Mark DeAngelis on Gameplay HD, the High-Definiton Game Channel

Joe Blancato | 3 Apr 2008 21:00
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That really set the tone for us at EA. They really loved our style, our passion. [Eight] months ago, they called and asked us if we wanted to do the EA Madden Challenge. It's never been produced fully for television in the way we wanted to, so we said, "Yes, we think it's a phenomenal product." It's one of those transitional products that is highly popular but can also be understood on a massive scale, not just by hardcore gamers, because it's football.

And there's a lot of really good quality inherent in the players and the opportunities [the Challenge] is creating for them. One thing you'll notice is in Madden, a lot of the players come from urban centers, streets, tough places, and it's really given them an opportunity to have a career and meet new people and make partnerships and to participate on teams ... and give them an opportunity to make some money.

Just to say one more thing, the players seemed really rough and tough, but I really think a lot of them were good kids. And they were really smart about this game, man. They were turned on; they really put a lot of energy into it. They focused, they practiced, they trained. They talked a lot of sh--, man, but that's part of the game. You hear that in the Superbowl! I mean, look at the Giants. They were getting panned for talking so much stuff. I was psyched, and the kids brought a lot of energy to it. I can't wait to do it again on the next level.

TE: It's a strange scene. The Madden Challenge was a spectator sport of a spectator sport. These guys probably don't play football, and probably won't professionally. Do you see gaming as a spectator sport, like football or baseball?

MD: I think it's a serious, professional competition. These kids trained no less than any professional athlete, or golf player, or poker player on the less extreme. Anything that requires a kid to break down, read playbooks - I mean, he's really coming at it from two angles in Madden. He's coming in from a coach perspective, a general manager perspective, a tactician, and some physical elements of manipulating the paddle and the buttons and the players on the field.

That's the nut that's gotta be cracked. And that's the thing that we're after, and that's the thing we're getting closer and closer to. You've got the living blood person with the virtual game. And I think there's a way, if you can bring out the personalities of the players, which I think we did an excellent job of, and if you get a chance to see the six-part series we created, you really get know these players on a new level; understand their strategies, understand their mistakes, see their reactions. And then you get to go to the game, and I think next year, that's what you'll see even more: A real clear delineation between the two, but that works together, if that makes sense.

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