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Where Can Sports Games Still Go This Generation?

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Where Can Sports Games Still Go This Generation?

Scott Funk

I don’t think any big leaps are expected if recent history is anything to go by. Several titles took steps backwards in terms of features near the end of last gen, and it was quite disappointing upon release date of this generation for that reason. I still remember the disappointment in getting PS4 opening night only to find some of my favorite games released as half-complete versions. Meanwhile the “last gen” was pretty basic in terms of features.

If I had to guess I would think the developers of the major series already have a version of the next gen, and are in the works of devoting time and resources to that title.

Joe Doyle

Honestly, I don’t think so. I know in terms of MLB The Show, memory is all but tapped out. There may be small changes in modes to change things up, but game-changing items are done. The biggest changes that could be made to games at this point are probably animation based, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily.

The next generation should see a massive overhaul on what’s possible with ray tracing and enhanced memory.

Joel Smith

I think at the point we’re at now, sports games for this generation have reached their ceiling. It’d be best to focus on legacy issues and fix up the things that have been nagging each game so that when each AAA title ramps up for what appears to be 2021. At that point, hopefully they’ll be ready to deliver to fans a premium experience for the next gen.

If we’re going to see the power that Microsoft has started claiming with the Project Scarlett announcement, and what Sony will inevitably announces soon with the PS5, it only seems fitting to focus on the “next big leap” for next gen.

Jeff Botkin

I believe there is an improvement that is needed in this generation and it can be accomplished. The improvements to gameplay I think are fluidity and details. Remember the smoothness and fluidity of the play-action pass and rollout pass from NFL 2K5? Or the camera shake and the QB who can’t relay a message to his receivers due to crowd noise is NCAA Football 13? This is fluidity and details that are missing from Madden NFL games. There is room for improvement in this generation to polish game titles and subtle details are often overlooked.

Matt Llewellyn

The end of a console generation is more about refinement than innovation. All in all, this has been a fairly disappointing cycle for console sports games. At this point, graphics have to be considered secondary to AI and gameplay improvements.

While Madden NFL 20 and FIFA 20 may improve the gameplay by a marginal amount, the real innovation and leap forward for sports games will be the second year of the next-gen consoles. At this point, the best we can hope for is a tightened gameplay experience from the titles we have now.

