Electronic Arts has published and developed many great series over the years. But today, only a few mega series have truly lasted. Madden, FIFA, The Sims, and Battlefield represent a significant portion of their revenue. You can certainly argue Apex Legends has taken off, and that Star Wars: Battlefront has a core contingent too.
With these taking a large chunk of resources, other great series are stuck in the past. During isolation, I’ve had a lot of time to think about the old games I loved playing growing up. The following is a wish list of series that I would like to see EA develop or publish again soon.
I likely played hundreds of hours of NBA Street games in my youth. Published by the now defunct EA Sports BIG, the concept was simple, NBA players, street ball games, ankle-breaking moves, and high-flying dunks. The first game arrived around the time when Rucker Park and the And 1 clothing brand captured the world’s attention.
The games were a ton of fun, and I particularly loved NBA Street Vol. 2. It refined everything from the first game and added upgrades including new moves, courts, and unlockable NBA legends. The soundtrack was great, featuring a collection of hip-hop from popular artists.
The career mode of the game is called “Be A Legend.” Creating your own player and team, you start playing at a local rec center with limited skills. Work your way up the ranks by playing greater competition and earning reputation. You earn points to build your skills along the way too.
Real life street ball as imagined in NBA Street may not be as popular today as it was in the early 2000’s, but I believe there is still a market. There is more inside access to NBA players than ever, and events like the Vegas Summer League and Big 3 could be an interesting additions in 2020.
Maybe the longest lasting series on this list, Fight Night is an incredibly successful and entertaining boxing series from EA Sports. I’m sure most people reading this have played one of the five games at some point. But as boxing popularity declined and ultimate fighting rose, EA switched their focus.
Many fans still crave a great boxing game though. While UFC is the most recent trend, boxing has been around for decades and still has fans. The problem for boxing is superstar name recognition versus low-card boxers. Floyd Mayweather is one of the most popular athletes of the last 20 years, but a lot of people I know cannot name five other boxers. If anything, EA could help grow popularity of the sport for a new generation.
If you haven’t played the game, pick up a copy of either Fight Night Round 4 or Fight Night Champion. Round 4 is the most evolved version of the core game and one recommended for traditional boxing fans. Champion goes off script and tells the story of a fighter coming out of prison, earning the only Mature rating in EA’s history. Fight Night Champion is also the only backwards compatible version that works on Xbox One.
Whether you’re a boxing fan or not, I highly recommend the series if you’re a fan of well-made sports games.
Medal of Honor
The primarily World War II series has been dormant for a long time. Later titles in the series focused on modern warfare settings, but Call of Duty eventually dominated the market. The Battlefield games have filled some of this void for EA since, but Medal of Honor could return in a unique way.
What if EA kept Battlefield as it’s premier shooter game, vying with Call of Duty each year? Where would that leave Medal of Honor you ask? In a fairly untapped market: episodic entries of specific battles, events, and wars. I think if they really wanted they could run wild with the Korean or Vietnam War, as there are very few games depicting them.
I played several of the Medal of Honor games and always had a blast with them. The stories were always top-notch, which should be no surprise given the original series vision was partially inspired by the great Steven Spielberg. Before the multiplayer boom that came with Xbox Live and other services, great single player stories ruled the landscape.
There’s no reason that can’t continue today. And by offering an episodic approach, gamers could enjoy great stories and a low cost.
Developing the next installment of NCAA Football is not at matter of if, but when. With work in progress to allow NCAA athletes the ability to make money from their likeness, it’s only a matter of time until EA figures out a structure for it.
Perhaps more enjoyable than big brother Madden to some, this series lets you lead your alma mater or favorite team to a national championship. And honestly, who wouldn’t want to do that? I know that upon the next release of NCAA Football, Indiana will be winning their first championship since 2014, when the last game in the series was released.
There is quite a fan base of NCAA Football. The online community refuses to let it die, year after year. I applaud their dedication, keeping the game alive for so many people. I can’t wait until the powers that be figure out how to make this happen.
Another EA Sports BIG published title, SSX is a wildly addicting dive into the extreme sport of snowboarding. The game was rebooted as recently as 2012 on the last generation of consoles and still holds a high Metacritic rating.
While this latest game is backwards compatible on the Xbox One, I believe there’s an opportunity for EA to reinvent the series for a new generation of gamers. EA would have some steep competition (pun intended) if they decided to bring SSX back though. Steep, released in 2016, Ubisoft’s take on snowboarding was a hit.
But SSX certainly has name credibility, and can build upon its past success with new modes, updated graphics, and a meaningful career mode. One idea is to offer it as a free-to-play/micro-transaction game. By doing so they may find a niche of gamers willing to enjoy a free version and put a few bucks in here and there.
SSX is approaching ten years since it’s last release. The games were always exhilarating and certainly deserve further consideration.
Bonus Series: Harry Potter
EA published the original mainline Harry Potter games, which followed stories of each book and movie. The word on the street is a Harry Potter open world RPG is in the works. Though there’s been no official announcement. Warner Brothers Interactive is supposedly developing it, but only rumor can keep us going at this point.
The idea of an open-world RPG in the Harry Potter universe is highly intriguing for fans. The Lego Harry Potter games are certainly fun, but I’d like something with greater complexity and autonomy any day.
Here’s to hoping rumors become reality soon!
That wraps up the list of 5 series that EA should revitalize. Time will tell if any of these come back. Stay tuned to Generation Xbox for coverage of EA Play and much more from the world of Xbox.