As everyone anticipates the release of Madden 22, we’re also waiting for news on another football game that is on the way. 2K Games, the developers of the dormant but never forgotten NFL 2K franchise, have their own NFL game on the way. Announced back in 2020, 2K has been working on an arcade-style football game with the NFL license. When it releases it will be the first game to use the NFL license not developed by EA since ESPN NFL 2K5.
For fans of the NFL 2K series, don’t get too excited. The major label here is “arcade” as opposed to the “simulation” style games that Madden is known for. Basically, 2K can’t make their game a realistic sim the same way EA Sports develops their Madden games. This is partially why EA Sports executive producer, Sean Graddy, isn’t too concerned about a competitor having the license. In fact, he welcomes the addition of more NFL games and says it’s good for the industry as a whole, via Gamespot.
“As far as the other products that [the NFL is] working with, I honestly think it’s a good thing for the industry and the market because you’re seeing more players engaging with with the NFL and getting excited about the league, getting excited about players,” he told GameSpot. “And when they want to get the simulation experience, they come to Madden. So I think it’s a good thing.”
What Graddy is saying does have a lot of truth to it. For fans of sports games, there is a notable lack of the arcade-style games that many of us grew to love during the PS2/GameCube/Xbox generation of consoles. Games like NFL Street were beloved for the wacky and unrealistic ways the game was played, and seeing games like that come back is a definite plus for video games as a whole. It brings in not only sports fans, but people who maybe don’t enjoy realistic sports but like the arcade game versions of them.
If 2K’s NFL game can capture the spirit of some of those arcade classics, and Madden can become the best simulation game out there, then NFL fans could be in for two must-get purchases every year. If that happens then Graddy would be correct, it would be good for the industry as a whole. But it’s hard to not think that some part of him wishes EA Sports was also developing the arcade game. Why aren’t they? We’ll never know for certain.