Back when I was still a kid, there was a game on the Sega Genesis that my friends and I spent the summer of 1993 playing. It was a football game where fantastic elements and punishing hits were added to the already brutal sport, and we loved it.
Now, more than 20 years later, mutants playing football is making a comeback. And while the game can’t have the same title as the original (as “Mutant League Football” it’s owned by Electronic Arts), there are no copyrights on mutants, football, and awesome. Michael Mendheim, the creator and lead designer of the original Mutant League Football, is bringing a spiritual successor to the title to gamers in the form of Mutant Football League.
We were lucky enough to get an interview with Michael Mendheim and glean some exciting pieces of information for the upcoming game. If you’re wondering when you might get your hands on Mutant Football League, what platforms it could be arriving on, or which real-life stars are going to be spoofed this time around, check out the interview below:
Travis: What made you decide to create a Mutant Football for a new generation?
Michael Mendheim: Mutants and Monsters take to the field to battle it out in the most violent game ever played. That’s what this game is about and it’s based on a brutal, futuristic form of American style football, played inside bizarre stadiums, with weapons, explosives and plenty of dirty tricks. Underneath that concept we poke fun and parody pretty much everything in American pop and sports culture.
We have a burning desire to make this game, and the support of an incredibly loyal fan base. We believe this is a concept which will resonate with a new generation of fans providing the gameplay and art style are where they need to be.
Travis: People who grew up playing Mutant League Football will have fond memories of playing it, but how do you plan to reach people who have never heard of it before?
Michael Mendheim: It’s going to be tough since we are a small independent developer without a lot of financial resources to make a big PR splash. While we can’t compete with the big publishers on development and marketing dollars, we can compete on creativity and taking more risks. Our ideas and art style are going to be the main drivers to create some buzz and turn some heads. The art and concepts we show will need to capture people’s imaginations and they will need to spread the message through word of mouth. For example, we can make our arenas very innovative and different than anything you’ve ever seen in a sports game. See some examples below:
Travis: Mutant League Football had a lot of great things going for it. Bribing the ref. Dismantling key opponents. Spoofing the names of real players (such as “Bones Jackson”). Will this kind of flavor remain in the upcoming Mutant Football League?
Michael Mendheim: We will bring back some of the favorite features of the original game, like bribing the ref, hazards and parodying some real life players but we will be creating a whole new feature set for a new generation. It’s essential to keep the humor and tone of the original intact. Since the game is so violent, infusing it with humor, some of which is beyond silly, helps balance the game.
Travis: What can we expect to see in terms of new gameplay elements?
Michael Mendheim: I can share some ideas we are playing with right now, for instance we want our players to have different physics. Blockers on the line will be big and menacing, receivers will be thinner and fast and runners will be somewhere in the middle. All players will have unique ratings and special attributes.
We’re also introducing an “Enforcer” type of player. These characters are unusually large and vicious players whose sole purpose is to create mayhem on the opposing team. They carry weapons and a whole lot of badass.