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Three Ways Madden Next-Gen has to Impress Us Stuck
Posted on August 29, 2013 at 10:16 AM.

Reaction to the current-gen version of Madden has been somewhat all over the place thus far.

Myself and Dustin Toms (associate editor here at OS) were in agreement about how this year's game was likely to be polarizing with some loving it and others hating it -- it was literally the perfect storm.

The poll linked above, and as of this writing, is a pretty balanced poll -- and likely indicates overall temperament to the game will fall in the good or average realm for most. Polls like the one linked usually overestimate the great and good reactions for many as the excitement of a new product wanes.

This has been the story for Madden NFL throughout this generation. If I had to sum up what I thought about this generation in a sentence it would be: Started off really bad, ended up good but not close to all-time greatness.

The problem is, Madden NFL represents the most popular sport in America and people are expecting greatness every year. To have a product which consistently teeters towards greatness but doesn't quite get there is frustrating for myself and the rest of the sports gaming audience who just wants a great game of football.

In my opinion, Madden has three very specific areas which have to feel markedly different on next-gen to be considered great -- and with scant details thus far, we have no idea where the product is actually going to end up.

1)More Dynamic Gameplay- The buzzword of next-gen to me is dynamic. The computing power and memory is there for more random occurrences which look realistic. I'm talking about more dynamic physics, better AI which reacts to what's going on the field in a much more realistic manner, and more animations and ways for players to interact. Wideouts and DBs jockeying for position, linemen engaged in real battles and not black hole suction vortices, and even more realistic piling of players and short runs.

There are a lot of things wrong simulation wise with Madden, as the game takes some creative shortcuts to appear realistic even though it is not, I'd like for those creative shortcuts to be eliminated in favor of real solutions and for additional dynamic features to be added to the on-field action.

2)Presentation- The presentation in EA Football has been a joke of a joke of a jokester forever. The game looked to be on the right track in the past few releases, but this year it seems like no one wanted to cross over into greatness territory. The commentary is still average at best, the camera sweeps are ok at best, and the game is stuck somewhere between trying to be Hollywood and a realistic broadcast presentation of the NFL.

I've long pushed for Madden and NCAA to adopt an ultra-realistic TV presentation as that is how most every football fan experiences the game today. More work should be put into the commentary, TV wipes, camera angles, and other broadcast elements. My big and bold suggestion: Hire some college and pro broadcast directors to come in and help make this portion of the game shine.

As strange as it sounds, the current gameplay would even be more bearable as-is for a season if the presentation was off the charts good.

3)More Dynamic Career Modes- First, let me give the folks down at Tiburon credit for Connected Franchise/Careers/Online Dynasty/Dynasty/etc. If there is one thing they've done pretty well on current gen, it is to create a fun/compelling experience within their single player modes and then taking those single player modes and making them fun and compelling online.

With that said, next-gen means next level. I understand a balance has to be struck between going too deep and alienating the typical EA customer but going deep enough to satisfy those who's voices you hear the most, the hardcore fans. I think it is time for all sports games and not just Madden to start incorporating the most overlooked portion of sports into the game: emotion.

EA Sports Ignite does say this will be the case, but is it anything more than just a visual addition? If a player gets visibly mad, will losing their composure impact their performance? I want to see players visibly lose their composure and have their performance suffer because of it. I want to see an option to manage the emotions of a team, I want to see how a team is handling losing a big game. I want to experience the challenge of playing a week 17 after you just lost the last playoff spot in the prior week.

Sports are just as much about emotion and preparedness as they are talent. Currently, Madden and other sports games largely only focus on talent. For a game to be 'sim', it has to start figuring out how to incorporate those other two factors as well.


What do you want to see out of the next-generation of Madden?
Comments
# 1 tril @ Aug 29
agree with everything you said except

"The problem is, Madden NFL represents the most popular sport in America and people are expecting greatness every year. To have a product which consistently teeters towards greatness but doesn't quite get there is frustrating for myself and the rest of the sports gaming audience who just wants a great game of football."
every other sports game strived for and surpassed or kept up with greatness. if those titles didnt reach greatness, theyd implement something revolutionary (MLB2k analog pitching mechanics and hitting)

with that being said- there had better be

1. penalties, penalties, and more penalties that actually work. Football has penalties.

