EA NCAA Football’s Comeback Could Start in Ultimate Team What a new college football gaming environment could start to look like

Ever since the EA NCAA Football series went belly up, we’ve been left with nothing but a void when it comes to college football gaming, especially if you wanted to play on a console (for PC gamers who like text sim games, go check out Bowl Bound College Football).

Over the weekend, however, a thought occurred to me that seemed like it might be a good fit for a current console game, and would be an idea that wouldn’t get anybody in legal trouble.

What if the Madden series or even an independent title such as Maximum Football decided to add in a college version of Ultimate Team?

Instead of a marketplace and auction for players like we see in current Ultimate Team modes, you’d instead see a recruiting pool of 1-5 star players. Users then would be able to use different “pitches” to sell to recruits that you’ve accrued in the Ultimate Team mode, similar to what we saw in the EA NCAA Football series. The recruits in the pool wouldn’t just go to the team with the top dollar amount at the end of an auction, but instead would choose between a number of variables such as:

  • A team’s location to his hometown
  • The style of play
  • The team’s reputation (both record and whether they quit games early or run the same money plays all day long, for instance)
  • Playing time
  • Etc.

    EA NCAA Football ’11. Image courtesy of Booya Gadget.

Each recruit would “make a decision” at a set expiration time, so that part would actually work similarly to the auction, but instead users would “submit their pitch” to the player, and then when the time expires, the team would announce his decision.

This sort of Ultimate Team mode could even have built-in events, such as “National Signing Day” where once a  week or once a month, a brand new pool of 5-star studs declare.

Every 4-5 years, depending on redshirts, players would “graduate” and leave your team.

Each user’s team would fall into a different conference which would also help (or hurt) with recruiting; if you’re team’s made it up to a power conference (Tier 1), you will have an easier time landing top recruits, if your depth chart has the space for them to get playing time.

Players could decide to transfer, get suspended for grades or other violations, and have injuries they’d need to ride out. Users could earn playing cards that would represent tutors, or university boosters who could help bring in more funding.

To take this idea a step further, the Ultimate Team mode could allow for team customization, including stadiums, jerseys, and logos. Taking it a step further, private conferences could be created and even combined with other private conferences, so that your group of Big 10 friends might join up with a group of PAC 12 guys you met on a forum.

Of course all of the conferences could also be edited and shared, similar to 2K Share for NBA 2KAnd low-and-behold, we have a college game that’s been built by the community, without any gaming studios getting into trouble.

It’s a cliche’, but the opportunities with something like this really would be endless, and it seems as though it could be a blueprint for combining a franchise-mode setting into an Ultimate Team mode setting–a perfect hybrid of sorts to bring those two gaming worlds together.

So what are your thoughts? Would something like this work? Which game would be the first to take such a leap? How could it be expanded on to be even better?

Cover image EA NCAA Football ’12, courtesy of Bolla.co.

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