Major League Soccer

From Sega Retro

Major League Soccer
System(s): Sega Saturn
Publisher: BMG Interactive
Developer: Z-Axis
Planned release date(s): 1997-08
Genre: Sports
Number of players: 1

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Major League Soccer is an unreleased football game for the Sega Saturn, PlayStation and PC. All three versions were being developed simultaneously by Z-Axis, with BMG Interactive set to publish all three games in August 1997.

During the 1990s there was a reluctance among North American video game companies to publish football games, as the US typically had less interest in the sport than most other countries in the world. Major League Soccer was created with the mindset that American players would be unfamiliar with football's world governing body, FIFA (of which Electronic Arts were naming their games after, although even they were originally keen to retitle FIFA International Soccer for the US market), but were more likely to recognise US Major League Soccer league. As such, Major League Soccer would have featured teams from the MLS - one of the earliest video games to do so.

Gameplay would have been presented in full 3D and would have attempted to take a more realistic tone than the arcade-like simulations of previous years.

The situation regarding this game is unclear - Z-Axis did release a football game for the PlayStation and PC in April 1998 (published by Take Two Interactive, which had bought BMG at this point), but unlike this game, it was not licensed by the MLS organisation. It was also reskinned and renamed for every country it was released in, with various licenses and celebrity endorsements - it is known as Three Lions (UK), Pro: Foot (France), Golden Goal 98 (Germany), Mundial: 98 (Spain), Bomba: 98 (Italy) and Alexi Lalas International Soccer (United States, which did not apepar until April 1999).

In the end, neither, Z-Axis, BMG Interactive or Take Two Interactive released a football game the Saturn.

Magazine articles

Main article: Major League Soccer/Magazine articles.