I spend a great deal of time and energy trying to convince British friends to give American sports a chance, which makes it extremely annoying when only one team shows up for the year’s biggest NFL game. To be fair to the Denver Broncos, they did join the Seahawks in New Jersey last night but had shot themselves in the foot within 12 seconds and spent the remainder of the Super Bowl rolling around on the floor clutching the wound. No matter though – unless you’re a Broncos fan, in which case ‘ouch’ – because something of potentially great significance is happening in the world of American Football. The peerless OOTP Developments are working on Beyond the Sideline, a sim of the cowhide-kickin’ sport, and it sounds marvellous.
OOTP are the creators of the most complex and customisable sports management sims on the market, in the form of the Out Of The Park Baseball series. Capable of consuming lives, the games simulate the entire history of the game since the formation of the earliest leagues and can also be used to create globe-spanning fictional leagues that transform dynamically over the decades.
Combine that pedigree with a release in the under-nourished PC American Football market and my attention is secured. Beyond the Sideline’s lead developer is one Francis Cole, who previously worked on the Football Manager series, and the game promises much of the customisation and depth that makes Out Of The Park such a pleasure.
Behold, a feature list:
A realistic modern day American football experience with all current rules and regulations.
All 32 real American football teams with their real players and current rosters.
A realistic 2D game engine that represents all the action on the field, with the ability to call plays and watch them unfold, complete with the roar of the crowd and other sound effects.
You dictate the action on the field: Set depth charts and develop strategies around your preferred style of play.
FaceGen support allows realistic images of all players.
A complete box score for every game played in the league during its history, so you can always look back on thrilling victories and agonizing defeats.
The ability to sim decades into the future and watch teams’ fortunes rise and fall as dynasties emerge, crumble, and eventually renew themselves.
You call the shots from the front office: Participate in the draft for your team every spring; trade players; and negotiate contracts with draft picks and free agents.
All of the (non-playable) Division I colleges as well as many more, with real players, so you can draft the next crop of superstars every year.
A living, breathing world full of news articles from around the league and a message system that lets you field offers from other GMs and hear what your players have to say.
Complete histories, including stats, transactions, injuries, and contracts, for all players who have participated in a training camp during the past decade.
Nearly 50 tracked stats, allowing you to go beyond the usual numbers and dig deep into players’ performance.
Each player features a Health Scan that lets you quickly assess their current situation by showing you which areas of their body are hurt, which areas are okay, and which ones are worn.
Customization options, including the ability to change team names, the number of teams, the league structure, the league’s country, and a variety of settings.
Many benefits from utilizing the OOTP code base, like the user-friendly interface, online league support, HTML output, customizable text database and much more!
That all sounds delicious. The only bad news is that Beyond the Sideline won’t be out until next year’s Super Bowl at the earliest, with a ‘sometime in 2015’ release date.