'NCAA Football 12' first look

April, 22, 2011
04/22/11
7:46
PM ET
By Jon Robinson
NCAA Football 12EA SportsExpect to see some big collisions in "NCAA Football 12" thanks to the new tackling system.

Anyone who has played an EA Sports football product over the past couple of seasons knows one thing for sure: tackling is more about the warp than the wrap. What I mean by that is games such as "NCAA Football" and "Madden" are about getting your defender into the vicinity of the ball carrier, then watching as the linebacker is magically suctioned into the runner for the tackle. That system had nothing to do with momentum, nothing to do with reality and unfortunately trickled down into other areas of the game where contact is king, such as blocking.

Thankfully, that is all about to change in "NCAA Football 12," as the game designers have created an entirely new tackling system that not only includes momentum but turns the dive button into a dive/tackle button. Sure, those looking to desperately flail at the ball carrier can still dive at his cleats, but now the proper way to smash someone's grill is to get in position and hold down the tackle button for your defensive player to 'bow up and use proper technique to make the play. In the wrong position? Remember, the days of warping into the runner are over, so now you'll lunge at the ball carrier and hope for the best, but whiff the tackle and you could be left watching as the runner high-steps right past you.

"There's no more warping or sliding into position for the tackle," associate producer Ben Haumiller explained. "Now the tackle doesn't take place until the defender makes contact with the ball carrier, and this really brings momentum into play. This is a big change in the animation system and point of impact. So basically, the ball carrier and the defender would get close to each other, in last year's game, and the engine would warp them together into a tackle and the defender would actually slide into position because we only had eight spots where a wrap tackle could begin. But now, no matter where I hit you, that's where the wrap is going to begin. You don't see a guy slide over and make a tackle. Now he's trying to make the tackle at the spot where he first makes contact. This also comes into play with gang tackles. You'll see one player come in and stand the ball carrier up, then another player will come in and join on. And actually, because of the momentum and how that second defender is flying in, he might even knock that initial tackler off the pile and steal the tackle. Or you might see the first guy try to make a tackle, the second guy make a hit, then a third guy coming in with a shoulder trying to clean it up, but each of these hits will help change the course of the ball carrier.

"This new animation system has also really helped blocking as well. You're not going to see a pulling guard go through and suddenly warp in front of a defensive lineman to prevent the tackle. You actually have to be in position in order to make the block."

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