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Why are more sports games introducing story modes?

“The future of gaming is all going to be about storytelling,” says Scott Porter, who plays one of the lead roles in Madden 18’s Longshot mode.

It’s the latest in a growing trend of story-driven experiences in sports titles.

“If everyone who loves American Football has a copy of Madden already, how do you get new people through the door?” he says.

FIFA introduced a play-able movie like experience, The Journey, last year.

Madden Gameplay Footage

Image caption Alex Hunter is the main character in FIFA’s story mode ‘The Journey’

The NBA 2K franchise has been doing it for a little longer, with Hollywood director Spike Lee even looking after their 2016 version.

These game modes are additional to the traditional way gamers play sports titles.

In them, players are challenged to make situational decisions based on characters lives.

These, on and off the field, choices impact their personal lives and careers in the game.

Watch: Electronic Arts explain why they’re introducing story modes at Gamescom.

Madden Gameplay Footage

Image caption In Longshot you play as Devin Wade, a young quarterback desperately trying to make it to the NFL

Former NFL running-back JR Lemon plays the main character Devin Wade in Longshot.

“You get to go behind the curtain and see the issues that players face,” he tells Newsbeat.

“It makes sports stars relatable, we have this stereotype of athletes as being emotionless.

“But here you see a guy who doesn’t think he’s good enough, and we can all relate to that.

“It’s that empathy that makes us more curious.”

Madden Gameplay Footage

Image caption Scott Porter plays Colt Cruise in Madden’s Longshot game mode

Scott Porter is a familiar face to fans of cult hit television show Friday Night Lights, which was also themed around American football.

He’s also performed in many video games, like Injustice and Minecraft: Story Mode, in the last seven years.

He says: “Just like Friday Night Lights on television, this is not quite about the sport.”

“People loved that show who knew nothing about American football.

“It’s the same here, it’s about brotherhood and friendship and I think people will get that.”

Madden Gameplay Footage

Image caption Mahershala Ali also stars in the new Madden game

For the Madden franchise, that’s more popular in the US than it is in the UK, this is a chance to try and engage a new audience with the game.

“It tries to bring people, who haven’t experienced American Football, into the sport,” says JR.

“There’s a teaching element to it, where you get to learn about the game and its intricacies.”

“The future of gaming is all going to be in storytelling,” adds Scott.

“At some point the human eye will stop noticing the difference in graphics.

“It’s all about storytelling and how accessible that story is to a wide array of people.

“If everyone who loves American Football has a copy of Madden already, how do you get new people through the door?”

Madden Gameplay Footage

Seann Grady, the executive producer, of Madden NFL 18 also spoke to Newsbeat about this new trend.

It’s the first time in the franchise’s 29 year history that it’s introduced a mode like this, following the lead of FIFA and NBA 2K.

He says: “Frankly there’s a lot of drama in sports.”

“We love sport and watch it because you never know what is going to happen.

“Behind the scenes there are lots of really compelling stories, with all these players trying to make it, and this is just one of them.”

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Updated: September 17, 2017 — 4:02 am

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