Speculation time: What are EA Sports' three new franchises?
Dustin Toms: I'll start this off with what everyone is thinking and hoping: NCAA Basketball. It has been too long without a college hoops game, and right now I think EA is taking advantage of a non-existent market. Hopefully, the company can pull through and deliver a solid title.
The second, I think, will be a title that falls more into the "arcade" realm. And with the success of Trials HD, EA will try and throw together a bike game. Imagine EA's successful Skate series, but just this time you are riding a vintage Redline.
Last but not least, EA Sports will bring back MVP. Everyone still looks back to MVP 05 as one of the best baseball games to date. The Show might have to prepare for some competition.
Jayson Young: Madden NFL and NCAA Football fill EA's simulation need, so the new rumored football franchise has to be an arcade game of some type. Since SSX has been delayed until 2012, there's an opportunity to resurrect another former EA Big brand, NFL Street, and release it sometime between October and December 2011.
But with ex-Midway employee, Mark Turmell, already on EA Sports' staff, and the NBA Jam remake getting ported to its fourth platform this October, I think a new NFL Blitz game is the most likely candidate for EA's new football franchise.
Caley Roark: I agree with Jayson that an NFL Blitz or Street update seems like a likely candidate. Madden Arcade was a relatively enjoyable, yet shallow, game that would have legs if updated and expanded -- just pretend NFL Tour never existed.
Perhaps, with the same thought in mind, another one of Midway's classics, the NHL Hitz series, could find new light. This was my favorite of the last-generation arcade games, and I think there is market space for another hockey game. Again, the precedent is there with the recent 3 on 3 NHL Arcade downloadable game.
Finally, I'd love to see EA baseball again, but I'm not clear on the technicalities or expiration date of the MLB deal. Perhaps EA goes old school and makes a baseball game with a headliner, like a Mike Piazza or a Ken Griffey Jr, and fills the rest of the game with generic players. That way, when the license becomes available, the game engine is already in place.
Pictured: MVP Baseball 2005
Christian McLeod: With speculation running rampant, I think it is most important to define what exactly a "new" franchise constitutes, according to EA? Does it mean a completely new franchise that has never been developed before, or does it mean an older franchise that has not appeared in quite some time? For the sake of making things interesting, I'll assume the latter.
My guesses are Mutant League Football, MVP (possibly named something else) and NFL Blitz.
A new Mutant League game would sell like gangbusters. The originals were cult classics and some of the most fondly remembered EA Sports titles of all time. MVP is a no brainer with the expiration of 2K's exclusive MLB license ending soon -- not to mention the demand for a quality baseball title for the 360. Finally, with the NBA Jam team currently working for EA, it would be ludicrous to think that NFL Blitz is not on its way out.
Here's hoping I'm right on all three. I think a lot of gamers would be very happy if these were the three new games on the way from EA Sports.
Chris Sanner: Figuring out this mystery is basically all about doing a bit of detective work and putting pieces together. We know EA has actively been talking about NFL Blitz, so I'm almost certain the new football game is indeed a new and updated NFL Blitz.
Then we start to get murky on what EA's intentions are from there. With the third-party MLB license opening up, I think you can reasonably conclude the other new franchise will be a reincarnation of MVP Baseball, especially since no definitive timetable was given as to when these games will be hitting shelves. MVP is a title you would see either next year or the year after that, depending on the wording in the MLB license.
Finally, the last game is the hardest to figure out. Market conditions would tend to suggest an NCAA Basketball game is possible, but that's not a "new" franchise. MVP is old enough that EA could brand it as new, but that's not the case with NCAA Basketball. Either way, a lot of people have posted sports that stand no chance of getting a game (NCAA hockey for example).
What we need to do is carefully consider the sports with enough worldwide appeal to warrant a game. Those sports are tennis, rugby and cricket. However, there are other dark-horse candidates as well, but just remember EA Sports is a worldwide brand.
For instance, 2K's Top Spin franchise does not sell all that well in the US, but it is one of Europe's best-selling games. Ditto goes for FIFA, although now even its US sales are beastly. So keep that in mind when speculating OSers.