Codemasters has announced the follow-up to last year's Club Football series of sports titles. Having secured the exclusive rights to videogames based on the England football team, the Britsoft developer/publisher is now planning to deliver England International Football on both PS2 and Xbox - complete with Xbox Live support for two players.
Although EA is launching a rival UEFA Euro 2004 title in time for the European Championships in Portugal this June, Codies' England game will be the only title with official rights to the England football team when it launches on both main console formats in May.
"It's a massive coup to win the rights to the England team for England International Football," Codies MD Nick Wheelright commented. "We can now provide the England football fan with the true England international match day experience. On Xbox, it's immensely pleasing to deliver the first football game ever to feature Xbox Live online play."
He's right there, too - this is the first time a footy game has gone online with Live, enabling two players to play against each other or co-operatively against the AI using any of 32 national teams (20 European, and 12 others including Brazil, Argentina, Cameroon, Australia and Japan). Offline and on PS2 up to four players will be able to compete.
As with last year's Club Football titles, EIF will be skinned up with all the correct plumage, including all the right players and their likenesses drawn from exclusive photo shoots, the right kit right down to the Three Lions badge, and a good deal of clip footage of famous England games like the 5-1 result in Germany. Even the crowd chants were apparently recorded live at England matches, and although you'll be the one naming your first choice 11, Sven Goran-Eriksson will still be standing by the dugout. Authentically. Codemasters is no doubt crossing its fingers that the England coach won't depart his job and take up a post at Chelsea over the summer...
In gameplay terms EIF will be aiming to build on last year's Club Football titles, with a spruced up version of the same engine promising all round improvements, and in keeping with that tech you'll also find a Create A Player option so you can skin up a default model and put yourself out on the pitch to vie for the glory and get your own name up in lights.
England International Football, then - out in May. Screenshots here.