March Madness 08 release date move and reaction to the demo

Posted November 20th, 2007 at 4:00 pm


March Madness 08 will officially hit stores on Tuesday December 11th. Previously there had been some confusion over the date as it had originally been advertised as arriving a week later on 12/18 but recent mentions in producer blogs have stated 12/11. Now retailers have adjusted the release to the 11th and it appears to have settled there for good. As I reported earlier the game will also have a reduced price of $50.

The demo that came out a few days ago has brought about a lot of criticism, mainly due to the slow game speed, but it appears that the MM08 team took that feedback and acted on it despite how near we are to release. I received the following response from EA:

Just to let you know, we tweaked the game speed and fast breaks for the retail version of NCAA MM 08. The game still won’t be run ‘n gun though. We want to emphasize half-court play this year and we think that most hardcore guys can appreciate that considering their past experiences with basketball videogames.

My initial feeling was they were setting everyone up for the shock of how slow the game’s pace would be and I still think that is the case. I don’t expect any major differences between the demo and the release copies although hearing they did make slight adjustments is certainly encouraging.

I think it is a curious decision to go that direction as College Hoops 2K8 has a pretty strong hold on the hardcore crowd along with it releasing three weeks earlier. It seems to me that EA may be alienating those who have enjoyed the title in the past. March Madness 07 had its share of issues but it was a fun game. MM08 seems to have made many technical enhancements however the fun factor may have been sacrificed in the process.

I can respect the goal of making the game more realistic and more of a simulation representative of college basketball even if that isn’t my preference. It’ll be interesting to see how the game is received since expectations have dropped. If it has improved since the build that was used for the demo then MM08 could actually be in a position to surprise a lot of people including myself.