Scheduled release date:
Q4 2005
Release Date:
Jan 1 1900 12:00AM


Sure, the calendar may read May… but before you know it, football season will be here. Despite EA's exclusive deal with the NFL and NFLPA, Midway is not going quietly into the night with their

franchise—in fact, new details are slowly coming to light just prior to E3 that lends credence to the idea that football games might not have to be licensed to be good.

is a from-the-ashes rebuilding of the once-popular franchise that used to suck in token after token at the local arcade. Now, instead of having being licensed and having an air of silliness,

has grown up. We're talking broken bones. We're talking about flying fists. We're talking about ripping off an opposing player's helmet and decking him with it.

will showcase the beautiful violence of football in ways that the NFL would never allow.

At the surface, the game looks and feels like the more recent iterations of the series, much like

or

. The game is fast, there are big plays possible at any time, and there's a definite arcade-style feel to it. What's different is that players are now capable of on-the-fly special moves. Quarterbacks can dodge incoming tackles by ducking or spinning to buy time. Linebackers can now swim and shiver to gain separation from the offensive line.

Injuries, which are new to the

franchise, are always a threat. Bones can snap due to dirty hits, and this will obviously affect teams throughout the game (or throughout a campaign). If an important player is injured during the course of a game, you can choose to either rest him… or use "enhancement" to get him back out there for a short-term payoff. The latter choice could make the difference in the outcome of that particular game, but what about the effect to the player for upcoming games? That's part of what may make

so compelling.

The game's design team is promising to show players the kind of football that the NFL refuses to allow in its licensed games and apparently denies. Players will talk dirty, hit dirty, and even do some less-than-legal things during the course of a season. Celebrations will be common, including some pretty recognizable ones that the NFL banned after single instances. Perhaps one of the biggest assets is that one of the main forces behind the controversial ESPN series about football,

, has had a huge role in writing the game's script and scenarios and has also helped to design the fictional teams and players. Word is that Lawrence "LT" Taylor may also be involved with the promotion of this game… which seems very appropriate.

If everything falls together—and if recent media is any indication–

could be the perfect foil for the

juggernaut. We'll be running routes at E3 to try and score time with this game, and we'll be keeping you up-to-date from Los Angeles on this and all of the big names on the show floor.

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