Flying through the air, crashing to the ground, diving, spinning—animations 'make it happen.' Hi this is Glenn Royer, lead animator for NFL Blitz. If you've played Madden NFL or NCAA football but are new to Blitz, you'll notice instantly that the action moves very fast, and the players have a penchant for becoming airborne. Blitz animations are fast, powerful, and sometimes crazy. Today it'll be my pleasure to bring you Blitz's "greatest hits".
Play the game for a few minutes and you'll see the hard hits that are the signature of the series. Some tackles are more likely to be seen in a cage fight than on the gridiron, and fans of the original games will recognize tackles like the power bomb and the hammer throw. The hammer throw is a great example of the random factor in Blitz game design that's been around since the original game. It's a tackle I love to hate, because when you see that tackle start to play (and veteran players know that tackle), you might throw him for extra yards! That kind of randomness is intentional, and pops up in other areas of the game.
About a third of the tackles you see in the game aren't much more complicated than big, over- handed hits that send a player flying through the air in the opposite direction. In animation, however, we have lots of fun with all the creative ways to make those guys fly. Some guys get knocked straight on their back, others will do a barrel roll, or flip end-over-end. We simulate each one being hurled through the air again and again at precise velocities. No breaks until we get it right!
Once a drive reaches the red zone, special red zone tackles kick in to replace the standard set that occurs when players collide with each other. These tackles are all meant to deny the offense extra yards and make end zone stands different and more exciting. This is when you'll see clotheslines and other tackles where the ball carrier is stopped in his tracks and slammed to the ground.
There are also a lot of animations in Blitz that are there just because they're crazy and awesome. Some of these are rare and random, like the flying kick hurdle that can knock down an opponent if you're lucky. Some are fun variation, like the special stiff arm reactions that sometimes play with a "ding" sound to indicate someone just got their bell rung. One fun throwback to classic Blitz is the ability to throw a stiff arm with the ball. Not something you'll see on Sundays! But, then, players igniting on the field isn't, either. If you get tackled from behind when your ball carrier is on fire, you'll piggy back the defender and can continue running, but slower.
When there's nothing but daylight between you and the end zone, the best way to let your opponent know that you've got this in the bag is to do a taunt run. Tap up, down, left, or right on the right analog stick on either Xbox 360 or PS3 to perform one of four stylin' runs. A fifth taunt run exists which only some characters can perform, but you'll have to discover that for yourself. Of course, the best way finish off a showboating run is to dive into the end zone with the hurdle button. Remember, in an online game, 100 Blitz Bucks are awarded to the player with the most taunt time.
My favorite way to play the game is with the Huge Head Team cheat, because it shows off the face animations on all the players, and it's just fun playing with a team of bobbleheads.
Hope you enjoyed this animation highlight edition of the blitz blog! If you have any questions about animation in Blitz, join the conversation on our Facebook page or get on Twitter using hashtag #NFLBlitz, The game will be available for download this January (XBLA – 1200 points/PSN - $14.99), so don't forget!