NFL Blitz Interview
NFL Blitz is now available on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, and if you can’t tell by our review already, it’s a wonderful return to the old-school, over-the-top football that Midway worked on so long ago. EA Sports really nailed it down, and to get further inside the mindset of what the development team was going through, we chatted with producer David Ross and designer Yuri Bialoskursky to see what went into the making of the game. Time to get some hard-hitting answers…
GameZone: How much did you study the older Midway games before you started development on Blitz? Were there things that really stood out from the classic game for you?
Ross and Bialoskursky: We have an original NFL Blitz arcade machine in the office and we are familiar with the older console version of NFL Blitz as well. Even though most of our team are fans of NFL Blitz, we held tournaments so that people could revive their knowledge of the game and we could bring to life in our game many of the fun moments we experienced with the original game.
GZ: How closely did you work with the NFL on the project? Were they limiting when it came to some of the brutal hits in the game? (We noticed that the leg drops aren't in this version, heh.)
R&B: As with any NFL licensed game, we worked closely with our partners, and they were always very supportive of our effort. As a result, NFL Blitz still offers big hits and fast-paced action found in the original arcade classic, along with a rule set that calls for 1st & 30, no penalties, and guys catching on fire. The one area where the NFL found objection was in regard to late hits. With their emphasis on player health and safety, the NFL asked us to remove the late hit feature from our game.
GZ: Are there any new features that fans of the original game will love?
R&B: We offer a robust online feature set that will allow players to play head-to-head or as teams against other online opponents.
GZ: Tell us about the fantasy teams that are included in the game. Are there really zombies?
R&B: We offer 12 unlockable fantasy characters in the game which can be played as teams. Zombies, Gladiators, Ninjas, Clowns, and Hot Dog men are a few of them.
GZ: It's good to hear announcer Tim Kitzrow back in the driver's seat for commentary with NFL Blitz. How psyched was he to be involved with the project?
R&B: Tim was very happy to be included in the project. For our project, Tim Kitzrow provides the play-by-play while his partner in the booth is played by Brian Haley. Brian is a comedian and actor and is a friend of Tim's. Both of them wrote the commentary and then performed the lines they wrote.
GZ: Have any actual NFL players given feedback on Blitz as of yet? Obviously they probably aren't too concerned with stats with this one, right?
R&B: NFL Blitz is less about stats and more about frantic, fast-paced fun. Therefore, players who are familiar with the franchise are looking forward to seeing themselves "on fire" more than they're concerned about speed or power ratings.
GZ: How many players can take part in an online gaming session? Are there any league options available or upcoming tournaments for the wild card weekend?
R&B: Up to 4 players can play together in an online session. Right now there are plenty of players online that will give gamers a chance to test their skills online.
GZ: Finally, could you see more possible arcade revivals down the road?
R&B: We have enjoyed making this game and are pleased with the fan reception to our game so far. Concerning other revivals, you never know. ;0
Check out NFL Blitz now on Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network.