The last time NFL 2K graced video game consoles was in 2005 when then 2K5 was known as perhaps the greatest football game of all-time. Since then, Madden made an exclusive deal with the NFL to provide “simulation” football aka real teams, players, stadiums, etc.

“EA SPORTS is the exclusive publisher of NFL simulation games, and our partnership with the NFL and NFLPA remains unchanged,” an official statement from EA said. “Our agreements have always allowed for non-exclusive development of non-simulation games on various platforms.”

The NFL 2K series will be back, but they can only create “non-simulation” football, meaning completely created experiences not involving the NFL experience. This, however, will not kick in until 2021, but until then, the gaming team is hard at work thinking of new and creative ways to play football.

“The NFL is one of the most successful sports brands in the world, known for creating incredible entertainment for fans,” said 2K’s President, David Ismailer. “We’re thrilled to be back in business with the NFL in a partnership that will span multiple video games centered on fun, approachable and social experiences. It’s exciting to bring together 2K’s expertise in creating award-winning sports games with the NFL’s renowned status as a world-class entertainment and sports organization.”

So in a way, 2K won’t necessarily “challenge Madden’s throne” on the NFL experience, they can certainly provide meaningful alternates looking for something close to it.