2. more slder options. Madden has been using the same set of sliders for too long. give users plenty of slider options like other sports games.

3. in game saves

4. adjustable simulated minutes.

5. bring back advanced control options. there was a time where you could turn on or off user catches etc. bring those back. last time Ive seen those type of options was back on the PS2.
 
# 2 Demoncrom @ Aug 29
Best bet it let 2K make football again, then I bet we would see some innovation:

Sign my petition so I can tell the NFL we have had enough:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/e...natures/page/2
 
# 3 Demoncrom @ Aug 29
Also you are so right about the lack of emotion. Play end every one back to huddle no extra shoves no pushed... nothing. Run out of bounds no one gets out of your way again nothing.

Its the generic state of the game. Last gen and I am talking 8 years ago you could put in your own stadium music what happened to that - oh that's right that was 2K Football.
 
# 4 FreAk47 @ Aug 29
Good read, I agree completely with the Dynamic Gameplay segment. The game needs to feel like anything can happen on any given play. Pile ups, arms reaching out off of blocks, every bump or shove can affect the play, we just don't see that now. I want to see tackles where 6 or 7 people are involved in the play...these are common things in the NFL.
 
# 5 Blazelore @ Aug 29
There should be no excuse why we couldn't have HC09 like off season with watching the combine and training camps and all! Also could they give us a simple option to upload our own picture if they don't have a game face for them? Just saying...
 
# 6 inkcil @ Aug 29
I'm sorry but Madden does NOT teeter towards greatness. That is a gross misjudgment.
 
# 7 Dolphins88 @ Aug 29
How come Europes sport gets 2 games and America's game gets 1.. What gives.. Let 2 k back in the game and make some realistic football.. Enough of this monopolizing bs
 
# 8 wallofhate @ Aug 29
I can't lie I'm getting real nervous for next gen. It's almost like the real nfl in the aspect of they're changing so many things that imo are making a game I love worse and they're in a position to know ppl like me and many of us love the sport so much they know we are going to eat it up no matter how bland our genetic the taste.
Hopefully next gen like you said just makes it like an tv broadcast first and f foremost. Secondly they have to do the little things. The things that make ppl pause and say " man that's crazy". The stuff that makes you call your girl or wife and show them knowing they don't care but you feel like you have to show someone the awesomeness lol. I don't have to list every example of this but things like linebackers going up and tapping the dt to move over when you soft the d line. Qbs pointing out the blitzer and etc. Graphically I know it will be better than anything we've seen before but we need all the cleats, gloves and small visually details that differentiate players. Bring the strategy back to the game. Ppl will enjoy the game regardless if it's technical they'll find joy in playing the game on lower levels. I play mlb the show. I don't know the first thing of a double switch or when to bunt our sac fly lol but I enjoy the he'll out the game despite that. Ea should realize that aspect. I have my hopes but I'm definitely skeptical.
 
# 9 Bull_Dozer @ Aug 29
I'm not buying Madden 25 on current gen. And for me to buy it on next-gen, they need to blow me away. And not graphically. I know the visuals will be stunning.
 
# 10 tarek @ Aug 29
I agree with alot of your points. To me it might be a little difficult to create the emotion based effects you talk of with having them as random, yet scripted events (and potentially a slider/level adjustment that would indicate whether you wanted none, few or alot of those events).
I like the idea of semi-scripted storylines that currently occur in the created draft classes. You see that extend a little into the franchise now with players coming out of retirement and what not. These small storyline flashes usually are enough for users.
However, with the reliance on being online, it always strikes me as odd to not have actual stories/reports involving particular players linked into their player screen. Since i'm only a relatively new NFL fan, I'm forever looking up players wikipedia pages and googling them just to know who they are and what they've been through. I sign a player to a training camp invite then look him up on the ipad and realise he had a pro bowl season in 2009, then a few injuries and now he's fighting for a job. His injury rating is a 75 or something but he's talented, so I bring him in and form my own story and history in my mind.
That kind of stuff doesn't need to be spoon fed to us, it just needs to exist and then allow us as users to either expand on it inside our Madden universe or ignore it.
 
