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(Pocket-lint) - EA Sports, the studio behind the Madden NFL series of video games, has announced via Twitter it is returning to college ranks with a new video game called EA Sports College Football. 

EA is known for its run of college football games, which started in 1993 with Bill Walsh Football and ended with NCAA Football 2014. NCAA Football is perhaps its most popular college football series. In fact, a seven-year-old copy of NCAA costs more than the last-gen system that the game needs to run. 

EA Sports discontinued the series following a lawsuit by a former NCAA basketball player who challenged the collegiate rulemaking body’s ability to profit off of college players’ names, image, and likeness (or NIL). Fans have been clamoring for another game ever since, and now they’ve been granted that wish.

The new game will be titled EA Sports College Football instead of NCAA Football, suggesting the NCAA might not have any involvement in the series. 

Instead, EA is partnering with the CLC, Collegiate Licensing Company, to get the rights to all the schools in order to make the video game, according to ESPN. It seems EA currently plans to avoid NIL questions the same way it did in the old games -- by not naming or designing players to look like their real-world counterparts. So, for instance, Mac Jones, the starting quarterback for Alabama, would appear as QB #10 in the game. 

This is all up in flux, however, as the NIL rules are currently in the process of being changed, with the state of Florida passing legislation, which will take effect as soon as this summer, allowing college athletes to profit off of their likenesses. This is expected to force the NCAA to make its own regulations on name, image, and likeness rules. 

EA Sports Vice President and General Manager Daryl Holt told ESPN that the company is still in the earliest stages of development on the new game but reassured that any changes with the NIL shouldn’t affect the game’s release, which might be a long way off still. EA has said we shouldn’t expect the game to come out this year.

Holt also revealed the game will be made exclusively for the latest-gen consoles - a no-brainer considering it's at least a year out from releasing. 

Fans of the old games should happy to know that EA Sports College Football will be made by Tiburon Studios, which was responsible for the original series.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 2 February 2021.