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  1. I think games can and NEED to once again use the more powerful platform (PC) as the lead development system of choice. Developers now develop for the least common denominator and I feel like it's crippling development and "breaking" game additions.
    Madden 19 / Fifa 19 are perfect examples of this - both are on the PC, but both are coded for the weaker consoles.
    If they took advantage of the faster GPU / CPU in gaming computers, they could add not only eye candy, but AI / computational improvements, then pare them down for the consoles.
    I'm hoping that this occurs with the upcoming generation of consoles, but I know this is a long lost vision.
    It's kinda like marrying the girl with a pretty face and then realizing she has no substance. That is this generation. Which is a carry over from previous ones. If I'm being honest, Dreamcast and the OG Xbox were the last great leaps we had. Everyone remembers when they first booted up NFL 2K5. We've had a complete NFL experience. So with greater resources and power, we should have be able to build on that. Developers were still using a 128bit generation cycle to push out games when maybe we should have had an every other year cycle.
    Madden is never gonna deliver the full experience because MUT is priority over everything else. Long gone are the days of If it's in the game, its in the game. EA sold its creative soul for the exclusive license. The NFL limits what they can put in the game. So what’s the only way to fix this? Get rid of those exclusive licenses and allow 2 years in between releases.
    We need fresh perspectives. Madden has no competition. MLB The Show has no competition. 2K is just starting to have a bit of competition with Live. This gen has felt more like all these games have been playing it safe and just trying to milk their 'card modes' as much as they can.
    This gen was probably the worst for sports. Franchise modes took a major backseat for many titles, except 2K. Loss of college games being made. No competition for madden and once again no baseball game for Xbox. This gen was all about money for the companies and it leaves me very wary about next gen. And if history tells us anything, the first year of next gen isn’t going to be revolutionary
    I think that all of these sports leagues need to make their licensing more accessible for game developers so we as the consumer can have more  options of sport titles to play with. The PS2 and original Xbox era were the best times for sports  gaming.I hope that we can get that era back soon..
    Nothing will change in the games that launch this year, and we'll get a game on the PS5 and XBox 2 in 2020 that is a bare bones game with just better graphics.
    So I'm not expecting much of a jump forward in anything gameplay related until 2021 at the earliest.
    This gen has been a debockle, I agree with a couple of earlier posts that help contribute to this great debockle.  MUT has become the cash cow and emphasis and the major sports games besides soccer being company exclusive Madden and MLB.  For me NBA2’ has done a lot for instance player specific animations.  This helps bring it to life.
    But the one game that has not  seen no where near full potential is Madden.  Three areas that need improvement and should have Madden look like  the  ideal dream of a game.  These are unique player animations such running styles , stances, and catching styles other styles could be put in as well but want try and keep it brief.
    Next is  stadium atmosphere I mean every game is the same  whether playofff or cough cough rival games Redskins and Cowboys among others.  They all play and sound the same,
    lLastly is weather, I mean only a few choices no variety  not changes.  I mean we racing games that allow to choose time of year, type of weather including fog with rain.  Not only this you even go from clear and pretty to a nasty thunderstorm none of this happens in Madden.  Now I know football is not played in lightning but how many times have seen games go from clear to a monsoon and then back.  Or snow to rain.  Heck what about flurries falling occasionally with no accumulation on the field.  Just things we see EVERY season and Madden has not had fog  since Madden 02 and changing weather since  05.  Wow almost two decades ago.
    I think AI and systems are going to be the big push going forward. The graphics will improve, but I think we're past the point of being wowed by graphics. I do expect the next gen to make a huge jump with AI systems. I see the Czars work with the offense in 2K making a leap. I expect more realistic player movement in not only 2K but The Show and Madden.
    BA2929
    Nothing will change in the games that launch this year, and we'll get a game on the PS5 and XBox 2 in 2020 that is a bare bones game with just better graphics.
    So I'm not expecting much of a jump forward in anything gameplay related until 2021 at the earliest.

    I agree.
    I feel this is last true year of this generation of sports games. With next gen consoles slated for holiday 2020, companies are going to develop games with next gen in mind. You either going to see developers go all out and have next gen version be a graphical upgrade. Or you'll see a gap year", where they just implement back of box features to sell games, while they focus heavily on next gen 2021 version.
    My hope for next gen sports games is they focus on gameplay and depth not just visuals and cosmetics. With more powerful engines, there will be a lot more resources developers can use to make the games a lot better. I just hope they don't focus that all that extra power on visuals. Everyone will expect a graphical leap, but I want that power to be used for gameplay and depth. I want to see AI for games to be a lot more intelligent and adaptive. I want the gameplay to be more responsive and smooth. Season modes for all games really need to get back to the PS2/Xbox version where there was vast amount of depth compared to past 2 gens. But I do wonder how much better graphically can these sports games get? Besides accurate colors and lighting, what can we expect. I say improved weather effects, improved player models, more photo-realistic faces(less cartoonish), more extra sport-specific details, improved crowds. I think those are the given. One thing I really want is more accurate player to field of play ratio. It feels in most games the fields and courts feels smaller to make players feel life size. If they can have accurate player to field of play ratio, it'll improved spacing for all games
    Junior Moe
    I think AI and systems are going to be the big push going forward. The graphics will improve, but I think we're past the point of being wowed by graphics. I do expect the next gen to make a huge jump with AI systems. I see the Czars work with the offense in 2K making a leap. I expect more realistic player movement in not only 2K but The Show and Madden.

    Only thing that can wow me with graphics nowadays is if they eliminated the cartoonish looks on players and completely got rid of clipping/morphing. I doubt we will see either anytime soon. Only major sports game that really needs a graphical leap is NBA Live.
    Definitely believe they will focus on AI and Player movement.

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