Bill Harris' Dubious Quality pointed me to a pretty interesting entry on EA's official sports blog from Ian Cummings, the lead designer of Madden NFL 10.
Normally, sports stuff kind of crosses our desk without any of us giving it a first thought, let alone a second thought. But I guess I've always been fascinated by the business and the process behind running an annual franchise like Madden NFL. While things in the football arena have become a lot less interesting since EA bought up the exclusive rights to football and sent Visual Concepts off to focus on basketball, I still occasionally wonder how the teams working on sports games manage to get anything meaningful done in the year or so that they have to produce a new game. Listening to sports fans gripe about it makes it sound like at least one or two heinously unrealistic things get carried forward from year to year.
Well, this blog post makes it sound like the team at Tiburon is going to remove a lot of the weird little animation quirks and other quick-fixes that have apparently been building up over the years. Cummings discusses the domino effect that happens when something as simple as, say, the speed of a quarterback's passes are off. The size of the overall impact on the game may surprise you.
If you're interested in the process of developing a game and how small decisions can lead to a huge impact in how a game feels, you'll probably find the entire post pretty interesting, even if you don't really care about football. Check it out.