What would the world be like without football? Thankfully, fans needn't concern themselves with such a horrible scenario (at least for another 10 years), as NFL owners and the NFL Players Association came to an agreement to end a months-long standoff that might have canceled the 2011-2012 season. Because the lockout ended early enough, there will be no impact on the season itself, but what about this year's installment of "Madden"?
"Madden NFL 12" is scheduled to be released in about a month, but video games are often finalized months before they hit store shelves. Does that mean anyone who buys "Madden" will be playing with out-of-date rosters from before the lockout was even settled?
Anthony Stevenson, the director of marketing for "Madden NFL 12," discussed how the development team is planning to keep everything up-to-date for fans. "From the game's standpoint, what everyone wants to know is rosters," he said. "You're taking what historically would be five months of offseason activity and you're condensing it into what would be as little as two to three weeks. So, there are going to be a lot of roster moves. And these aren't inconsequential moves: There's Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb; these are moves that could shape a division. But we're fortunate that we're able to flip the switch on roster updates pretty easily."
Mike Young, the game's creative director, confirmed that the rosters would be up-to-date not only at the beginning of the season, but also straight on through to the Super Bowl. "Our ratings people and our roster guys are going to be really, really busy," he said. "Day one, anybody with an online connection is going to have all these moves and up-to-date rosters. All season long, we'll support that really well."
Young confirmed that while the rosters and player stats will be up-to-date, EA won't be able to implement all of the just-agreed-upon rules. "Some of the new rules we will not get in the game this year. Unfortunately, [the end of the lockout] happened too late," he explained. "It's kind of a complicated system to change with something like a patch."
As for which new rules didn't make the cut, Young revealed, "The rookie cap stuff, a lot of the business part of football. So your Franchise mode will be using last year's rules for another year. That was the only disappointment. But, as far as rosters, I think we're the best at having those up-to-date."
Those roster updates will require an Internet connection for your console. If you don't have your console hooked up to the Internet, Young suggested taking advantage of nearby gamers. "Take it over to your friend's house, plug it in," he recommended. "There are a lot of free trials for Xbox Live and PSN [PlayStation Network] is free. Update your game, save it to your hard drive, and bring it home. You need the rosters!"
Certainly, fans who are just thrilled to have an NFL season will consider updated rosters the cherry on top.
Check out the Multiplayer blog, updated daily, for even more on "Madden NFL 12" and other gaming coverage.