It seems the year-old speculation has come to fruition as 2K Sports is looking to pull the pigskin out from its temporary retirement.
Roughly three years following the infamous Electronic Arts video game exclusivity deal with the National Football League, the company, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., has announced it is back in the game with All-Pro Football 2K8.
While the Madden series has enjoyed being the only NFL game in town with a 10-year deal, it hasn’t stopped other football publishers from thinking outside the box. Midway’s Blitz: The League carried on with the series and takes players inside a fictional, more brutal reflection of the professional sport.
Much of the officially titled All-Pro Football 2K8’s speculation centers around the possibility the game will feature classic football players no longer active in the NFL (much like how Lawrence Taylor and Bill Romanowski are featured in The League).
The only definite details on the new title right now stem from the company’s claims of bringing the “legendary game play, innovative features and outstanding visual quality sports gamers have come to expect from 2K Sports.”
“Football gamers have been awaiting the return of the 2K series,” said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “All-Pro Football 2K8 will deliver an authentic next-generation gridiron experience and we are happy to give fans another choice in the football category.”
Currently, the company is only stating the game will be available on “next-generation video game systems.” This would seem to indicate Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions are a shoe-in to receive the company’s comeback effort with possibilities for the Nintendo Wii and portables, but we’ll have to await official word to know for sure.
Visual Concepts’ 2K series as we know it launched as a staple franchise on the Sega Dreamcast during its Sept. 9, 1999 launch in the United States with NFL 2K. The game enjoyed three iterations up to NFL 2K2 until Sega’s decision to develop as a third party publisher. NFL 2K3 entered in on the Xbox, Playstation 2 and GameCube and the company pushed forward with 2K4 and 2K5 titles for the Xbox and PS2 until EA snagged its exclusivity deal.
At this time, All-Pro Football 2K8 is scheduled for a summer release.
Blogcritics will report more on the series as information becomes available.