Midway Sports is altering NFL Blitz, NHL Hitz and so on to appeal to a broader gaming audience. Apparently, Midway has been focus testing (uh-oh) and determined that gamers would like to play in an authentic, simulation context. The new line of games will be renamed "Pro", of which NFL Blitz Pro and NHL Hitz Pro will be the first two. NFL, for example, will now include authentic 11-on-11 gameplay with realistic rules and options. Midway is describing their sudden awareness of simulation sports titles as a revolution, which we don't quite understand.
"It was exciting to find both hardcore and casual fans so interested in seeing Midway Sports make this move," according to Midway's Jon Dean. "We have always had the corner on the arcade-style sports marketplace. Now, we are in a position to deliver the perfect mix of realism and action to a much wider audience of sports gamers."
To be honest, we're a bit surprised and concerned. After all, Sega Sports has taken a beating at retail despite its own significant attention to detail, and there's a lot of ground for Midway Sports to make up before they're even on that level. Realistically, it's unlikely that they'll manage this in the first or even second iteration. However, if they can use their proven skills as an arcade sports game developer and cultivate this simulation aspect on the side, then perhaps it'll work. We'll see.