The lights are on
With All-Pro Football and Blitz hanging up their cleats, EA is the undisputed king of football games. That isn’t stopping Natural Motion from going for it on fourth down with Backbreaker. Armed with the Euphoria engine that has powered the impressive animations for games like Grand Theft Auto IV and The Force Unleashed, Backbreaker aims to take down the NCAA and Madden publisher with its gritty, up close and personal brand of football. To get a better sense of what this game’s about, 505 Games supplied us with a preview build. Building A FranchiseLife without the NFL and NFLPA is rough. Any football fan would prefer taking snaps with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints than an imaginary quarterback from an imaginary team. All-Pro Football made due by dishing out large sums of cash to pay for the likenesses of legendary players like John Elway and Barry Sanders. As an upstart developer funded by a less established publisher, Natural Motion didn’t have the resources to go this route, instead filling the game with a bunch of generic teams. To keep the hardcore NFL fans interested in the game, however, the devs included tools to let players customize up to 32 teams. These customization tools give you free reign to name your team, create a logo with a Photoshop-like editor, fine-tune your jersey motif, choose a home stadium, re-name players, alter your team strengths, and change the number of “gold players” your team has on both sides of the ball. To avoid ugly lawsuits with EA and the NFL, however, you cannot name your upstart franchise the exact names of NFL teams and play online with them. Anything goes in offline play, but if you want to take the Minnesota Vikings onto the field against friends online, you’ll have to be creative. One workaround I found was to use the abbreviated city or state name. Typing the name San Francisco 49ers resulted in the pop-up box telling me that the name couldn’t be used online, but when I typed SF 49ers I received no such warning.The same applies to player names. I tried names from every era of football – Fran Tarkenton, Tommy Kramer, Tarvaris Jackson – and I received the warning about not being able to take these names online each time. Even little known quarterback Steve Dils didn’t work, which leads me to believe that Natural Motion has a database featuring the names of every player who ever donned a helmet in the NFL. To get around this, NFL fans could intentionally misspell names or just use the abbreviation technique. Having players named A. Peterson and S. Rice may not be ideal, but it’s an acceptable workaround for dedicated fans. Unfortunately, if you want to create an entire 32-team league with NFL clones, you can’t rely on some hardcore fan in another state to do the dirty work for you. Backbreaker does not feature a tool to upload and share rosters or teams with other players. Long-time Madden players may be equally irked by the lack of player customization. You can edit the name and number of each player, but have no control over their skill ratings, size, or weight. The only way to get better players on your roster is to move the slider that controls how many gold tier players are on your roster. The skill ratings feel rather empty considering the depths to which Madden credits attributes. Each player, no matter the position, is rated in four areas – focus, agility, speed, and strength. While these ratings may be fine for creating basic skill sets, there is no way to deduce what ratings affect abilities like quarterback accuracy, zone coverage, man-to-man coverage, etc.
Not allowing gamers to adjust the size and weight of players is also frustrating considering the physics engine driving Backbreaker. With the Euphoria technology simulating the physical prowess of a player based on his muscle mass and motor skills, the game could do a great job accentuating the immovable nature of gargantuan nose tackles like Pat Williams or the strength and height advantages a stud receiver like Larry Fitzgerald has going up against a 5’9 corner. The version of the game we played did have varying player skill implemented yet, so we won’t know if this will be the case until we play the final game.
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This game has a long way to go. All the Madden haters will see, its not easy to just make a good football game. Madden 11 will *** on this game, repeatedly, just like with All-Pro 2k8.
I don't know. When I first heard about this I was really excited but now I'm not quite sure. I hope it ends up being good.
Wow, what a surprise. I'm highly looking forward to Backbreaker, but never though GI would give the underdog the time of day. You have proven me wrong. I enjoyed reading your preview Matt.
im so glad someone is making a football game. I HATE EA for monopolizing football. i was such a huge fan of the 2k series and forever hate madden for that. hope this game is good!
Hopefully the game can get tweaked enough that it is better then what has been said. I have hopes for this game, it looks fun but if it plays out like you just said then this is a game that I might have to pass on.
What makes you think that GI caters only to the "big dogs?"
I was really excited when I first heard about this game and saw the first few tech demos and screen shots. There was always that fear, however, that the overall quality of the gameplay and mechanics would sink this game. With the lack of statistical customization and the extra steps made to skate around possible lawsuits, I'm not so sure about this game any more. It will probably end up a rental, in my case.
i only like blitz because of the violence so not wanting to play this
It may not be easy to make a football game, but when you are the only one making official NFL games and have made 10 of them so far, people start to expect a little more out of it. Not just the same crap over and over again. Either way, this game looks cool, love the tackles, but it just doesn't look like it will be refined enough by release.
Am i supposed to care?
not really looking forward to the game anymore....
I don't know this doesn't stop me from purchasing this.
STILL BUYING MADDEN THOUGH
I wonder why the article began on such a negative note. The whole first page is just, "Here are the things you CAN'T do in Backbreaker". Really lame way to write a preview - if I were 505 games, I wouldn't be happy.
The point of the preview wasn't to bash Backbreaker. I asked the community to send me questions about the game and the first section where I detailed the create-a-team stuff was almost all in response to what the responders wanted to know. I hope the game does well and finds a fan base because I think competition always drives innovation. It would be nice for pigskin fans to have more than the NCAA and Madden options.
you cant compare with madden's graphics.
sorry madden wont b dethroned by this
I fear for this game being a sleeper of the year, only because of madden 11 coming out soon. Other then that I believe this game may be fun, kinda reminds me of blitz but with a little bit of realistic touch to it; I also recognize that there using the Euphoria engine with more realistic tackles, so it might have some kind of edge. I wouldnt be suprised if EA buys out the company
EA can't make a good sports game anymore. i'll check this one out
this game is called backbreaker.....LAME this seems like one of those game you would only be out for a few plays with a broken neck or a ruptured *** "KUDOS TO BLITZ THE LEAGUE 2 FFOR GETTING AWAY WITH SOME ONE BUSTIN A NUT IN THERE PANTS"
Sounds like the game needs to spend another 6 months in development. As of now, it's only got 1 month. I don't think I'll hope for the best here, but rather just expect disappointment. Oh well.