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College football is one of the most popular sports in the United States, so why haven’t fans gotten a video game in over a decade? The last title, NCAA Football 14, debuted in July 2013 and has been a football fan favorite since then. EA Sports confirmed they’re making another NCAA college football video game, so what can we expect from this highly anticipated title? Here’s a guide to understand what’s happening.
NCAA College Football Video Game Expected Release Date
Let’s take a time machine back to February 2021. The Alabama Crimson Tide had just beat Ohio State for another national championship and wrapped up another No. 1 recruiting class. Then, EA Sports dropped a bomb: they’re reviving the college football video game series after seven years in a hiatus.
The college football universe warmly embraced the news because they’ve missed looking forward to a new game each summer. A new season brings new teams, players and coaches to Division I football. Since NCAA Football 14’s release, we’ve seen Appalachian State, James Madison, Old Dominion and other schools join the FBS. In 2023 alone, Sam Houston State and Jacksonville State made the jump, so it’s time for a new game.
The excitement and anticipation for a new game are still in the air, so when can you expect a release date? The latest reports suggest EA Sports will continue with its release in the summer of 2024, just ahead of the upcoming football season. Some factors have slowed the game’s progress, including name, image and likeness (NIL) for players, coaches, universities and more. However, the show should go on as planned.
What to Expect From the NCAA College Football Video Game
NCAA college football video games are unique because of their road to glory and dynasty modes. Sure, you can create players and control their careers in NBA 2k, Madden and other sports games. However, they don’t stack up to the college football games. Will these game modes return? Here’s what we can expect from next summer’s anticipated title.
Dynasty Mode’s Return
The most significant development we’ve seen so far is the return of Dynasty Mode. Matt Brown, a noted reporter in the college football world, reported in May that EA Sports is spending a lot of time and resources in its dynasty mode. That’s music to our ears because this game mode is a central focus of the game.
Dynasty mode might be the most fun part of any NCAA college football video game. You can take the reins of any team in the country and build them into a juggernaut. Imagine becoming the head coach of Georgia Southern and winning the College Football Playoff, defeating teams like Alabama and Michigan along the way.
One of the biggest obstacles for the NCAA college football video game is incorporating real players. NIL is why EA Sports stopped the video game series after 2013. The 2024 edition of this game will hopefully bring real players’ names. Of course, you can mod NCAA 14 and use community rosters. However, seeing real players receive real compensation for their NIL in the game would be nice.
What’s the progress on this issue? ESPN reported in May that EA Sports will allow all eligible FBS players to opt into the video game and receive compensation. It’s still up in the air what players will be in the game and how much they’ll get paid. However, the news of actual players in the game is refreshing.
Missing Players and Teams
As of 2023, there are 133 schools in the FBS. Each team puts 85 players on scholarships, so some student-athletes will unfortunately not receive the full funding. If the next NCAA college football video game puts all scholarship athletes in the game, that means 11,305 players need to opt in for EA Sports to use their NIL. Then, you must get all 133 teams on board, which could be a problem. Ultimately, we could see the next title leave out some players.
You also need to look out for missing teams. We’d like to believe EA Sports wouldn’t publish its NCAA college football video game without USC, Clemson and Notre Dame. However, the possibility exists.
The Collegiate Licensing Company has a deal with almost all of FBS schools except for 12. The Trojans, Tigers and Fighting Irish are three of them. Other names include Kentucky, Troy Pittsburgh and the armed forces schools. These schools have separate licensing agreements and will need to make a deal with EA Sports to have their spot in the game.
Some schools are waiting to see what happens on the NIL front before deciding their fate. For example, Northwestern and Notre Dame want to ensure their student-athletes get fair compensation in the game. The Wildcats and the Fighting Irish are willing to sit out the game if they don’t deem the deal good enough.
One fear gamers have with the new game is it’s going to be a cut-and-paste version of Madden. While the NFL game is fun sometimes, players overwhelmingly view the title negatively. Glitching, lagging and weird AI activity are only some of the complaints Madden players have.
Fortunately, EA Sports has promised a separation from the pro football game, hopefully leading to a better college game experience. In November 2022, Matt Brown reported the next college football video game would be a completely new title and not a reskin of Madden.
What We’re Still Waiting to See
A lot has changed since the last NCAA college football video game, so there are a few elements EA Sports needs to implement. Unfortunately, we haven’t heard about these two features yet.
The Transfer Portal
First, the transfer portal. You couldn’t transfer in Road to Glory mode in past NCAA games. Understandably, it would have made the game more complicated. Still, a transfer portal feature is necessary now due to the college football landscape. Imagine you get to Ohio State as a quarterback and don’t see any playing time. Why not transfer to UCF or Mississippi State, where you can get more playing time?
NIL is another reality of the college football landscape, so seeing how EA Sports handles it will be interesting. When recruiting, you need to navigate the CPU to lure top prospects to your school. Can you offer them NIL money? Will NIL have any part in the game, or will recruiting keep the same interface as previous games? In these titles, you would call players and talk up your school while putting down the competitors.
The playoffs have been a college football staple since the 2014-2015 season, so leaving them out would be a travesty. If the playoffs are in the game, how EA Sports will implement them is worth wondering. Will there be a committee you need to impress? Will there only be four teams, or will it expand to 12, 16 or more? We’d love a customized playoff grid with 32 or even 64 teams.
Waiting for the Next NCAA College Football Video Game
In 2024, we’ll have a new college football video game for the first time in over a decade. Gamers worldwide can get their fill by building small schools and turning them into juggernauts. Before the release, read this guide to know what to expect. What players and schools will be missing? Will we get a Road to Glory mode? These inquiries are essential before the next NCAA college football video game.