Long Islanders develop customizable, interactive football video game
Raymond Milian and LeMont Joyner are virtual champions of the football video game Madden NFL. And together, they are using their skills, and what they’ve learned over the years, to create a game called Elite Sports Gaming Football 23 that will truly immerse players into the life of their character.
Milian, who grew up in Coram, and Joyner, a Hofstra University graduate, are both considered professional Madden players, with both being considered some of the best in the world when it comes to sport gaming. Joyner also found success in creating a successful YouTube channel called “Clutch,” amassing more than 500,000 followers online with approximately 120 million views. Milian is a graduate of the Flatiron School of Coding in Manhattan and Joyner, a graduate of law school, is a practicing corporate attorney in New York City.
“I met my co-founder ironically just standing in line next to one-another at one of the biggest gaming tournaments at the time,” Milian said. “Him and I were both novice gamers, essentially aspiring to do a little bit more within the space, and of course, e-sports at the time was still in its expansion… Fortunately for me, I was one of the first people to sign a professional Madden deal
where I was paid to travel around the country and the world to compete in the video game.”
Milian also had served as a video game tester.
But Milian’s life was changed in 2018 when he was competing in a Madden tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. During the tournament, one of the participants of the tournament, after losing a game and leaving the tournament, returned and shot and killed two people and injured 10 others, and then took his own life.
“Two of my friends were killed and 10 of my friends were shot,” Milian said. “Essentially, that was my immediate retirement from gaming.”
But that would not be the end of Milian and LeMont’s impact on the gaming community.
In February 2021, Milian and LeMont were featured in a docu-series called GameBreakers, which profiles streamers, personalities and e-sport pros in the gaming world. And in December 2022, Milian and LeMont, under their LLC, Elite Sports Gaming, announced they were going to create their first game.
It will be an online and multiplayer “11 versus 11” and “7 versus 7” football game for XBox, Playstation and PC that will release this year. It is the first social platform to exist within a video game series.
“If you were to play a football video game, something like Madden, the way it works typically is even though there are 22 players on the field, it really is like Chess, where if I play against you it’s really one against one,” Milian explained. “Whereas in our video game, our game is the first ever ‘11 versus 11’ with all the people
on the field actually being
real gamers, so it’s 22 people playing at the same time. It’s a much more immersive experience.”
And each player on the field being controlled by a gamer behind the screen is not the
end of the immersive experience when it comes to this game.
It’s similar to the video game series NBA 2K where players have the ability to do more than just compete in sports.
“What 2K will do is create these immersive environments for these gamers where they play mini-games or they can purchase clothing or express their creativity through different beards and hairstyles, all the way to working with brands,” Milian said. “You can have Nike, Reebok and Adidas in the actual game. But being that this is a sports game is grinding the character, making them better day in day out.”
Essentially, in Elite Sports Gaming Football 23, players, with their character, will have the ability to explore the city of “The Height,” based on all five boroughs of New York City, and be able to link up with their friends, train their character, go shopping and customize their character and go to the gym, play mini-games and, of course, hop into the football action. In the future, Milian and LeMont plan to expand this concept to other sports like hockey and soccer.
“The great thing about the game that we’re creating is that because this game is based so heavily on personal likeness, what we then do is bring artificial intelligence characters into our game so that gamers can play with them,” Milian explained. “This is where influencers can monetize on the back end.”
Influencers are people who have gained a following online, and they often monetize, or make money, off of advertising products, using their likeness to sell a product or talking about their sponsorships in their videos or podcasts. In this game, they can upload their likeness into the game and make money when people interact with their character.
When it comes to video games this concept is not new, however. In the game Fortnite, which has a younger audience, DJ Marshmello and hip hop artist Travis Scott were animated into the game and were able to host a concert that all the players could attend. Marshmello amassed an additional million followers within 48 hours of doing the concert. Travis Scott made over $20 million by doing this event.
“We’ve been really fortunate to have a bunch of pro-athletes come on board and influencers,” Milian said.
To watch the trailer for Elite Sports Gaming Football 23, visit www.youtube.com/@playesg/featured.