SBD/Issue 174/Sports Media

Here Comes The Boom: Gus Johnson To Serve As Voice Of "Madden 11"

EA Sports has selected CBS Sports announcer Gus Johnson to be the new play-by-play voice for its flagship videogame title "Madden NFL 11." Johnson will join incumbent color announcer Cris Collinsworth, and succeed prior play-by-play man Tom Hammond. Johnson is best known as a basketball announcer, but has an existing relationship with EA through his prior voice work for "NCAA Basketball 10" that carried over to "Madden." "Once again, basketball has given me another opportunity," Johnson said. "This one was definitely more extensive, but it was a lot of fun, and presented an opportunity to put my personality into it. I'm very excited." Johnson's nod is being announced today as part of an extensive redevelopment of the audio components of "Madden." Johnson, who recorded more than 30,000 lines for the videogame, will also make appearances on behalf of EA and "Madden" at next months' Electronic Entertainment Expo (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

DOSE OF ENTHUSIASM: KOTAKU.com's Owen Good writes Johnson's hiring is "hardly a shocker, and neither are EA Sports' reasons for grabbing him." Good: "After nearly 20 years of often sedate, always straightforward calls by the likes of Pat Summerall and Al Michaels, 'Madden' badly needed the kind of high-five-yourself-enthusiasm Johnson imposes on a game." EA Sports Tiburon Audio Designer Ronnie Morales said "one of the biggest criticisms" of last year's game was the "audio presentation." Morales: "We felt the game lacked the energy it deserved. Football is a dramatic sport." Morales added Johnson "was No. 1 on our list of about three or four guys," and he "vowed that 'Madden 11' will deliver enough Gus-isms to drop jaws and light up message boards." Good notes the videogame's designers "brought in two sports writers -- feeding them a comprehensive library of Johnson's work -- and had them develop lines for him to say at the beginning, middle and ends of a play, as well as pre-snap, all of varying intensity." Morales said that Johnson is "so eminently quotable, nearly every line is worth saving for some instance" (KOTAKU.com, 5/21).

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