Patriots fans will have another option when it comes to virtually propelling the Foxboro favorites to the championship this fall.

Video game maker Quick Hit Inc., another Foxboro-based institution, will announce a multi-year deal today with the National Football League to use NFL trademarks in its online football simulation game, Quick Hit Football.

As a video game, Quick Hit bears little resemblance to the popular Madden NFL franchise developed by Electronic Arts. The graphics aren’t hyper-realistic, and there’s very little button mashing. Quick Hit is played by strategically picking the best play for each situation to guide your team to victory. It’s a cerebral take on a genre fueled mostly by adrenaline until now.

The game comes out this fall and is available to play for free in pre-release beta mode at The addition of NFL trademarks is expected to provide a serious shot in the arm for the title at launch time.

“It means a degree of legitimacy for Quick Hit that hasn’t been there up to now,” said Brian Ekberg, senior editor and sports game expert at Gamespot. “Releasing a non-NFL football game in a market dominated by Madden is an uphill battle.”

Other companies have released football games without NFL trademarks and have met limited success at best. UK-based NaturalMotion’s Backbreaker football game hit shelves June 1 to mediocre reviews as it has struggled to gain traction in Madden’s market.

Quick Hit had already tapped some prominent NFL veterans, including Randy Moss, Ray Lewis, and even iconic kicker Morten Andersen to lend their names to the game.

Under the new deal, Quick Hit will still not be able to use the names of all NFL players. A separate agreement with the players’ union would be required.

This new licensing deal, however, will let Quick Hit use all NFL teams, logos, colors, uniforms, helmet designs and, of course, the coveted words “Super Bowl.”

Instead of fake teams like the “All-Stars” and “Bench Warmers” players will be able to rekindle real rivalries like Patriots-Colts or Raiders-Chiefs.

The game is free to play and is funded by in-game video commercials and banner advertisements.

More than a million players have registered for the free beta.

Quick Hit is a start-up with about 25 employees, founded in 2008 Jeff Anderson, the former CEO of Westwood-based Turbine. Anderson is hoping the news will give them a boost as they exhibit for the first time at the E3 expo next week in Los Angeles.

“Our goal all along was to develop a realistic football experience,” Anderson said in a phone interview yesterday. “When we first started the company two years ago, we were a brand new business. It was hard to expect anyone to give us anything for granted. We had to go out and earn the respect of the fans.”

Electronic Arts will continue to enjoy an exclusive NFL license on consoles like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. In a statement, the company said yesterday that “the NFL has been a great partner for nearly two decades. This announcement has no impact on the relationship we have in place to create great NFL-branded products."

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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