# 11 frankwyte81 @ Aug 29
I also agree with most of the points already written.
1.) A wider range of penalties is a must, hell in having the refs blow a cal or two during the duration of the game would be cool also.
2.) Dynamic gameplay is a big thing that needs to be added. Ever since last year's game, EA has been using the phrase, "no game will be the same." From the the games I've been playing that's further from the truth. I see the same tackles, same recycled commentary that I got on the my nerves from the previous game and some of it is recycled from NCAA. I'm also tired of the generic, ugly, useless teammates on the sideline. Make the teammates actual functioning part of the game. Let them catch and pick up their teammate that was pushed out of bounds by the pursuing linebacker. Bring some life to this generic version of so-called football. i know the new engine is suppose to cover this topic, but I hope it's done correctly.
3.) Authenticity, I want to feel like I'm living and breathing football. The kind feeling I get when I play NBA 2k14. 2k's basketball game makes me feel like I'm playing for something. i wish Madden 25 next gen can capture some of that lore. Replicate the the game, capture player's run styles, sort of like what 2k football did with it's animations and what 2k basketball does with authentic player jumpshots.
4.) One more thing, fix the glitches and cheats, preferably in the online matches. I use to be a big online guy but now, meh.

I'm a die hard fan of the NFl and I've been playing Madden for about 20 years, but lately my playing time has been decreasing from lack of interest in the game. It doesn't keep my attention, lately the game has been down-right awful and unpleasant to play.
 
# 12 rtkiii @ Aug 30
Great read - PRESENTATION should be right at the top of EA's list. It is horrible and always has been. Just copy what NFL 2k5 did with ESPN. LEGENDARY. I like the idea of the emotions in sports. I'd like to see that developed.
 
# 13 cmidd @ Aug 30
The things I'm looking for will never happen because the nfl will say it sends the wrong message to the younger players but I'll list them anyway.

If your going to give players these personalities, then these personalities should play out on and off the field. Say my created player is a WR like Randy Moss and I break one of Randy's records. I should be able to snub Randy like Randy did Jerry rice, then brag that I'm the greatest WR to play the game. If I'm a DT or de LB etc. and I make a hit on the QB, I want the option during the cut scene to either help him up or shove him back down while he is trying to get up. These actions should also lead to punishments like fines and suspensions or negative fan reactions or even end my career by being considered too big a risk to keep on the team and impact other teams willingness to sign me. I could anger the head coach like T.O. by asking for the ball to much or blame the QB for us losing the game. NBA 2k already does some of this but I don't feel it's deep enough. Maybe the player I was arguing with gets on the fake twitter feed and talks poorly of me. Maybe the QB I shoved back down tells espn things like "Theres no room in the league for that kind of behavior." Don;t know if any of this is in the new versions (13and 25) I'm assuming they are not. I should have the option to skip practice, or hold out if the contract offered is not to my liking. Give to charities like in 2k but deeper, like espn reporting on that the good things I've done. There should be scuffles on the field that refs have to break up, not the same cut scene of two players jawing back and forth with each other. If I make a late hit on the qb his O-linemen should come after me. It's missing the spirit of competition. These things happen, and should be in the game for that reason. Kids are going to see this when watching the game, they are going to read about it. Perhaps that's the problem EA isn't adding these things because the NFL wants their players to act generic like the those in the game. No passion or emotion.
 
# 14 Grey_Osprey @ Aug 31
Good article.

Personally, next gen I'd like to see an emphasis on getting away from the canned animations and going to Real Time Presentation. I think the Show's been using RTP since '10, if I'm not mistaken, not sure why EA/Madden can't go that route.

Gameplay wise, there's a lot of issues that need worked on - OL/DL and WR/DB interaction and teethered passing would be at the top of my list. Penalties and sliders need some serious work too.
 
# 15 malky @ Aug 31
You are so right the presentation is awful I find myself going back to 2k5 just to feel truly involved in my franchise, ea has to be better
 

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