Ubisoft makes shock move into football genre

Ubisoft has come good on its promise to make an eye-catching splash in the sports genre – with a new football title on Wii.

MCV can reveal that Academy Of Champions will be targeted at a young male and family audience when it is released later this year.

The game, which is compatible with both the Wii Balance Board and MotionPlus, will go up against the likes of EA’s FIFA and Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer on the format – as well as Nintendo’s Super Mario Strikers.

Academy Of Sports boasts an impressive promotional coup – in the shape of Brazilian football legend Pele.

The World Cup Winner was involved in the development of the game and will play a central role in Ubisoft’s marketing for the title.

MCV also understands that he will appear at Ubisoft’s official reveal of Academy Of Champions at the E3 conference in Los Angeles next month.

US soccer champion Mia Hamm has also been signed up to promote the game.

Ubisoft told MCV it plans to make the release the first in a long-running franchise – and that it could even be reworked for other consoles in the future.

It’s true that there are already some big guys on the scene [in the football genre],” Ubisoft executive director Alain Corre told MCV, but we wanted to have a different approach. We are starting with just a Wii version for now.

It will be a game that will be a bit like Mario Strikers – crazy, but still sticking to the rules. Players will have the feeling that they are playing real football – but laughing at the same time.

He added: We don’t want it to be a straight simulation. That genre is already very well covered. We are taking a different approach and trying to be more mainstream and less serious with this first one. The aim is to develop this franchise on and on in the future.”

The game was developed by Ubisoft Vancouver, and places players in a story-driven adventure around the world’s most popular sport.

The journey begins with enrolment at an Academy where your coach is Pel and Hamm is your team member and mentor.

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