NoleDigest speaks with EA Sports

In a few weeks EA Sports will be releasing their signature college football game NCAA Football 2009. The game is wildly popular among gamers and CFB fans across the nation, and this year looks to be the best game yet. NoleDigest spoke to Ben Haumiller about this year's game to discuss what fans can expect and to talk about the new features added that are making this game so eagerly anticipated.

College football fans across the nation have been playing NCAA Football for a decade, making the game one of the most successful sellers of all-time. This year's game promises to be the best they've put out as the engineers have put in new features that make the game much more realistic and competitive. Ben Haumiller is a tester and employee for EA Sports, as well as a Florida State grad in 2001. He's been playing the game for some time himself, and he says this game blows away the rest.

"I graduated from Florida State in 2001 and started playing this game when I was there. I'd do campus and local competitions and play in some tournaments for fun. I went to a tournament and made it through a couple rounds. After I lost I spoke to some EA Sports people asking if they needed testers for their games. It started out as a summer gig after I graduated and I've been doing it since. I went to 10 FSU games last year so being able to do this is exciting because I get to see both sides of it. I have to say this game emulates the college football game experience the best I have seen and it's the most realistic I've played."

Ben said 3 main things have changed in this year's version of the game as EA Sports has been working hard to improve the game each time it's put out. He says the 3 new aspects are what the fans of the game are going to love and that are making this game so highly anticipated.

"The first thing that is new is making the college atmosphere of the game more real. We worked on showing more detail inside the stadium. For instance you look at Doak. Doak has features that a lot of schools don't have and it's nice when the sun is going down. We tried to really show that with the orange sun setting and the affects it has on the game. We made the sidelines more realistic with players moving around, and we have the crowd, mascots, media and cheerleaders more active to give the game more of a real stadium feel."

"Another is wide open game play. Each team has specific playbooks based off what they ran last season, and we added the pistol formation this year. The running lanes are more realistic and they're wide open. If you follow the lanes right they will result in game-changing plays. We added cut-back lanes and other features that really make the running game real."

"The last is probably the biggest thing we added and that is the online dynasty feature. This is what we're really excited about because 12 users can compete against each other for up to 50 years. There is full recruiting against each other. Recruiting has been a big part of college football so we wanted to make that part of the experience. It makes the game more competitive and fun and makes you follow the game more closely. Instead of battling friends in your home you can take it online and compete against them for conference championships and National titles. Dynasty mode is the game's most widely played feature so we really worked to make this feature more competitive."

Ben says hands down this is the best game he's played in terms of NCAA Football. The new features, as well as the more realistic approach, figure to make this game a rousing success.

"Hands down this is the best we've had. The new features alone make it great and we added new graphic textures that make it even better. If there's weather like rain or snow it will show on the players and field as the game progresses. We improved all of that. We worked all the way up until spring football this year to make sure we got what each team is trying to do on the field correct."

Early reports have stated that Florida State is rated highly in the game compared to how they may look on the field this year. Ben says they use a formula for each team to create ratings for players and the team, and feels like Florida State's overall ratings are close to being right on.

"Florida State's 99 rating for defense is based off a few things. We rate players and the strengths and weaknesses of the team. Those go into a formula and the ratings go into the overall team. For instance we have a linebacker and rover highly rated, so it's going to help the overall defense rating very much. If a team has strong players at different positions, it is going to make the overall team better. You look at Florida State, and you see that talent never has really been a problem. It's how the talent has been used. We don't want to hurt a player because of the factors like the coaches not utilizing their talent. We have representatives that look at each player and give their opinion of the players then we go from there as a group and add the final touches. It's important to remember these aren't the actual players, but just representations of them."

NCAA Football 2009 will fly off the shelves because of the new features added this year. After listening to Ben one can see that this game is going to be exciting, as EA Sports continues to make the game as close to the real thing as they possibly can.


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