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Sega Sports NCAA College Football 2K2 (DC) Interview


We recently had a chance to interview Vu Thai Dang, project manager of Sega Sports NCAA College Football 2K2 at Visual Concepts. (Click here for screen shots)

1) Can you tell us a little about yourself? How long have you been with Sega? What is your role in the production of Sega Sports' titles?

    My name is Vu Thai Dang, and I'm the project manager of Sega Sports NCAA College Football 2K2 at Visual Concepts. Visual Concepts is a member of the Sega group, and develops the popular NFL 2K and NBA 2K series. Prior to Visual Concepts, I was employed at Retro Studios in Austin, Texas. Prior to Retro Studios, I was employed at Electronic Arts and worked on the Madden franchise in a series of production roles.

2) Many football fans can't wait for an NCAA title on the Dreamcast. How do you stack up against the competition?

    Sega Sports NFL 2K and NBA 2K series really raised the bar for sports video games in terms of graphics, commentary, animation, online support and game play. These are the things that people now expect from a Sega Sports title and I think that Sega Sports NCAA College Football 2K2 has met these high levels of expectations. The bottom line is that we have created a college football game that will be enjoyable for both the beginner as well as the hardcore fan.

3) Is the engine based on the excellent NFL2K engine or is it completely new?

    It would have been foolish for us to start from scratch when we have the amazing NFL2K engine as a terrific base. However, we did make some significant changes in order to create a true college game. Just on the art-side, we had to replace/add a large number of the animations, create unique stadiums for each Division-I school, team jerseys, helmets, logos, icons, and tons of other items that are too numerous to list.

    On the gameplay side, college-style plays with college specific formations and sets were added. Over 600 new plays were created from scratch along with team-specific playbooks that are reminiscent of each school's playing style.

    However, this also meant that we had to make major AI adjustments to both reflect the differences between the college and pro game and to make necessary changes for the addition of the option plays. We feel that we implemented the option play in a manner that is both easy enough for the novice to use but flexible enough for the advanced user to enjoy.

    In terms of sound, the commentary is new with new voice talent, and we added school fight songs and crowd chants.

    A dynasty mode was also added that allows the player to take over a team and battle for the National Championship by recruiting incoming freshmen, evaluating junior college transfers, redshirting players and creating an off-season training program. The player has total control over his team and he'll need it as he tries to battle for both individual awards like the Heisman Trophy and team awards like a shot at a National Championship game in the Rose Bowl.

    Lastly, the one thing that won't change is the tight precise player control, stunning graphics, great animations, and an overall fun gaming experience gamers have come to expect from Sega Sports video games.

4) How about halftime shows? School songs?

    School fight songs are an integral part of the college football experience and we did license many school fight songs for Sega Sports NCAA College Football 2K2, including some of the top ones such as Notre Dame, Purdue and Florida. We did not incorporate halftime shows into this year's game.

5) Will the play-by-play be done by the same fictitious booth (excellent by the way in NFL2K/1) or will you pull in some talent?

    NFL2K and NBA2K really set a precedent with the commentary. For NCAA College Football 2K2, we followed the same trend and created a fictitious booth but with some college humor thrown in. We hired two local radio and television professionals that were able to bring some personality to the characters and we feel that fans of NFL2K and NBA2K will appreciate what we've done.

6) College football is known for diverse play from a few schools still running the occasional wishbone to those running 4 receiver sets. Will the playbooks be indicative of each schools' actual style?

    Since college football is such a different game from pro, we had to create all-new formations and plays for both offense and defense. A great deal of time and resources were spent thoroughly scouting all of the teams for this upcoming season and we were able to create what we feel is an accurate representation of the playbook for each school. We have also included accurate play calling tendencies for each school. For example, you won't see Nebraska throwing it 50 times a game.

7) Can you explain more about the online aspect of the game? Will there be an opportunity to battle it out on the gridiron to find the virtual national champ?

    We will be the only college football video game coming out this year that will support head-to-head online play right out of the box. We have made some improvements to online play but the only thing that we can really reveal at this point is that there will be a ranking system so you'll be able to see where you stack up against the rest of the country.

8) Will it support the broadband adapter?

    Sega Sports NCAA College Football 2K2 will not support the broadband adapter.

We would like to thank Vu Thai Dang for his time in answering a few of our questions. Be sure to check out out preview of Sega Sports NCAA 2K2.

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