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The Super Bowl is less than a week away.  This is the time I usually write something to reflect on the current state of Madden football.  I'm opting against that this year, because any discussion of Madden 11 at this point would sound more like a posthumous review or critique.  So rather than go into all that, I wanted to discus the future of the product, and my hopes for Madden 12.

I've been a long time Madden gamer, dating back to the used copy of "Madden Football" I bought off of a friend for the Sega Genesis.  I also remember seeing the ad for Madden '92, and making sure I had a ride to "Babbages" game store in Mill Creek PA to pick Madden 92 up on the first day.  (Ah...my freshmen year at college.)  Twenty years later, I'm still an avid Madden gamer.  I've seen its many ups, occasional downs, and lots of in-betweens over those two decades.

I personally believe that the release of Madden 12 will be one of the most watched releases in this console generation.  Of course, with the Madden phenomenon being what it is, all Madden releases are "important", but this one might have alot more at stake than usual for EA and us, the fans.  For one thing, there's alot of uncertainty swirling around in the real NFL.  There very well may be a lockout if no new collective bargaining agreement is crafted.  The threat of a "No NFL Season" year looms large in the background, and I personally don't see many of the issues between owners and players being easily bridged.  (Especially the idiotic 18 game regular season idea, but that's a rant for another day.)

Legally, I don't know how that works.  Will EA be able to release a game with the players association and NFL license if there's no CBA?  Furthermore, if they can release a game, will many people buy a game based on an NFL regular season that....doesn't exist?  EA could be walking into uncharted territory.

Further complicating matters is the fact that 2K Sports released what many feel to be the most complete, well-done, feature rich sports game of this generation (so far) with NBA 2K11.  Not only was it a top notch current day hoops sim, but it also featured a career mode featuring Michael Jordan, as well as many classic teams and licensed classic players from the NBA's past rounding out those teams.

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