NFL Blitz - first screens, trailer and an interview with EA Sports

Do you have Tim Kitzrow or NFL Blitz 20-03’s Bill Simonson present in the booth?

Yeah, Tim Kitzrow is our play-by-play guy again and we also have Brian Haley who is our color commentator. Brian is a stand-up and actor and someone that we brought onto the project this year. The commentary is really funny and deep with good lines that come out of Tim and Brian.

What’s great is that they’re actually friends in real life. They work well off of each other. You’ll find that they riff well together in the game. There’s of real laugh out loud moments when you’re playing the game and these guys are commentating.

Very important question coming up... Cheerleaders. Now, I hope they’re not the same cheerleaders from back in the day? I hope that more than ten years later, there are new Blitz cheerleaders?

[Laughter] The same cheerleaders! True to the roots! We brought the old ones back! No, No. We do have 32 pictures of new Blitz cheerleaders in the game, and much like the old Blitz, they populate the loading screens in the game. As you’re playing, you can use some of your Blitz Bucks to unlock more of the pictures of the cheerleaders and they’ll start to populate your loading screens.

We noticed that the passing method is the old style of Blitz, by leaning the analog stick one way or the other to select a passer. This is different from the conventional icon passing method. Is that old style the default passing option?

Yeah, that’s the traditional passing system. We chose that because it’s really comfortable and easy to use. By the same token, we understand that it’s been a long time since there was a Blitz on consoles, so we’ve got an option in our settings to use the traditional icon passing as well.

This is a small detail, but are you able to hide the cursor by pressing up twice or doing something of the sort to invisibly select your play?

You can. It’s not the same technique. It’s funny that you bring it up. It was one of those points that we went back and forth on the design side. We felt like it was kind of an archaic arcade versions of controls to have to do it that way. So, instead, you can simply press the Y button on your play call screen to hide your cursor.

One of the creators of NFL Blitz, Mark Turmell, was working there at EA Sports before moving to Zynga this past summer. Did he have a hand in bringing new NFL Blitz to life?

Yes. We started working on NFL Blitz in June of 2010, so it’s been over a year’s worth of work. Mark was a part of this project from the day we started until the day that he left. So we appreciated the contributions that Mark provided, the hands-on experience that he had from the old versions and the lessons he brought to this version of the game.

Are there still cheat codes to enter in as a game is loading up?

Absolutely, at the beginning of every game, users will have a brief amount of time to enter in cheat codes. We have over 100 different cheats that they can enter in and unlock different ways to augment their experience. We also included fantasy characters in the game this year. Eight of them are historical Blitz characters like a cowboy or a lion. But we also have new four new fantasy characters that we put into the game as well.

What steps have you taken to diverge from EA’s many other Blitz-style arcade attempts like NFL Street, NFL Tour and Madden NFL Arcade?

On the team, we have people who have had a variety of experience with historical products that EA put out. We have people who worked on Arcade on the team and Tour and Street, but the focus for us was to put those products aside and focus on what Blitz was and what Blitz is. It’s a completely different beast than what we’ve created before. As a matter of fact, one of the first things that we did was to buy an old Blitz arcade machine and bring it in here. We encouraged the team to play, even set up tournaments where people would play Blitz against one another, just so we could get them to understand what it was that we were going for with our focus on gameplay and what we were talking about when we said “the Blitz experience.”

Oct 20, 2011