Sega Sports is certainly going for it in both the figurative and practical sense. Beholden of new ass-kicking hardware, the once-mighty gaming giant is planning to cover every base possible when the system launches this fall, and sports will be one of the most comprehensively covered genres. Developed by recently acquired developers Visual Concepts, NFL 2000 (still a working title) is looking and playing great at only 60% complete. As anyone familiar with a football game would expect, the control and feel of the game are superb, easily crushing the static play of games like Madden 99 for the PlayStation and QBC 99 for the N64. For once, possibly the first time since the original Tecmo Bowl, you actually can feel like you're catching a pass or finding the hole in the defense during a running play.
Helping matters are the numerous features found in NFL 2000.1,500-1,600 motion-captured animations have been implemented, with mo-caps being performed by both professional stunt-men and actual NFL players from the Seahawks, the 49er's, the Chiefs and the Bears. There were also a number of two-player simultaneous mo-caps taken for more realistic animations like wrap-around tackles.
All 31 NFL stadiums are in the game, including the new stadium being built for the Cleveland Browns. Since the gameplay is quite accomplished at the moment, VC has been able to concentrate on making the game as realistic as possible, with things like crowd populations being influenced by actual NFL attendance data. The crowd appearance will also be affected by weather conditions, where a rainy game will showcase the bleachers filled with poncho-wearing attendees.
Other features include realistic injuries that could sideline a player for one quarter of a game or a whole season. There is a three-member play-by-play team for comprehensive play coverage, while a fourth spokesman fills in as the studio host. There will be a heavy-duty stat-tracking engine which will keep track of the most minute details. An extensive create-a-player mode will be included so you can play yourself in the game as well. Unlike the usual Madden-esque mini-boxes that showcase the playbook, the plays in NFL 2000 fill the entire screen, so you can get a really good idea of how your choice will play out.
Right now the front-end menus are inconveniently arranged, but we've been assured that this will be taken care of. Also, the much-vaunted use of the VMU and its role in the game are undecided as of this moment but is expected to be sorted out in time for its September release. Right now, the NFL 2000 team is concentrating on bringing out the best football game on the market, and from the evidence at hand, they just might do that. It looks like Sega's sport-centric plan might be a worthy endeavor after all. Guaranteed to sell systems.
Download NFL 2000
Forget everything you know about awesome gridiron graphics! Segas blowing up the field with potentially one of the best-looking football games ever. NFL 2000 looks so realistic and has such sharp TV-style presentations that many people at the show thought they were watching video highlights from an actual game. The gameplay was still unpolished, but showed promise with some very supportive menus, on-field decision making, and helpful practice modes. NFL 2000 will be one to watch.
While the days of Sega's NFL series on the Saturn were rocky at best, NFL 2000 looks likes it's fired up to kick off with the kind of graphical glory console gamers aren't used to seeing. Jaw-dropping levels of detail and fluidity make the players look remarkably lifelike, even down to nuances like their breath fogging on cold days.
Dreamcast football looks like it'll deliver more than just eye-candy, though. NFL 2000 lets you call plays on the Dreamcast controller's Virtual Memory System, preventing cheesy opponents from snooping on your calls. Along with standards like all the pro teams and players, gamers will also find a play editor (for creating and saving custom plays), a fantasy draft, trades, and the ability to create custom teams.
Finally, tackling utilizes a 3D collision model, which means that instead of just hitting the dirt the same way no matter how they're hit, players will get clobbered in a way that directly reflects the force and direction of your tackle. If NFL 2000 plays as well as it already looks and sounds, football fiends will be foaming at the face-mask for this tide.