I have not played the latest edition of a Madden video game in 7 years. No matter how much you convince me, their product is average and their lack of competition is annoying since they figured out ESPN NFL 2K5 was one of the greatest games ever made. Their sound presentation has never been stellar and their announcers since the days of Summerall/Madden have been horrendous. Desperate for something fresh, new, and not boring, they’ve fed us someone who could potentially make a preseason 1st quarter pass sound exciting. Gus Johnson is your new PBP man for Madden 2011!
Today, Johnson, the exciting and excitable CBS sportscaster, officially became the fourth play-by-play man to hold sports gaming’s top booth job. Teased at the end of this video a month ago, Johnson’s hiring is hardly a shocker, and neither are EA Sports’ reasons for grabbing him. After nearly 20 years of often sedate, always straightforward calls by the likes of Pat Summerall and Al Michaels, Madden badly needed the kind of high-five-yourself enthusiasm Johnson imposes on a game.
“Coming out of Madden 10 one of the biggest criticisms was the audio presentation,” said Ronnie Morales, an audio designer with EA Sports Tiburon, the studio behind the game. “We felt the game lacked the energy it deserved. Football is a dramatic sport.”
Indeed, and Tom Hammond – the play-by-play man of Madden 09 and 10 – isn’t as iconic an voice as Michaels or Summerall to make a conservative playcall sound much more than boring, which, to be purely honest, he was.
“For a sports video game, that’s not going to work. If you’re running the ball, you know where you’re at on the field,” Morales said. “You want to hear that you just smoked a dude, you juked him, you’re going all the way to the end zone.”
Knowing EA though you can still expect canned lines and for Gus to sound very robotic. Perhaps during the middle of a 45-10 blowout he’ll break away from football to discuss brawls in MMA. This still is hardly enough reason to buy the game but progress is progress, right?