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Coaching/general manager simulator Quick Hit Football will have five active NFL players in the game, in addition to five coaches. But wait, doesn't EA have the exclusive rights to make NFL games locked up until 2013? Blend Games got ahold of Quick Hit founder Jeff Anderson, who explained it to us.
Can you outline what role these NFL players and coaches play within the context of the game? Are they essentially A.I. opponents?
Sure. The Starters will be featured on AI teams of the legendary NFL Coaches in the game. So, for example, when you start a single player game and choose to play against Coach Billick’s team, you can expect to see the incomparable Ray Lewis on his roster. Similarly, you will see the rest of the Starters on one of the other four Coach teams of Cowher, Johnson, Reeves and Landry.
I think it’s important to share why we chose the players we did. We wanted to assemble a line-up of ‘core’ players – the offensive and defensive playmakers that really are the hub of a team. We decided that those positions for us, similar to fantasy football, were a quarterback, running back, receiver, linebacker and defensive end. From there, we wanted to create a cross-section of veteran stars and emerging talent from teams across the country, so we ultimately selected; Matt Cassel, QB for the Kansas City Chiefs, Brian Westbrook, RB for the Philadelphia Eagles, Jason Witten, TE for the Dallas Cowboys, Ray Lewis, LB for the Baltimore Ravens and Osi Umenyiora, DE for the New York Giants.
EA has the exclusive rights to produce games based on NFL players and teams. The coaches you've signed for Quick Hit are no longer in the NFL so I assume that EA's license doesn't apply to them. How are you able to have five active NFL players in your game, though?
Well, you would need to ask the NFLPA or EA about that for specifics, but there is a reason we only have five current players in the game and not fifty or a hundred. There are restrictions around how many players can be used before you violate the license.
Are you looking to license additional NFL players/coaches in the future?
For the 2009 season – these NFL players are our Starters and we won’t be adding other current stars, but given the coaching nature of Quick Hit Football, we’ll definitely be looking to add more legendary coaches to the line-up in the near future.
2K Sports attempted to circumvent EA's exclusivity by releasing a football game starring retired greats (All-Pro Football 2K8). Did you ever consider using a similar tactic with Quick Hit?
That’s a great question and very insightful. Yes, we definitely considered this tactic and actually feel there is a lot of value in many of the retired players, who made incredible contributions to the sport, but don’t currently have a ‘home’ in a video game. So, stay tuned for more announcements from us on this front.
Are there other ways in which you're trying to integrate the NFL into Quick Hit?
I don’t think we’re trying to be the NFL or replicate Madden, so in that sense, the NFL elements are not our core focus. However, we are striving to create an authentic and compelling football game for our fans and in that regard, we feel having professional players and coaches help add to the authenticity.
Our goal is really on having users build and customize their own team of players and coach them to victory. Quick Hit Football is a persistent game where users earn fantasy points in every game they play, helping turn their rookies into Pros like Jason Witten or Brian Westbrook. So, while we want to add some ‘professional’ components to the game, the true challenge and fun of Quick Hit Football is building your own dynasty!
We’ll always been looking for ways to improve the game, from an NFL standpoint and otherwise. That’s part of the beauty in being an online product. We can consider feedback from the community and implement those ideas a lot more quickly than if we were a boxed product with an annual ship date.
We’re really excited about the game’s launch this fall! Anyone who is interested in getting a beta key should sign up now at www.quickhit.com.
If you're unfamiliar with Quick Hit Football, read Blend Games' interview with director of design Brandon Justice from May.