Hot Topic 4/13: The Game Informer preview of All-Pro Football 2K8

Posted April 13th, 2007 at 2:42 am


The news coming out of the May edition of Game Informer magazine has caused a stir on sports gaming message boards over the last couple days. This is mainly due to an overwhelmingly negative reaction to both the content of the article and the tone in which it was presented.

  • Lack of customization

Many fans of the series were expecting 2K8 to have the ability to customize the game to their liking. This was practically confirmed in an interview with Gamespot when the game was originally announced at the end of January.

GS: A lot of people are curious as to the degree of customization there will be in the game. Is there anything you can tell me about that?

GT: I think that [last] gen games had a level of customization. I think the next-gen games now, people are really asking for a lot more customization as you get into much more detail, finer details, and that kind of thing. And so our goal is to really appeal to those next-gen consumers. And so the idea is, hey, we want to give our fans an experience–very much what they expect from us.

Yet in the Game Informer interview, Jeff Thomas of 2K states “I’ve decided long ago that we’re not doing that.” Well that is curious considering Greg Thomas’ comments only a few months prior.

Then you can add in stunts pulled by a moderator on the 2K forum that were never curtailed by the company, essentially sponsoring that foolishness. That only led to more belief that the game they were envisioning was on the way.

The effect this will have on how successful the game is arguable. On one hand, it will alienate some of the hardcore fans who were looking forward to replicating an NFL experience. At the very least the game could’ve offered the ability to customize team and player names. Even that would’ve satisfied most people, it didn’t have to get incredibly deep with offerings such as uniform, logo, or player appearance editing. On the other hand, that crowd would still be considered a minority of the consumers they are targeting. If that hardcore group was the majority, the game would never survive. There just aren’t enough of them to support a game on their own. So 2K had to do things to market the game to the more casual consumers. However that is no excuse for removing simple text editing, which in the end would’ve been purely optional. There was no downside to including it.

  • No Franchise mode

The reaction to finding out that there is no franchise mode was more on the side of disbelief from fans. How can the game go without a franchise mode? Franchise/dynasty is a staple of sports games today. For the offline-centric player that is where many spend the majority of their time in the games.

This is another hit to the same hardcore crowd that was rocked by the customization issue. After the months of 2K championing the fans who have kept the hope alive for a new game the past few years, claiming that they were the reason for the game being made in the first place, the first news that comes out includes insults and ripping the heart out of the type of game they were looking forward to. It’s certainly curious, definitely unexpected.

There likely will be some mode to replace Franchise. It would’ve been smart to reveal that now though. If you’re going to say that a mode that everyone would expect to be included will not be, the explanation needs to include what alternatives will be there in its place.

  • Heavy online concentration?

The article goes on to explain how online play will have expanded features beyond the usual ones people have come to expect. With the way the game seems to be shaping up, it almost comes across as if it were going to be an online only title. While it may not be that, it appears that online play will be a huge part of the title. Maybe something along the lines of offline play being centered around preparing and building your team for the online games.

While online play is a huge part of various communities, it still only represents a minority of gamers who utilize it. Most everyone would welcome new online features and play modes, however the game will struggle if it doesn’t have attractive offline modes as well.

  • Graphics & Player Models

The graphics certainly appear to be sub-par at this stage. They’ll likely improve leading up to the release, but they aren’t going to change drastically. What you have there is the base of what will be the end product. 2K’s graphics in their Next-Gen games have been disappointing with the exception of the latest release MLB 2K7.

The player models especially seem to be a problem. The players look like they have some sort of degenerative muscle disease. Overall they have a 2K5-like look to them which is disappointing because an improvement in this area realistically should’ve been expected.

The stadiums appear to be over-the-top and almost cartoony in nature. It may present a unique experience to play within and see at first, but it will probably turn others off as being corny.

  • People complaining that others are upset

Anyone who is upset by this article is justified. What is amusing is seeing those who try to defend the situation. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Many people are disappointed, so that opinion is going to come out now. Either deal with the current climate or stay away from the discussions.

  • It’s a trick!

Possibly the funniest thing I’ve read in a while comes from a 2K forum poster who believes that it’s possible 2K is putting out this information to throw EA off. That it would keep EA from stealing ideas, and that thinking 2K’s ship was sinking they would slack off. Um…ok.

Nothing either company does will affect the other this late into development! And no, 2K is not trying to achieve negativity around their title as a strategy.

  • “Play the game and shut up”

This quote from Jeff Thomas caught everyone off guard. How do you go and say that to your fans? As I stated in an earlier article, no one can actually play the game because it hasn’t been released. All anyone can do is discuss it prior to release. Telling your fans to shut up is not a smart thing to do, especially when it’s directed at the same people who apparently the game is meant for and who were stated to have been responsible for the company making the decision to go foward with the game.

  • Double Standard

Imagine if that quote was attributed to EA Sports. It’s impossible to fully realize the magnitude of what that quote would mean across the internet. Yet here we have some trying to justify the quote, others saying it doesn’t matter, while some did take offense to it.

Then you have expected features/modes not being included. EA was grilled for this when they jumped into Next-Gen with titles such as Madden, Tiger Woods, and NBA Live being short on them. That was with short development time. 2K has had much more time to work on this game, so that should not be any sort of excuse.

It’s simply amusing to see the double standard and hypocritical nature of some of the fans who devote themselves to one game or one company. It goes both ways, but we’re seeing it from the side that likes to consider themselves as being above the other.

Ignoring the good things

For those who enjoy reading up on gameplay improvements, the article had some good details on them. However those aren’t going to sell the game. Without the proper framework in place to make an attractive package it won’t matter. If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound? If a game has great gameplay but no one plays it, is it really great?

-Clearly there is a long way to go before the final state of the game is fully realized. However for a title that is looking for all the good attention it can get considering the circumstances, this has to be the worst initial promotion in recent memory.

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