hasn’t had a proper home since 2002’s NFL Blitz 20-03. That’s all about to
change in the new year when EA Sports’ NFL Blitz takes to the gridiron in
January of 2012. This fumble-happy, interception-laden comeback brings the
arcade franchise back to its roots with no rules, no penalties and lightning-fast
gameplay. It’s a bit of a silver-lining to Midway’s bankruptcy and subsequent
fire sale of properties; without it, Blitz would’ve never landed at EA, the
sole NFL video game license holder. At EA Sports, we talked to NFL Blitz
project lead Dave Ross and designer Yuri Bialoskursky for more details on the
adrenaline-filled football experience that awaits.
Can you tell us what you announced this week?
We announced that we are
bringing NFL Blitz to the PS3 and the Xbox 360 and we’re very excited. We are
going to be delivering this title as a digital download. It’ll be $15 for PSN
We noticed that this is a 7-on-7 game. Is there
any reason you went with that number instead of 8-on-8?
Our focus was to
recreate the traditional Blitz arcade experience, making sure that we were able
to deliver twitch gameplay and fast-paced gameplay that would run at 60 frames
per second. That was paramount to us and having that 7-on-7 gameplay as our
focus, we were able to achieve that. The 8-on-8 were the later versions of
Blitz. We wanted to go back and start with the traditional version of Blitz and
7-on-7 of course that. 8-on-8 was something that Blitz did much later on in its
life, but it’s not the direction we wanted for this version.
When we were checking out the trailer, we didn’t
notice any gratuitous late hits? Do you have late hits in the game?
We have late hits in the
game, but the game is still not finished and it’s still under review by the
NFL. We do also have first and 30, no injuries, no penalties and on-fire
Do you have actual players in the game
and, if so, how do they feel about being involved and engulfed in flames?
[Laughs] Our game is NFL
licensed, we have 32 NFL stadiums, we have the teams and we have the players
that are associated with those teams. It’s not that we had any one or two or
three individuals that are participating in the game with us. It’s just our
opportunity to use the NFL license in order to bring those players to life on
the field in that arcade experience. So I am actually waiting to hear the
feedback from perhaps the NFL players, to hear their cries of joy and to see
how they’re represented in the games as these hyper-real, great impressive
Do you have a name for this engine that this is
running on? Is it the same as the Madden NFL engine?
No it’s not running on
the same Madden engine. It’s technology that we have adapted in order to bring
this to life. There’s not a specific name for it so to speak.
As an XBLA and PSN game does that mean there’s
going to be online play?
Yes, as a matter of
fact, that’s one of the great things about our delivery mechanism for the game
being digital download. While we have a compelling single-player experience,
the bulk of our feature-set is online focused. Clearly people who are
downloading the game are going to have online connectivity, so they’ll be able
to take full advantage of that. We have online head-to-head, online co-op and
what’s called the Elite League. Instead of a card game, Elite League is akin to
what Madden Ultimate Team was. Our game takes a little bit of a twist on that
with regards to the cards that you collect and how you collect them.
aspect is the motivating factor in Elite League. It’s still about purchasing
card packs, it’s still about formulating a fantasy team, but at the same time
you’re improving your team by collecting the players and trading in the teams
of players to get better cards, which you can then substitute into your lineup.
Through all of this collecting and trading in, you can get to a point where you
have a team of the best players in the game. It’s not a monetized mode. You
basically collect the Blitz currency, which is called Blitz bucks, as you play
online games and built up a bank account of Blitz bucks that you can then spend
on cards packs.
Can you tell us about Blitz Battles?
Aside from our Elite
League, we also have Blitz Battles. Essentially Blitz Battles has two different
team types. It’s got head-to-head and Blitz Teams. The overarching meta game of
Blitz Battles is that there are these Blitz boards and, when you first start,
we ask you what your location is and we group you together. There’s three
different Blitz boards: the local, regional and national. So we ask you your
location, we actually group you together with other people in the same location
you’re in. For instance, if we were to start up a game here, we’d say “We’re in
Florida,” and our weekly games inside of the Blitz board would be with 25 other
Floridians and we’d jockey for position on this Blitz board as you play through
a Blitz style of games. In those games, you’re earning ranking points, which
will move you up and down this Blitz board. You’re progressing through these
boards with the eventually reward of getting into a Hall of Fame.
It’s a leaderboard with a
different twist. It’s alive, you can see people moving up and down the board
after each game and everybody is in your locality.
Can you rise through the Blitz Board
leaderboards with your friends?
That’s a huge focus for
Blitz. There’s no better to play Blitz with or against your friends. So, in
that Blitz Battles mode, you can create a Blitz team and you can invite either
one of your online friends or you can play with someone local to you, just a
guest like a roommate or a friend that comes over. You can create a team, you
can customize your team, you can create the team name, team logo and a banner
that creates a theme or gives your team some character. You can then compete
against other teams of two players, and then your team can move up and down the
So, you can play two players local against other
Yes, that’s a new feature for us. It’s unique
our title. None of our football titles have it. You can sit down with your
buddy and you guys can compete against other people online. That’s present in
our Blitz Teams feature and our other online mode, online co-op.