It is hard to see any direct relation between sports and role playing games. Sports are well, sports. Generally, sports can all be vaguely defined as an activity in which a player or team takes action based on a set of rigidly defined rules in the hopes of besting an opponent either through physical prowess or with a calculated strategy. Role playing games, although lacking the physical prowess of a real sport, also require a knowledge and understanding of both the rules by which the game is played, in addition to having a firm grasp of opponent strategy and behavior.

These similarities, and my earlier suggestion for a Bioware developed NCAA football game, got me really thinking about the incredible depth of contemporary sports video games. Madden in particular goes to some absurd lengths in service of realism by individually ranking both players and teams to provide an accurate portrait of the NFL. Like it or not, another element has become increasingly more important with the rise of fantasy sports: Statistics. From QB rating to fielding percentage, statistics have become an important tool for measuring player ability and performance within the context of the fantasy sports meta-game.

Have you ever met anyone that is really into fantasy football? The kind of person that listens to radio shows and scours the web in search of any tiny tidbit of information that might give them an edge in their weekly match-up? How about the person that breeds Pokemon in the hopes of creating a statistically superior specimen to gain a minute edge in battles? Or maybe a Disgaea player that looks over formulas that look like they could be on an algebra exam? Guess what, the same statistically minded OCD that drives the fantasy sports addict, also fuels the obsessed role playing fan.

EA Tiburon understands football. They also understand the kind of gamer that buys their product. It makes sense that Tiburon might be able to broaden the appeal of traditional role playing games by leveraging their experience and a player base that has been unknowingly trained to be a successful role playing gamer.

It is hard to speculate just what a Tiburon developed RPG might look like, but if it ever happens I can assure you I’ll be first in line to find out.