Long-dead Football simulator Front Page Sports Football lives again courtesy of French Studio Cyanide, who basically grabbed the IP (intellectual property) because no one remembered it.
I’m not even vaguely a football fan, but I still have a tinge of nostalgia about this game because I actually worked for Sierra On-Line when it was published. I even remember one of our technical support reps was a former NFL player (for a brief time) before he came to Sierra.
According to sources at Cyanide, the Cyanide Studio CEO was a big fan of the series in the ’90s. Cyanide tried for years to get the license from Vivendi (and then later Activision Blizzard), but the game had fallen so far below the radar that the publishers didn’t even seem to know it existed. Eventually, the license was ignored for so long that it became public domain, so Cyanide trademarked the name and carried the ball…
A little more history:
Front Page Sports Football was a very popular Pro football simulator first published by Sierra On-Line in the early 1990’s (around 1992-ish).
- According to Wikipedia, in 1996, Computer Gaming World magazine named it the 11th best computer game of all-time.
- The Front Page Sports series was one of the first football simulations to include a career mode where players aged and retired, and it had a ton of statistics and number-crunching for the truly die-hard armchair coaches.
- The first game was not licensed by the NFL. So all teams and players offered were fictional–however, you could create your own players and statistics and the game was also a popular platform for Fantasy Football styled leagues.
- Starting with Front Page Sports Football Pro ’95 the game included real NFL players and teams.
- New versions of the game came out each year. The final game was released in 1999, but it was a buggy mess and ultimately recalled.
A 2000 version was also planned, but it was cancelled shortly after the 1999 version recall. This is also around the time Vivendi started carving up Sierra and laying off more than half the company–a bit of a ripple effect of the “dot bomb” era and also just the culmination of many mis-steps that had plagued Sierra from previous years.