Back in August, a handful of online retailer listings indicated that Electronic Arts was preparing a Spanish-language version of its Madden NFL football series for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360. While the product pages were devoid of details, it wasn't tough to imagine what might be different about Madden en español.
EA today announced the game officially, and confirmed its changes to the series. The game will be fully translated, with new play-by-play from Spanish-language Monday Night Football announcer Alvaro Martin and three extra songs for the soundtrack. Dominican Republic native San Diego Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo replaces Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young as the cover athlete for the game, and in-game sports news and alerts will be pulled from ESPN Deportes and NFLatino.com.
Madden series senior product manager Anthony Stevenson recently took time out to answer GameSpot's questions about EA's first dedicated Spanish-language sports game.
GameSpot: Where did the idea for a Spanish-language version of Madden originate? Did the NFL ask for it? Did Madden developer Tiburon suggest it?
Anthony Stevenson: The idea for a Spanish-language game is something we've thought about for a couple years now. As our partnership with the NFL has continued to grow, we wanted to support their Hispanic initiatives, including Hispanic Heritage Month, NFLatino.com, and more. The Hispanic fan base continues to grow both in passion for football and video games, so we felt this was a great opportunity to have a marriage of the two.
GS: Other games simply have language options in the menu screens. Why release a separate Spanish-language version of this game?
AS: Our main goal with this release was to be authentic, and in order to do that, we felt like having a fully dedicated Spanish version of the game was the only way to go, including a cover athlete that fit the personality of the game. We wanted this gaming experience to feel as close to a Spanish broadcast as possible, and simply having menu language options wouldn't allow for that.
GS: In which countries will Madden en español be released?
AS: United States, Mexico, and countries within Latin America.
GS: Is this a one-time experiment in courting the Spanish-speaking market, or something EA plans to do with all subsequent Madden games?
AS: Each year we have to evaluate our resources and priorities; however, we went into this project with the hope that it would be well received and become a part of our annual release schedule.
GS: Will future EA games en español arrive alongside their English-language counterparts, or should we expect them to continue to trail the original release by several months?
AS: Again, this is something we will look at each year as we evaluate our resources and priorities, but the goal for the future would be to release these versions simultaneously.
GS: Is this something EA plans to do with other sports, or with non-sports games at some point in the future?
AS: Anything is possible. We view this as a great chance to gauge the interest and reception of a localized game, and we will use our learnings from this to evaluate future opportunities.
GS: What kind of reaction are you getting from retailers? Are they especially receptive to stocking a product in a language that a significant portion of their customer base doesn't know? Is interest in the game primarily regional?
AS: Retailers have been reacting very favorably to Madden NFL 08 en español. They are constantly challenged with how to diversify their marketing strategies, especially within more ethnic regions of the country. This is the perfect opportunity for them to tailor their efforts and consumer communications around a well-known product, and ultimately better serve their customer base.