Midway's NBA Jam captured the hearts of millions of gamers back in the early '90s, but the company scored an equally big hit with its late-'90s smash-mouth football series, NFL Blitz. However, it's been nearly a decade since Blitz was relevant -- high time, some might say, for a renewal of the football classic in which you needed 30 yards, not ten, for a first down.
At long last, EA has confirmed the rumors, announcing today that an all-new Blitz title, simply called NFL Blitz, is set to hit Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network for $14.99 (1200 Microsoft Points) in January 2012. Like the recent NBA Jam revival, the new NFL Blitz aims to recreate the classic Blitz experience on HD consoles, and I'm stoked for what will be the first NFL-licensed Blitz game since 2003.
EA is retaining the hallmarks of the original Blitz: fast-paced 7-on-7 action, two-minute quarters, no penalties, and players catching on fire. They're also updating the classic title for the modern era, bringing in head-to-head online matches and two-on-two action (both online and offline), as well as a variety of leaderboards. Play-by-play commentary will come from NBA Jam/NFL Blitz legend Tim Kitzrow, and actor Brian Haley (Gran Torino, Little Giants) will be the color guy.
All of that stuff is what people really care about when it comes to arcade sports games, but NFL Blitz will also offer single-player content in the form of the Blitz Gauntlet, a mode in which you'll take on NFL teams as well as "exclusive fantasy character bosses" in the Blitz Coliseum. (Defeating the fantasy characters will unlock them for use in the game.) In addition, NFL Blitz will feature a mode called Elite League, which sounds similar to Madden Ultimate Team: it's a trading-card mode where you spend Blitz Bucks (earned by playing online) on card packs to try and put together the best team and the most effective power-ups.
From the first screenshots (available in an EGMNow preview), it's clear that EA is going for a much less stylized look than Midway's Blitz titles, although it's not quite on the Madden end of the photorealism spectrum. After seeing that, I worry that the NFL has forced EA to tone down the original games' craziness (like the WWF-inspired tackles). But I'm holding out hope that EA will honor the Blitz name, at least in spirit, with a better game than their last arcade football title, 2009's mediocre Madden NFL Arcade.
For more details, check out the game's official website and Facebook page.