Are Microsoft and 2K Collaborating on a Competitor to Madden NFL?

Microsoft publishing Joe Montana NFL Football 16?

For football fans, the video game landscape has long been dominated by the Madden NFL franchise — but that wasn't always the case. Over the years, titles ranging from the classic Tecmo Bowl to the NFL 2K series have demonstrated that other studios can produce a game that's just as good as EA's offerings, and in some cases even better.

However, the grip that Madden has on the genre has seemed particularly tight as of late. With a strong entry in the series hitting shelves last year, and no major competitors stepping up to rival the series, it seemed that it might continue to dominate virtual football for some time to come. Now, leaked information suggests that Microsoft has its own plans for the genre.

Back in October, hall of fame quarterback Joe Montana teased motion capture footage for what seemed like a new video game project via his official Twitter account. Paired with the hashtag #morethanarosterupdate, it seemed obvious that the project was intended as a rival to the Madden NFL series.

Now, an anonymous poster on popular sports gaming forum Operation Sports has leaked details on exactly what this project is. While this information has not yet been confirmed, it all seems rather plausible — but the lack of any concrete source means that it can't be taken for fact until we hear further confirmation.

The leaker claims that the game is entitled Joe Montana NFL Football 16, and will release around July of this year for Xbox One and Windows 10. Apparently, it's intended to be used as part of a major part of the Xbox and Windows 10 integration that Microsoft announced earlier this year.

A still from motion capture work reportedly done for the game.
A still from motion capture work reportedly done for the game.

The reason that other developers haven't attempted to make a play for the Madden audience is that the NFL license carries some very specific constraints regarding console exclusivity. While EA holds the rights to NFL video games that release across multiple systems, Microsoft are quite welcome to make a title that's exclusive to their console.

Many Xbox fans were confused by the amount of coverage the NFL received in early marketing for the Xbox One, but this news potentially explains that choice. Microsoft presumably have been courting the league for some time in an attempt to secure the rights for this game, convincing them that the NFL has a sizable enough audience of Xbox players.

If it's true, the results of this cloak-and-dagger development could be a game that offers players the Madden alternative they have been wanting for years. The NFL 2K series is often remembered as one of the best sports franchises ever, and with 2K developers and technology reportedly involved in this game, it could be the follow-up fans have been waiting for.

However, it has to be said that the proposed Joe Montana NFL Football 16 does sound a little too good to be true; it's an Xbox One exclusive that apparently blows the gameplay and graphics of Madden out of the water and is set to be released in four months time. It's perhaps best to take this news with a grain of salt — but we'll keep you posted on all the latest developments as we receive them.

Source: Free on Smash

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