Road to Sunday Interview

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posted 6/30/2005 by The GN Staff
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With Electronic Arts acquiring the exclusive rights to develop NFL football games last year, companies that once produced NFL based football games where forced to either abandon developing football games or find a new way to package their football title. 989 sports has gone the latter route with their new game Road to Sunday. We were fortunate enough to get some of Craig Ostrander’s time and he answered some of our questions about the upcoming game.

GamingNexus: Can you introduce yourself and describe what role you played in the development of the game?
My name is Craig Ostrander, the Senior Designer on Road to Sunday. I work closely with our Design team and Production staff on the design of the game.

GamingNexus: How did the concept of this hybrid game come about?
Craig Ostrander: Well, it’s like this… we are dedicated to producing the most technologically superior and realistic sports titles available and we are continuing to redefine the entertainment lifestyle by producing authentic and immersive sports titles for the PlayStation 2 and PSP across an array of sports.

And honestly, we just took a step to the side in order to see outside the box… and then we decided to rewind and take a look back at all the fun gameplay experiences we’ve had over the years, which included all types of genres. Then we said wouldn’t it be cool if you could do this, and this, and this and so on… This really delivered on our strategic objective, which was to deliver a unique gameplay experience.

GamingNexus: Would you have considered doing this type of game if there wasn't an NFL exclusive license with EA?
Craig Ostrander: SCEA has always championed competition and diversity on our platforms. We were surprised and dismayed by the NFL and NFL Players Inc's decision and the long-term implications of that decision for console platforms. We believe that healthy competition leads to better games and ultimately better choices for our consumer base.

That being said, football is an exciting sport, with many varied characteristics… and without the constraints of an NFL license we’ve had the creative freedom to make some decisions that put the gameplay experience #1… Ultimately, decisions that were/are in the best interest of making the game fun to play for both football fans and gamers alike.

With Road To Sunday, we've focused on capturing the depth of the game of football, but have also added in an off-the-field aspect of the game to give gamers something new and fresh.

If you look at the football category, the gameplay really hasn’t progressed as much as I would have liked see it… and it seems that recently, football sims that have been successful, well, they don’t seem to take many risks, innovate or make any jaw dropping advances. One school of thought is that if it’s not broke don’t fix it -- but that type of thinking leads to complacency and is not conducive to innovation or creation. Road to Sunday blazes new trails by combining some really fun styles of gameplay (Football, Fighting, Player Development and Betting) and we tie them all together to deliver a new and fun gameplay experience -- ultimately we are introducing an all-new genre in video gaming -- sports entertainment action.
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