July 31, 2008

Pre-Season Launch of 20th Anniversary Madden NFL “˜09 Set For August

Football fans won't have to wait until the official season kickoff on September 4th  to get a fix of NFL action.  Electronic Arts Sports' 20th Anniversary "Madden NFL 09" game will be released in August, with quarterback Brett Favre in Green Bay Packers' colors on the cover.

"Madden NFL 09: 20th Anniversary Special Collector's Edition" will include full versions of the new "Madden" game, the new "NFL Head Coach 09" strategy game and bonus video content.

"The launch of this year's title is of a magnitude that only the Rose Bowl can accommodate," EA Sports president Peter Moore told Reuters.

"Maddenpalooza, a games and music festival, will take place on August 11th in Pasadena, and approximately 10,000 fans are expected at the stadium to get their hands on the game and hear bands like Good Charlotte play."

The "Madden" franchise has been North America's top-selling sports franchise for six years, and has sold over 70 million units worldwide since its inception. The "˜09 version includes more than 85 new features, the most ever in a single year.

"It seems like every year Madden gets more and more realistic," Miami Dolphin Jake Long told Reuters.

"When I watch someone playing 'Madden,' it's like I'm watching a real NFL game. The guys look so realistic and the features keep getting better."

The simulations have become so life-like on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles that some NFL players can actually use "Madden" as part of their preparation for the real game, according to Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

"Madden does give you a feel for who some of the good players are," Ryan said.

"The ratings and the rankings are pretty accurate. You may know from playing Madden that I need to watch out for that guy."

NFL players typically pick up a copy of the game each year to see the player ratings.

College players use the game to maintain a competitive edge, although due to NCAA restrictions they won't see their names or likenesses in "NCAA Football 09".

"I know with Tennessee last year I'd actually play the video game before going to the field," Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Deshaun Jackson told Reuters.

"It's good to be able to know the players you're going to be playing against. Playing the video game was part of my preparation."

Tony Dungy, head coach for Indianapolis Colts who led his team to the 2007 Super Bowl Championship, said the flagship "NFL Head Coach 09" game will likely appeal to arm-chair quarterbacks who play fantasy football.

"They're going to really have fun with this game because they're going to be able to explore the ins and outs and the behind-the-scenes stuff," he said.

EA Sports has made sure that fans who purchase all versions of the new games can interact across the titles.  For example, college game players can be imported to the NFL game, and EA Sports Fantasy Football gamers can download their rosters into "Madden" to play with that team.

For players looking for a more mature-rated football experience, Midway Games "Blitz: The League II" explores the rougher side of the sport.   The title, an arcade-style game featuring former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor, is without an NFL license, something EA Sports has exclusively through 2012.


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