If you’re a fan of the NFL, then you’re probably familiar with EA’s Madden series, which has been the only game in town for what feels like forever. Sadly, EA’s series has skipped the Switch entirely, which means unless you have a PS4 or Xbox One, you’re missing out on all that lovely gridiron action.
It wasn’t always that way, though. Back in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, there were several challengers which all benefitted from the official NFL licence, and that meant a lot more variety across all hardware platforms.
One of those franchises was the superb NFL 2K series, which began life on the Sega Dreamcast. It lasted until ESPN NFL 2K5 in 2004, after which point EA locked down the NFL licence in a deal with prevented any other company from using it – which is why we’re at the point we are now, with no real rival to the Madden series (original NFL 2K developer Visual Concepts would make a short-lived return to the arena with All-Pro Football 2K8, but it could only use retired players and fictional teams).
Things are about to change, however. 2K Sports has announced that it has inked a new multi-year deal with the NFL that will allow it to produce “multiple future video games” based on the sport, all backed by the official NFL licence.
Before you get too excited, however, it’s worth noting that the deal only covers “non-simulation football game experiences”, which means that a NFL 2K revival isn’t on the cards. Instead, ”multiple video games centered on fun, approachable and social experiences” are the order of the day, hinting that we could see arcade-style titles like NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 or NFL Blitz. Given the casual, light-hearted nature of these games – and 2K’s historic support of the console – you’d have to imagine that they’re coming to Switch.
The games aren’t expected until 2021, and 2K Sports hasn’t stated which of its internal studios will be working on them. Visual Concepts currently oversees the NBA 2K franchise, and recently took on the WWE licence, with disastrous results.