I had a lot of Erin Andrews in my life over the weekend. Not because I wanted to simply ogle the ESPN sports reporter some have dubbed the “Sideline Princess,” but because she’s a central part of one of the game’s more intriguing features — the Road to Glory. It’s a takeoff of last year’s Road to the Heisman and the college football franchise’s long-standing equivalent to Madden’s career / superstar mode.
The premise is that EA (the woman, not the company) has picked you to be part of her special series, which aims to follow the path of a student-athlete and his accomplishments from his last days of high school to the time he leaves college. It has a kind of Hoop Dreams sentiment to it, but with more flashing lights and graphics. You obviously have to suspend reality a bit here, since we’re talking about four to five years of work, and this is the kind of stuff that usually shows up in dramatic documentary form after the fact. Also, a lot can happen in that time: What if you stink up the joint and never start a game in your life? Hell, what happens if you’re completely average? In the real world, you probably wouldn’t be worth a story.
At some point, I want to see how Road to Glory handles a clearly unglorious prospect. Perhaps one day we’ll see a concept of building a player in college who is “followed” by Andrews or any other sports reporters from the first time he steps on the field (NCAA Football) to the day he retires from the NFL (Madden), culminating in some sort of retrospective report. It adds a bit of role-playing, something I think can be undervalued in the world of sports games. Imagine having your path from college walk-on to NFL superstar chronicled in a larger scale sports fantasy series. Just a thought.
Anyway, the following are some random musings from a weekend with EA: