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July 11, 2011TUSCALOOSA | EA Sport's NCAA 2012 football video game was unveiled at midnight in stores across America, with former University of Alabama running back Mark Ingram featured on the cover.
The game is on sale today at several local stores, and can also be purchased online.
"We usually go for guys who best represent NCAA football," said Alex Howell, the game's designer. "With Mark Ingram especially, we really had an eye out for him. He had a huge 2009 season and a big 2010 season as well. When you win the Heisman and the national championship, it is kind of hard to turn someone down like that."
This year was the first year that fans were able to participated in the process to select the player on the cover. Fans had the opportunity to choose from Jake Locker of Washington, DeMarco Murray of Oklahoma, Nick Fairley of Auburn and Ingram, with Alabama's Heisman Trophy winner coming away as the top vote-getter.
"I'm definitely excited to see that an Alabama player made the cover," John Young, a UA senior from Florence, said, "if for no other reason than it kept an Auburn player off the cover."
Fans of the NCAA football video game will be introduced to many new features in this year's version. One of the new features is the coaches' carousel, which allows gamers to go through coaching scenarios such as promotions and the hiring of new coaches.
"The coaching carousel is exactly what you would think it'd be," Howell said. "It works in a cool way, kind of like a roulette way. If one person takes a job, it opens it up for another person. It is a really cool feature that is appearing in college football these days, and having that in the game this year is pretty awesome."
The game also features improved graphics, which Howell said makes the game more realistic. Pregame rituals were also added in order to capture the atmosphere of some of the sport's most storied traditions.
"We have brand new HDR (high dynamic range) lighting this year," Howell said. "With that, it really makes the game look like you are watching it on television. We have so many brand new traditions that we are bringing to the game this year. Getting those traditions for the school and making them exactly as they are, it brings them to life."
The game play has also improved from last year, as new tackling and coverage schemes were implemented.
"I'm most excited about the improved zone coverage," said Young, the UA senior. "I really liked the demo, although it took me a while to get used to the new play selection menu."
GameStop opened its stores for the midnight unveiling, allowing fans to line up early to participate in the festivities. During the wait, fans were able to participate in trivia and in-store tournaments.
While GameStop stores aim to have enough copies of the game, sales are expected to go fast.
"The one reason why you should go out and buy this game is that this is hands-down the best college football experience you'll ever get," Howell said. "To sum it up in one word, this is the quintessential NCAA game. It's the best of the best."
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