Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL has ruled the football simulation console game since it nabbed the exclusive rights to NFL teams and player names. However, legendary San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana announced a new game in development sporting his name on Monday. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One releases haven’t been confirmed yet, but can it offer solid competition if it doesn’t have the NFL licenses?
Montana tweeted out the first image and official name of Joe Montana Football 16 along with a call out to the Unreal Engine. The football sim will use the Unreal Engine 4 game engine, which has been in the news lately for going free on the up-front costs.
— Joseph Montana (@JoeMontana) March 17, 2015
This isn’t the first time the Hall of Fame quarterback has teased something via his Twitter account. The first came in July 2014 with the not-so-cryptic message that we’ve all waited long enough and the game’s name.
This was followed in October with another tweet, showing the 58-year old Montana going through a motion capture session.
That said, the lack of NFL team names and player names is noticeable in the image that Montana released today. Electronic Arts has held exclusive licenses with the NFL and NFLPA in 2004. This effectively killed competition from 2K Sports NFL 2K series.
2K Games last attempt was All Pro Football 2K8 released in 2007. It featured former NFL players like Montana as a means to get around the licensing agreement. However, the lack of current NFL teams and players plus no franchise modes that an NFL license would support made it a critical and commercial disappointment.
Developer 505 Games attempted a brand new series called Backbreaker in 2010. It used a physics-based tackling and collision system compared to the pre-programmed animations for Madden NFL. A lack of features at launch killed its reviews and sales though.
How Joe Montana Football 16 is able to work around or with the NFL and NFLPA licenses will be a critical component of the game’s success. Building a new football game from scratch for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will also be a challenge, as EA Sports has iterated on Madden for so many years. Modes and features that may be taken for granted today may not be in an initial release.
Still, the desire for a football title to compete with Madden NFL is real. A developer hasn’t been announced and neither have release platforms. 2K Games is rumored as the developer and that screenshot looks like more than a mobile title is capable of though, pointing to the PS4 and Xbox One consoles. We’ll just have to wait and see what else Montana tweets out.
[Images via Joe Montana Twitter]