The 2K and NFL are back together. Even though it’s just “non-simulation” for now, what do you expect and how excited are you for NFL 2K’s return?
Phil Varckette: I didn’t wake up yesterday and think I would see a notification on my phone that 2K and the NFL have come to an agreement to make NFL games. I almost thought it was a joke. Then I saw it will be a non-simulation game, and my excitement was tempered a bit. However, looking at it a day later, I find myself more and more excited. I feel like 2K will find a way to make this game as sim as possible while still technically falling within the agreement to make a non-sim game. I mean, what is “non-sim” anyway? It’s vague.
Is Madden even sim? It tries to be (and I’m sure it is by whatever agreement EA has with the NFL). But how far can 2K go? Are we talking NFL Street? Blitz? Nothing that’s even 11-on-11? Or maybe a game that plays somewhat realistic on the gameplay front, but adds some ball trails, speed boosts and and huge celebrations. I’ll take whatever I can get at the start because I think this is the first move by 2K to make the NFL an offer it can’t refuse to give us multiple simulation games back.
Elliott Jenkins: I can only assume the 2K team has waited years to pounce at this opportunity, and I expect them to pull out all of the stops. They have the entire history of sports video games from which to pull inspiration, both in terms of what to do (NFL Blitz, NFL Street, Backbreaker) and what not to do (NFL Tour, the Blitz reboot’s reliance on online multiplayer, even NHL 3-on-3 Arcade). Unquestionably, for player and business purposes alike, they will come out showcasing a quality football title that also serves to show how different it will feel from Madden.
They need to make a statement, and given their reputation and the opportunity, I do not believe they will leave anything on the table. I expect it to be a tremendous collection of anti-Madden features with a buttery smooth on-field performance. Anything less will be a disappointment for quite literally all parties involved, and I just do not see them fumbling the ball here. I am thrilled to see what 2K churns out and cannot wait for more news.
Matthew Ederer: I don’t expect much, and I’m fairly pessimistic. I hope I am wrong, and believe me when I say I love a good arcade football title. But realistically, what are we going to get here? It won’t be a new Blitz-style game as we no longer celebrate and laugh at concussions. If they make a new NFL Street, sure, that’s cool. It’s not bad. I just wonder, what has 2K done since 2013 that makes you think a new football product will be any good?
Why do we think that 2K still has an NFL 2K in them? And even then, why wouldn’t EA Sports use their punishing, suffocating wealth to retain exclusivity when it comes up in 2022? The world does not need another backyard football game, as cool as it will be to see. Right now, I am rather negative on this. Let’s hope I eat this take later and NFL 2K22 is the greatest football sim ever made.
Josh Houtz: To say I’m excited to find out 2K is getting back into the NFL game would be an understatement. Until this day, there has not been an NFL game that could compare to NFL 2K5, and while that says a lot about just how great the game was, it makes you wonder why EA has become so complacent over the last 15 years. So, whether it’s a Football Manager-type game or something more arcade-like, any competition is good for the future of NFL video games. And if we learned one thing from the past, it’s that no one can create a real-life representation of the sport like 2K.
I’m not sure what it means long-term. Perhaps EA re-tinkers a bit to spend a little less time on MUT and focus on the core gameplay and franchise mode. But again, having any type of competition is a good thing. What we do know is EA is slowly running out of time on this version of exclusivity. So maybe 2K can’t create an NFL simulation now, but they can begin to slap together the start of something to at least have a chance at the exclusive license when EA’s deal runs out. In the perfect world, we would have two NFL games to play.
Joel Smith: 2K and the NFL reuniting is something that people have been waiting 15 years to see. The wait was unexpectedly ended with the astounding news that we would in fact being playing NFL football with 2K’s stamp once again, albeit in a non-sim scope (and we also have to see about the NFLPA). I believe this means we should be looking forward to some sort of over the top type of game, think Blitz or NFL Street. My excitement is tempered only due to the fact that the game we’ll receive will be non-sim. Where my true excitement exists is in seeing 2K have the ability to make an NFL game — and the possibility that leads to a 2022 or 2023 return of NFL 2K.
We all remember what happened the last time 2K made a sim NFL game, and we remember how it changed the sim football genre for the last 15 years. 2K now sits in a true two-minute drill to deliver one of the most epic comebacks in sports video game history. Only time will tell if they’ll be able to deliver and live up to the hype and pressure that is now undoubtedly thrown onto the company. Here’s hoping we, as fans, get to reap the rewards of entering into the next generation of sports gaming and being able to experience competition again that gives us the best that football gaming has to offer.