posted 09.24.13 at 9.00 am by Sean Burns

New Lacrosse Game Set for iPhones/iPads in 2014

Image courtesy Digital Steamworks

There's some exciting news on the horizon for lacrosse fans who also enjoy a little gaming in their life, as a Maryland-based developer is working on a mobile- and tablet-based lacrosse game that they're hoping to launch in the spring of 2014.

Digital Steamworks is working on what they're calling 3D MVP Lacrosse – a new flavor of the game for the iOS platform, available for iPhones and iPads for the spring.

This game is not, obviously, a first for lacrosse. Blast Lacrosse started things off on the original PlayStation platform with a license from the National Lacrosse League back in 2001. Unless you've got a copy somewhere, it'll run you a bit more than $100 these days, and like most things built on that platform it could generously be refered to as a bit outdated at this point.

More recently, Crosse Studios has developed several games, starting with College Lacrosse and the National Lacrosse League in 2010, with updated college versions in 2011 and 2012 and an NLL 2011 version as well. Crosse also has a mobile game called Lacrosse Dodge, which has the user guide a player through obstacles on a dodge without the rest of the game's elements.

But this new developer hopes to bring lacrosse gameplay – from dodging to passing to shooting – to mobile devices across the country and beyond.

We caught up with Digital Steamworks Director of Technology Will Gee for a few questions as they work through the kinks and produce a new game for lacrosse fans everywhere.

You're developing a lacrosse game. Are any of the developers players?

All of us are either from Maryland or Long Island. Our president, Murray Taylor, played lacrosse through high school, college, and beyond. Our art director, David Thompson, coaches youth lacrosse, and I played a mean goalie at age 12 (and was obviously around a lot of lacrosse at Gilman). We also have several informal advisors, from gamers to pro lacrosse players, helping out as well.

What's your group's background in game development?

Since founding Digital Steamworks in 2003, we've worked on a wide spectrum of things: games, apps, and even a 3d playbook used by the Ravens and Redskins. Before that, we all worked together at Microprose/Atari, on XBox and PC games.

How did this idea come about? Why lacrosse? Is it a personal thing or do you see it as an underserved market in gaming?

It's something we've batted around for a few years. We actually talked with the two biggest sports game publishers a few years ago about doing a Lacrosse series (a la Madden or FIFA), because we thought it would be a fun project and saw a market. Unfortunately they didn't agree at that time. The most recent incarnation came from a mock-up we put together in some down time that we really started to have fun with.

Image courtesy Digital Steamworks

What do you see as the most important 'detail' for making a successful game?

"Feel." Are the controls fun, or do they get in the way? Do feeding and shooting feel authentic? After that, keeping players engaged with new choices and rewards.

What will the game play be like?

The basic in-game controls are pretty well set, and sort of mimic a controller setup. Analog stick for movement on the left, pass and shoot buttons on the right. There are a few twists we're working on now (ways to precisely aim shots on goal, and do more advanced moves – behind-the-back, juke, spin, etc.). We're also looking at the new support for game controllers added in iOS7.

The game play itself will be divided between 2-on 2 matches and fun/arcade-y skill building challenges (e.g. shoot the ball through the moving tire as many times as possible to increase your player's accuracy rating).

Why did you choose to go with the iOS platform?

It's a good way to get it into a lot of hands quickly, and after we ship we'll be looking into ports for Android and consoles. Since so many people use the App Store it's nice lacrosse fans won't need to embrace a potentially new store experience (XBLA, PSN, Steam, etc.). We've been doing a lot with iOS lately and we're excited to be in a position to deliver something really cutting edge.

Check back with Laxmagazine.com for updates on this and any other lacrosse video game news.

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