NEWS - Thursday, March 4, 2004
Codemasters Create England GameThe official rights to produce an England football game ahead of this summers forthcoming European Championship in Portugal have been snapped-up by British publisher Codemasters, whove announced plans today to create England International Football for the PC, PS2 and Xbox. The official team licence was acquired by the Codies from the English FA, and they are even promising Xbox Live support for this game which launches in May. The multiplayer mode covers all thirty-two international sides, and online play will be available exclusively via Xbox Live, something which clearly pleased Microsofts Michael Cassius who enthused: "Were very pleased to be working with Codemasters to bring the first online-enabled football title to Xbox, England International Football. At last, football fans can enjoy footie action on Xbox Live, playing together with friends or competing against rivals. Xbox Lives unique voice chat feature will bring a great sense of co-operation and ease of play to the pitch." All the players, manager Sven, the strips et al are promised in this lavish official title though of course the real test will be in the gameplay and whether it can live up to the examples set by FIFA and Pro Evo. To this end, were promised photo-realistic visuals, seven game modes: European Championship, International League, International Cup, Exhibition, Quick Start, Custom Cup, Custom League (featuring all 32 teams), and genuine England crowd chants and atmospherics. A four player-multiplayer option is also on the cards, as well as a Team Editor, which will allow the egotistical amongst you to graft your likeness onto a member of the England Squad. Gary Lineker and Barry Davies will provide commentary, and the game play focus will be on improved shooting, dribbling, referee AI and faster play, which is worryingly vague. Nick Wheelwright, Codemasters Managing Director commented: "Its a massive coup to win the rights to the England team for England International Football - we can now provide the England football fan with the true England international match day experience. On Xbox, its immensely pleasing to deliver the first football game ever to feature Xbox Live online play." Team profiles, photographs and classic video clips will be unlockable via in-game success, and notable inclusions such as Englands 5-1 victory against Germany are promised. All in all, it sounds like Codemasters latest wont be short on polish, what will be more interesting however is how well it plays - on which weve heard very little at this stage.