The return of EA Sports’ college football video game series now has an arrival time – the summer of 2024.
EA Sports vice president and general manager Daryl Holt told ESPN in an interview that the brand will be launching EA Sports college football at that point as the company is developing the game from the ground up.
For them, it’s not about rushing to market, it’s about making sure the first edition of what they want as an annual title is up to standard.
“This is the best date for us to release the game that we believe will meet or exceed our players’ expectations,” Holt said. “And cover the breadth and scale of what we want in the game. We’re trying to build a very immersive college football experience.”
Holt said that rumors of possible earlier release dates are conjecture and the game has not been postponed or rescheduled. He said they wanted to dig a lot into the game and had to start everything from scratch.
Part of that, Holt said, is finding a way to use real college football players in the game — something Holt said is their intention. This is a change since the brand announced the game was returning in February 2021, and the inner workings of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) in the collegiate athletics landscape were still being worked out. Back then there were even more unknowns about NIL.
NIL is now a part of collegiate athletics life, which has opened up opportunities for true collegiate players to participate in the game, although it’s unclear how the structure to allow this will happen. An EA source told ESPN that players will be compensated if they are in the game.
“If you look back to where we spoke in 2021, that road was blocked,” Holt said. “I think I even said something about the fact that we were just like every other passenger on this trip.
“Well, the road is open now, but it’s still under construction.”
Holt said there are still issues they are working on to secure college football players for use in the game, but “our intention is to work towards that and find a meaningful way to get them involved in the game.”
The same applies to schools in the game. EA Sports has partnered with CLC to secure the rights to FBS schools, uniforms, stadiums and other college football traditions and will have at least 120 schools in the game.
Holt said they’ve “signed up a multitude of FBS schools,” although he wouldn’t say which of the 131 FBS schools haven’t signed up yet. Holt wouldn’t say if Notre Dame, which announced shortly after the February 2021 announcement, that it would not sign up for the game unless players benefited from the use of their name, likeness, and likeness, signed up. He also didn’t say what would happen if an FBS school decided not to participate in the game.
The game has secured rights to all 10 FBS conferences and the College Football Playoffs.
“We expect more to come, but we can only commit to what’s in the funnel right now,” Holt said. “And we will have more information to share as we move along this evolving landscape.” But we will involve as many schools as possible in the game.”
Holt also declined to say if FCS schools and HBCUs will be involved, other than saying the game will be “an ever-evolving experience.”
When a school makes a commitment, Holt said, they work to ensure that as many traditions and unique experiences for each school, from stadiums to uniforms, are accurately considered.
The game will include the return of Dynasty mode, where you can control a school through multiple seasons, including recruitment and the transfer portal, and Road to Glory, where you create a player and guide that player through the college football process be able.
Holt declined to elaborate on features that both modes might have, but stressed that Dynasty mode is a priority for the developers.
“The dynasty was on everyone’s lips, at the top of everyone’s list,” Holt said. “That was something I think we’re passionate about focusing on and making sure we can do that as best we can for the first year, with still fundamental elements that we can build on as we move forward.”
The game is the first EA Sports-produced college football game since NCAA Football ’14 to feature former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson – who now serves as Michigan Football’s assistant director of player personnel – on the cover.