Remarkably, Madden NFL 12 will depict players suffering concussions, according to the president of the NFL Players' Association, but apparently in a manner that reinforces the seriousness of the injury and the message that playing through one is not a good idea.
In a tweet first reported on by Gamasutra, George Atallah, a senior official with the NFLPA, praised EA Sports for the injury's inclusion. "Good for EA Sports. Concussed players in NFL Madden prevented from returning to play," Atallah wrote. "Culture change is important."
Evidently that means players will be shown being taken from the field, unable to return. Past versions of Madden have included a coaching decision to re-insert players who have suffered certain injuries that the game considers playable. Concussions won't be one, reinforcing the message, especially to younger players, that it is a serious injury and not a time to be a hero playing through it.
The NFL instituted rules in 2009 that prevent players from re-entering a game if they've suffered a concussion, responding to a mounting controversy over the long-term effects of repeated concussions and the league's posture toward player safety.
Big-hitting action has been a touchy subject in NFL-licensed video games, especially since 2006 when Midway walked away from its NFL Blitz licence after the league became concerned about the over-the-top hitting presented in the game. EA Sports is said to own the Blitz licence now.
Kotaku has contacted EA Tiburon, the studio that makes Madden, for comment or confirmation. This post will be updated with any reply.
NFLPA: Next Madden To Further Acknowledge Concussion Risk To Players [Gamasutra. Image is of Madden NFL 10]