By Barry Janoff
July 29, 2013: In anticipation of the release in August of Madden NFL 25, EA Sports is embarking on a task that will trace the game back to its earliest days.
According to EA Sports, the greatest players in the history of the Madden NFL franchise will come together to form one super-team, which will feature the best players "at the height of their virtual career." The Madden NFL 25 all-time team will be "selected by members of the Madden NFL development team and community." They will, of course, be coached by John Madden.
The All-25 Team will be playable in "Play Now" mode in Madden NFL 25, which hits stores Aug. 27. The cover art features Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders, who drew the most votes in a competition that pitted current stars against all-time players.
Now through Aug. 10, visitors to a dedicated micro-site at EA Sports which players have been voted onto to the All-25 Team. The site also includes updated commentary from Madden NFL developers and community members about what these individuals mean to the franchise.
Visitors can also follow the Hall of Fame career — both real and virtual — of John Madden via EA Sports commentaries and clips from the first 24 years of Madden NFL.
The effort is being supported by a spot that shows game action going back to the first days and then progress until 2013, which is the 25th anniversary of the franchise. (See the clip here.)
The release of Madden NFL 25 comes as EA is dealing with the effects of a lawsuit filed by Robin Antonick, described in legal proceedings as the original developer of the John Madden football game.
A jury in San Francisco earlier this month ruled in favor of Antonick, who according to his legal representatives, The Paynter Law Firm, "developed the original game under a 1986 software development agreement with EA, which promised him royalties on the game that he developed, as well as any games derived from the original game."
In his lawsuit, Antonick claimed that after he stopped developing games for EA, the company "went on to use his original source code to develop later versions of Madden Football, without paying him the royalties due under the 1986 agreement."
"The greatest players in the history of the Madden NFL franchise will form one super-team, which will feature the best players at the height of their virtual career."
EA claimed that it had not used Antonick’s work to develop later games. However, the jury found that plays of the later games were “substantially similar” to those of Antonick’s original game, and that on the whole the games were “virtually identical,” according to his lawyers.
Antonick was awarded almost $4 million in damages — which equal 3% of EA Sports' revenue for Madden NFL from 1990-1996 — and more than $7 million in interest, according to Antonick's lawyers.
EA Sports said it would appeal both the verdict and financial damages.