New screens and first footage of NaturalMotion’s Backbreaker

For those of you who are sick of the Madden monopoly on football games, here’s something that may pique your interest. Backbreaker is a football videogame under development by NaturalMotion. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because they’re the creators of Euphoria. It’s the “next-gen” physics engine that does away with canned animations in favor of simulating real bodies, and it will make an appearance in GTA IV and two upcoming LucasArts games: the still-untitled Indiana Jones game, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

We don’t have many details on the game yet — there’s only a general release window of “2008”, and the fact sheet only says “next-gen console(s)” as the platforms it’s being developed for — but from these six 1280×720-res images, I think it’s safe to assume that the game will be coming to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The trailer above is called “Tackle Alley”, and it showcases a single player trying to get from one end of the field to the opposite end zone (check the press release for more info).

The video is a fantastic demonstration of what the Euphoria engine can do — I’ve never seen players move so realistically in a sports videogame, and the sounds also really bring the game to life. Unfortunately, the screenshots aren’t as praiseworthy. Motion blur aside, NaturalMotion is going to need to put a lot more detail into these player models; their clothing just looks ridiculously smooth. Texture mapping, anyone?

IGN has been following this game for a while in the form of developer diaries that they’ve put up. The most recent one discusses this Tackle Alley trailer, and there are five others that precede it. A cool tidbit from the developer is that Tackle Alley may actually make it into the retail release as a mini-game. NaturalMotion is touting this game as “a fast-paced, on-the-field gameplay experience that’s more Burnout than Madden,” so we’ll have to see how it turns out. Are you guys impressed so far?

NaturalMotion Reveals First Backbreaker Gameplay Video

New Assets Show Upcoming Football Title’s Intense On-The-Field Action

NaturalMotion Ltd. has released the first-ever gameplay video from its highly anticipated American football title, Backbreaker. The company behind the revolutionary euphoria engine featured in Grand Theft Auto IV and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is bringing the same technology to sports gaming.

The video and screenshots demonstrate Tackle Alley, a minigame that shows off the stunning visuals, bone-crunching sounds and, most of all, the dynamically generated tackles made possible by euphoria. As the runner makes a mad dash for the end zone, opposing tacklers do their best to take him down in a stadium where no two tackles are ever the same.

Samit Sarkar