On March 3, 2011 EA Sports launched its "U Want Me" campaign to select the cover athlete for the game. Fans are allowed to vote for one of the four cover athlete finalists.
On April 19, 2011 EA Sports announced University of Alabama running back Mark Ingram was selected to be the cover athlete for this year's game. This marked the first time in franchise history that fans had decided the cover athlete.
A demo of the game was release on June 28th, 2011. It featured the match-ups of Oregon-Texas and Alabama-Florida State, both meant to show off the improved opening game entrances. It was also limited to two minute quarters (instead of the standard 5 minutes) with no challenges or replay.
The first blog post detailing features of the game was posted on EA Sports' official NCAA Football 12 blog on March 15, 2011. HDR rendering will be implemented for the first time in a NCAA football game to provide more realistic lighting contrast. The fields will also feature 3D grass and particles instead of the flat field texture that has been used in previous games. Other improvements highlighted include higher resolution crowds, new equipment, and dreadlocks.
The game will also feature a revamped tackling and blocking system. In years past, tackling and blocking animations seemed to suck players into tackles or blockers. In order to alleviate this issue EA has developed a momentum based tackling system that makes tackling animations more realistic.
Fully animated coaches, offensive, and defensive coordinators are added to the game. Players in Dynasty/ Online Dynasty will be able to begin their career as an offensive or defensive coordinator at a small school and work their way up, controlling only their side of the ball, to a head coach job. The game also adds coaching contracts, which feature goals that ultimately affect job security, and/or getting better offers through increasing coach prestige. Creating a coach, the player can select a coach's alma mater, which will play in down the road when certain schools will consider a coach that graduated from their school. The Coaching Carousel is part of real college football, and will add even more realism to the game, coaching jobs are constantly moving and changing the landscape of college football. For example, the head coach at LSU might accept the job at Michigan because he is an alumni, then LSU might hire the offensive coordinator from Oklahoma State, Oklahoma state then brings in the offensive coordinator from San Diego State. San Diego State must now find an offensive coordinator, this shows how coaching changes can change the league top to bottom, from 1 star programs to 6.
The coach additions are one change, but also players will be able to control much more of the dynasty from the internet. Players can new recruit, and sim games against the computer using a super sim app. Commissioners can also advance the week from the internet.
This year, the game expands the custom conference option even more by giving the user complete control over conference change. The conference landscape of football is constantly changing, this way, players can stay up to date, create their own conferences, edit conference schedules, even control which bowl games conferences have exclusive rights to. For example, a player could recreate the old Southwest Conference with Texas, Oklahoma, SMU, Arkansas etc. Or create an online dynasty in which all 12 players are independent.
This year's game give players the option to create their own personal playbooks, use them with their coach, and create their own offenses and defenses.
Authentic Gameday Traditions
The game goes even further into depth with traditions and entrances for teams. Many real life mascots have been added such as Mike the Tiger at LSU, the War Eagle at Auburn, Smokey at Tennessee, and Bevo from Texas. Also, the entrances have been enhanced with different camera angles so that each game has a different feel.
The game will feature a new tackling engine that is more dynamic than previously, by removing the "suck-in" motion of a tackle (or on a reception) that was prevalent in previous iterations of the series. This means that momentum plays a much more important role in determining the outcome of a decision and it also improves the action on the field in its entirety. Also, the game creates smarter zone coverage that works more like real zone coverage. Cornerbacks will now pass their man on to the safety in order to cover his zone, line backers will cover the flats better, taking away the constant ability to throw the screen.