What just happened? EA Sports' next college football game – and its first since 2013 – is slated to arrive in the summer of 2024. Daryl Holt, VP and GM of EA Sports, told ESPN that is the best date for them to deliver a game that will meet or exceed player expectations. Holt noted that previously rumored release dates were inaccurate and the game had not been delayed.
"We're trying to build a very immersive college football experience," the executive added.
EA Sports announced it was working on a new college football game in early 2021. At the time, EA said it had acquired the rights to more than 100 colleges to feature their logos, stadiums and unique traditions fans know and love. Student-athlete names, images and likenesses were not part of the original deal, meaning the game would not feature the players you see take the field each week.
NCAA rules involving player compensation have changed dramatically since then, as athletes are now allowed to be compensated for the use of their name, image and likeness (NIL). This could pave the way for EA Sports to include real players in its upcoming game but it is unclear how the system will be structured or if EA will be able to sign deals with complete rosters.
"If you look back on where we were talking in 2021, that road was blocked," Holt said. "I think I even said something to the fact that we were passengers on this journey, just like anyone else.
"Well, the road's open now, but it's still under construction."
We do know that the game will include the return of two popular modes: dynasty and road to glory. In dynasty mode, players will manage a college through multiple seasons and even get involved in off-the-field activities like recruiting and working the transfer portal. Road to glory allows users to create a player and follow them through the entire college football process.
The last college football game from EA Sports was NCAA Football 14, which featured Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson on the cover. EA canceled the next scheduled game in the series due to a licensing dispute with the NCAA involving player compensation and hasn't put out a new college football game since.
Image credit: Ole Miss Athletics, ESPN