Create-A-Team

Create-A-Team seemed to be standard just a few years ago. Now it’s appears to be vanishing.  The “next gen” consoles are here, but the ability to dream up the team you always wanted, is gone, left at the exit of the now “last gen” of PS3 and Xbox 360.

The ability to create a team with city names, nickname, jerseys, logos, colors, stadium, rosters, and the works expands a game reach immensely. To date, the widely recognized best team creator came from EA’s NCAA football series which as been discontinued. Other games had varying degrees of creative flexibility but  are for the most part, gone.

NBA 2K14 has amazing on court graphics especially on the newest consoles. What it doesn’t have is the ability to create a team. That feature is absent from the PS4 and Xbox One, while still in the legacy version available on last gen.

Madden NFL said goodbye to create-a-team with Madden 13.  Some have said that at the point in the series, it wasn’t worthwhile due to years of neglect. Some remnants still survive in franchise owner mode which allows you to move your franchise to a new city from a limited selection, and then rename your team from three choices. Not exactly a lot of wiggle room

MLB 14 the Show, does have create-a-team! Sadly it is mostly wasted by only being able to be used in Diamond Dynasty mode that uses player cards (similar to NHL’s EASHL, and NBA’s MYTEAM). The lack of availability in exhibition, or normal franchise really is a downer with the number of real teams that could be created.

EA has yet to release their NHL franchise for the newest generation of consoles and could have create-a-team as the last gen games did. However the game has been announced, with several features listed and the ability to create a team has yet to be announced.

Hopefully this trend can be reversed and the ability to make any team that one could imagine returns.

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Competition.

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Competition is key. When businesses are forced to compete the consumer wins. In the case of video games publishers, gamers win. In the current state of sports games, each sport has a publisher who some see as monopolizing. And yes, it is bad as the friendship ruining, board game. For many sports, there is a single publisher who creates games for that sport. This leads to weaker games with no reason to improve because of lack of competition.

Madden is the only gridiron football series, MLB the Show for baseball, and EA’s NHL for hockey fans. In each case, 2K Sports ended the production of their franchise for various reason. In the case of football, the lack of available licensing for sports governing body and player’s union killed what some thought was the better franchise. In other cases, it was the smaller market share in the already small market that ended the run. But even in sports where multiple games franchises exist, one game is reconized as superior.

NBA 2K14 is miles ahead of its new this year competitor NBA Live, and in soccer’s FIFA series reigns supreme on the pitch against Konami’s PES. The newest generation of consoles that includes the Playstation 4, and Xbox One has seven sports series across the five sports series.

The Playstation 2 era had at least 18 franchises across the same five sports (not included college level or arcade games). What we need is more competition. Then we can all celebrate.

Features that we the gamer want in our sports titles.