NFL Blitz Developer Q&A -- Bringing the Gridiron Pain, Next-Gen StyleBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Oct 19, 2011
Electronic Arts continues on its sports game reboot kick with the newly revealed NFL Blitz, a downloadable, next-gen take on the over-the-top gridiron franchise. We spoke with project lead Dave Ross and designer Yuri Bialoskursky via email to find out more about the fast, bone-crushing arcade title, which is expected to hit PlayStation Network and Xbox Live in January.
It’s been around eight years since we last saw NFL Blitz on consoles. Why the decision to resurrect the franchise now?
David Ross: EA Sports has a history of delivering different takes on the NFL. This year, the timing was right for NFL Blitz to make its return as a part of EA’s product offering. NFL Blitz has always been a great game that gets better when you play against someone else. It used to be that that person was required to be at the Arcade Machine with you or on the couch next to you. With this generation of consoles, it was important to deliver that personal experience along with a robust online feature set that would allow players to compete even if there wasn’t someone on the couch with them. The NFL Blitz feature set makes for a perfect digital release as it targets people who engage in online play.
Visceral, fast-paced, and over-the-top gameplay are staples of the Blitz series. How does the new Blitz adhere to these gameplay pillars while still offering something new for current-gen gamers?
DR: Our focus on NFL Blitz gameplay was to recreate the fast paced, twitch experience enjoyed by thousands of fans of the Arcade version of the game. Once confident that we could deliver on our gameplay goals, we turned our attention to upgrading the on-field experience visually to deliver a compelling HD experience.
Where there any particularly nasty technical issues bringing the blisteringly paced gameplay of Blitz to next-gen consoles? Have we evolved enough as a species to handle that level of gridiron insanity?
DR: As with any new project, there were challenges to get the gameplay where we wanted it to be. Providing a fast paced twitch experience was our focus and even though we needed to optimize our tech to bring our goals to life, nothing nasty stood in the way of delivering a compelling NFL Blitz gameplay experience.
Putting the hurt on friends in head-to-head matches is obviously a crowd favorite, but the game also includes several other modes perfect for delivering pigskin pain. Tell us a little about the new modes for single-player as well as co-op.
Yuri Bialoskursky: The new NFL Blitz is chock full of exciting plays, but we’ve also got a bunch of cool new modes as well. Blitz Gauntlet is our single-player experience that lets you compete against the top teams in the NFL on your way to three different boss fights. Boss fights take place in the Blitz Coliseum and require you to take down a team of fantasy characters in order to unlock them for use in all of our other modes. The Gauntlet can be tough though, so if things start to get a bit tricky and you feel like you need a hand, don’t hesitate to have a friend join you in the fight so you can take down those bosses cooperatively.
The game features star players from all 32 NFL teams, but Elite League lets you unlock full teams via an in-game card system. How does Elite League work exactly? What sorts of power ups are available, and how are they unlocked?
YB: Elite League allows you to purchase card packs with the Blitz Bucks you earn while playing online games. Card packs contain a combination of NFL players and power ups that you can then customize your lineup with. Your lineup consists of players on Offense and Defense as well as power ups that can be equipped to change the game in unique and entertaining ways. There are eight different power ups whose effects range from simply refilling your Turbo Bar to creating an Earthquake that shakes your opponents as you run right past them. The goal in Elite League is to collect entire teams of NFL players which then unlock powerful Pro and Ultimate players that will give you the competitive edge out on the field.
Playing online earns you in-game cash that you can then use to unlock more content. How do you earn Blitz Bucks, and what sorts of content will be available in the Blitz store? Will you be able to purchase Blitz Bucks with actually money?
YB: Blitz Bucks are earned whenever you play any online game. They’re awarded based on your performance, so the more stat categories that you beat your opponent in, the more bucks you’ll earn. Once you’ve saved up your Blitz Bucks, you can then take them to the Blitz Store and spend them on a bunch of cool items for use in all our different online modes. You can buy new team logos and banners for your Blitz Team or more card packs full of players for your Elite League team. Take your online gameplay and give it a fun twist by purchasing the cheat codes for over 100 different cheats and fantasy characters. You can also get a glimpse behind the scenes and unlock concept art or even extra images of cheerleaders for your loading screens.