give us the option to switch to playoff or BCS format each time we begin a new season in dynasty mode. This will give the game more longevity.
4. The ability to designate all bowl tie-ins
It’s nice that the recent editions of the game allow players to determine which conferences get what bowl tie-ins for the BCS bowls, but, how about the lower tier bowl games? It would be nice to see more Pac-12-SEC bowl matchups than the current revamped Las Vegas Bowl. What I hope to do in the next edition of the game is to determine the bowl tie-ins for not only the NY6 bowls, but the rest of the 35 bowl games. This will allow players to create more diverse bowl matchups that we wouldn’t be able to see in real life.
5. More stadiums to play in
EA has gotten better with allowing players to play neutral site games at most NFL stadiums and ballparks like Wrigley Field, but, between the last edition of the game to now, teams have played in so many iconic venues. Remember the Battle at Bristol between Virginia Tech and Tennessee at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. in 2016? We need more diverse venues like that. Notre Dame and Navy have played in Aviva Stadium and Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland. There have been several games played at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium. Let’s get even more crazy and add venues like Dodger Stadium or Wembley Stadium in
London. This would make the scheduling even more fun.
Bonus: Bring back school’s fight songs and chants
I know this might be a copyright issue, but it was disappointing in the latest entries of the series that some fight songs were taken out. For example, USC’s famous “Fight On” has been absent in the recent games. This iconic song is played every time the Trojans score. Instead, we get the five-second “Conquest” song. Nothing wrong with that but it takes away from the experience and feel of the game. It would also be nice for EA to include famous chants from other schools such as Penn State’s “We Are Penn State” or Ohio State’s “O-H-I-O” to add authenticity to the overall game experience.
What are some features do you hope to see make a comeback or debut in the next edition of the game?