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.