Quick Hit (formerly Play Hard Sports Inc.) is a new kind of company producing a new kind of game. I’ve been closely following the movements of this Boston area startup for a while now, and it looks like they’re right on track to not only give is something completely different, but completely free as well.
It came as no surprise to find out that the folks over at the good ship VentureBeat have been thinking the same thing, and recently sat down with Quick Hit CEO Jeff Anderson to talk about their first product: Quick Hit Football. Anderson, former CEO at another Boston area company you may have heard of, Turbine, developers of the highly successful Lord of the Rings Online MMO is in good company at Quick Hit, with what he calls the “ultimate trifecta” of talent. Designers and developers of the upcoming free-to-play title hail from the dev teams that have worked on Madden, NFL 2K, ESPN footcall, All Pro Football, and NCAA to name a few. Partner them with talent from the LotRO and Ultima Online teams, and sit back and watch the games begin. Literally.
One of Anderson’s key points, and what makes Quick Hit Football different from all the ‘other’ football games out on the market today, is that they’re not out to try to recreate, or better the Madden experience, but rather, are focusing on building a robust social community around an authentic football experience. Based on a low-spec flash based platform, Anderson also points to one very major difference (and draw) that Quick Hit holds in their favor: free. While Madden and 99.44% of all other football titles on the market today are available exclusively on a console, Quick Hit seeks to bring the power and excitement of the game back to the PC, thereby giving a much larger audience a chance to play. Combining the social community experience with the PC and flash allows not only the player to chat, socialize, and compete all in one place, but they’re not always specifically bound to localized servers and geography. In other words, football fans from Ohio could very well find themselves in a duel against players from Japan or South Africa.
Quick Hit is also banking on the enormous numbers of fantasy football players in North America alone, some 20 million. Toss the Madden players, clocking in at around 8 million, in there, and you’ve got a gold mine waiting to happen. The concept and development of Quick Hit Football have not been centered around player’s abilities to juke a Running Back, or scramble a Quarterback faster than their opponent, but rather utilizing football fan’s already built in knowledge of what will and what will not work in a standard game. Using the knowledge players set out to coach their team all the way to the superbowl, a feature and style of play now missing in most football genre games, as Head Coach 10 has officially been scrapped. Echoing a growing sentiment in gaming overall, Anderson’s team has been very careful to ensure the authenticity (adding Bill Cower is a prime example) and depth of the game, but at the same time have make sure that the game is simple enough to understand, thereby allowing just about anyone to jump right in and get up and running within minutes. Continuing this trend, Quick Hit football is also set up to be run in a more ‘casual’ way than it’s console competitors (aka Madden). Traditionally with a console type football game, players either play the computer or an opponent that’s physically sitting next to them, and can plan on at least an hour of play time before a final score. Not so with Quick Hit’s version. “We developed Quick Hit Football to be something people can play in 20-25 minutes from start to finish,” says Anderson. In other words, this type of gaming is absolutely perfect for the mid season armchair quarterback to get his/her game on during a lunch break, waiting for the train/plane, or just about any time.
Given the concept, scope, and talent pool involved, Quick Hit Football could very well be the great alternative to Madden that we’ve all been looking for for quite some time now. Interactive play, check. Utilizing knowledge and love of the game, check. Ability to play just about anywhere and in a reasonable amount of time, check. Anyone want to place some bets on how long it’ll take before CBS, NBC, ESPN, and/or ABC sports come a calling to use this technology as a visual representation platform for their fantasy football leagues?