CFL Refused To Support Canadian Football Video Game
Real Canadians Need Only Three Downs
Compared to the American product, Canadian football laws create a faster version of the sport. Three downs and a 20-second play clock emphasize the need for quick, aggressive play calling to gain a first down before the need to punt.
As a result, the pass metagame is more explosive in Canadian football.
All CFL receivers and backs may stay in motion, charging the scrimmage line without penalty as long as they don’t break the line before the snap. Only one member of the offense may be in motion in the NFL, and the player must move laterally or backwards, not forwards. The option to hit top speed before the snap gives CFL receivers a significant edge over their NFL peers. CFL fields are longer and wider, creating more space for the offense to break free from defensive coverage.
Fair catches do not exist in the CFL – instead, the kicking team must stay five yards away from the returner until the ball is touched, which means that the receiving team almost always attempts to return the punt. Since the goal posts rest on the goal line in the CFL, and missed field goals are considered live, Canadian football features far more field goal returns that the American game.
The ‘rouge’ might be the most stereotypically Canadian rule in the CFL, granting a single point when the ball is kicked past the end zone of your opponent, including missed field goals. This leads to truly wacky scenarios in close games, where teams kick the ball back and forth out of the end zone to battle for the single point.
These and other uniquely Canadian rules result in an exciting brand of football that many sports fans enjoy. Codifying these rules into a modern video game would help spread appreciation for the CFL, especially among younger fans who love playing digital sports.
CFL Fumbles Another Opportunity
Not many people know that a CFL football game was created in 1999.
David Winter was part of the team that put together CFL Football ’99, which was officially licensed by the Canadian Football League. This digital version of the CFL was a slow-paced, simulation-style game with 2D graphics. This eventually lead to the creation of Maximum Football 2.0, which provided a flexible engine that allowed for Canadian rules.
Development of Canadian Football 2017 began in December 2015, utilizing the Unity 5.5 game engine, provided with support from Microsoft’s independent development program.
As the game started to take shape, David Winter approached the CFL with a logical plan to fully license the game, gain corporate sponsorship, and hire a deeper team of developers to add polish and features to the core game, including the Grey Cup.
Despite the support of Microsoft and the previous work of Winter, the CFL turned passive-aggressive. At first, league officials refused to meet with Canuck Play, before stating that a vendor was already in place. Just over half a year later, the CFL published a press release stating that a video game doesn’t exist because they’ve yet to find a partnership.
Instead of supporting a home-grown product backed by the Xbox One and Steam platforms, the Canadian Football League decided to refrain from licensing the ready-made game while posturing as if a high-profile vendor already existed. There appears to be absolutely no logic to the CFL’s response to David Winter. The league lost an easy opportunity to market the exciting, up-tempo brand of Canadian football to a vast digital audience.
The Grid-Irony Deepens
Despite the CFL’s attempts to sabotage their own brand by refusing to license Canuck Play’s Canadian gridiron game, fans refuse to let Canadian Football 2017 fade from the scene.
Mods have already been created for the Steam version of the game, allowing players to download CFL logos, jerseys and player names into the game for free. Any competent digital marketer should be aware of the considerable modding crowd for PC games, driven by the passion and dedication of players. The fanbase for Canadian Football 2017 is no different from other gaming communities, so they took it upon themselves to correct a critical mistake on behalf of the CFL.
David Winter wants to develop his gridiron game as an iterative product, updating the software and adding new features and rosters on an annual basis. Perhaps the CFL will decide to change course and embrace the video game with the same passion that Canadian football fans display.
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