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Mutant Football League predicts the championship game — with deadly results

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Is this game is supposed to be played with land mines and saw blades?

For the finale of our pigskin prognostications over the past week, we wanted something a little unorthodox. So we asked Digital Dreams, maker of the forthcoming Mutant Football League resurrection, to put tomorrow's big game into their meat grinder and spit out a winner —€” and some limbs, gristle and sinew.

Let's put it this way, a quarterback being named MVP and dying in the same game would definitely be an historic first. That's what Mutant Football League —€” due on Steam Early Access around May —€” calculates for "Ram Neutron" of the Scarolina Panzers, victorious in the Mayhem Bowl by 36 to 28.

Their victims? The delightfully named Mile High Chronic. Digital Dreams already had the Chronic in their latest build, and special-made the Panzers when everybody's favorite undead quarterback (except in Seattle and Tennessee) punched his ticket to the title round two weeks ago. The result is just as untrue-to-life as the brutal gameplay, in that Scarolina falls behind by two scores before shocking Mile High in the final two minutes. Carolina IRL is more of a speed horse taking the early lead.

An important note, this is pre-alpha gameplay (and the full, 13-minute video of the game is at the bottom of this post). Some features that fans remember of the original Mutant League Football are not seen here, but they will be included later. That includes bringing weapons on the field (a common tactic in Oakland) and Dirty Trick Plays, such as exploding footballs and bribed referees.

The final version, due to arrive on Windows PC as well as Xbox One and PlayStation 4 by January 2017, will also feature voice-over commentary, trash-talking players, and other elements to flesh out the scene.

Back to the game: tied at 21 with less than two minutes remaining, Ram Neutron drops back to pass and connects— with a sawblade carving across the 34-yard-line. Linebacker Von Killer scoops up the fumble and houses it for what appears to be the deciding score, 28-21.

This is Mutant Football League, however, where the ball is always in play thanks to the lingering specter of death and mutilation. (Indeed, a record 36 players are killed in this game. The previous record for a championship is zero, CTE notwithstanding.) In fact, late in the game Chronic is playing without a full side on defense (seven in Mutant Football League) because so many of their players have been blown to bits. Remember, as in the original Mutant League Football, you can win the game simply by killing all of the other team.

Scarolina manages to recover not one but two kickoffs in the final 1:23 to come back, and they carry Neutron — or his body parts, anyway — off the field after an MVP performance of 148 yards passing and two touchdowns. Chronic QB Praying Mantis goes 4-for-7 with 62 yards and one touchdown. Again, if you want to see the entire game in context, the full 13-minute video is below.

Digital Dreams' Michael Mendheim says Mutant Football League is about 55 to 60 percent complete as of this video. His development team (including himself) comprises five full-timers, along with some contractors and dedicated fans of the 23-year-old Sega Genesis classic pitching in on assets. The fans rallied to Mendheim's aid even after torching a poorly conceived Kickstarter in 2013, and this is what they've all built so far.

For more on Mutant Football Leaguesee our interview with Mendheim after the game's appearance at PAX Prime 2014.

Polygon Backstory is an in-depth conversation celebrating the games we love and play. This week's guest is Andrew Groen, whose new book Empires of Eve: A History of the Great Wars of Eve Online is the first attempt to document the history of a virtual world.