2K, at least in the realm of sports games, is best known for the NBA 2K series. Last year, the publisher additionally took on the development of the WWE 2K franchise. 2K has also published several critically-acclaimed games, like BioShock and Borderlands.
It’s not the first time NFL and 2K have teamed up. In 1999, they both kickstarted the NFL 2K franchise, but that deal petered out by 2004 — the same year NFL started an exclusive partnership with Electronic Arts around its Madden series.
“The NFL is one of the most successful sports brands in the world, known for creating incredible entertainment for fans,” 2K president David Ismailer said in a press release. “We’re thrilled to be back in business with the NFL in a partnership that will span multiple video games centered on fun, approachable and social experiences. It’s exciting to bring together 2K’s expertise in creating award-winning sports games with the NFL’s renowned status as a world-class entertainment and sports organization.”
The upcoming NFL 2K games are described as “non-simulation” football titles, which is an indicator that they’ll differ from Electronic Arts’s massively popular Madden series. Exactly what steering away from simulation games means remains unclear, but it could signal a shift towards an arcade-style experience that leaves football realism in the hands of EA.
“Expanding the NFL’s presence in the world of gaming has become a focus for the League as we look to grow the next generation of our fanbase and reviving our partnership with 2K was a natural step in that effort,” NFL senior vice president of consumer products Joe Ruggiero said. “2K is a worldwide leader in sports video games, with a proven track record of creating best-in-class and award-winning games and we look forward to sharing more about the projects we are working on with them in the future.”