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OS Roundtable: Where does EA Football Stand at the End of This Generation?
 
With this generation coming to a close, where does EA Football (NCAA Football and Madden) stand as we prepare to see the first next-gen football games? Do you think both games are behind the curve or are they in a position of strength heading into the new generation? Sound off!
 
Jayson Young: If we compare EA Tiburon's performance this generation to that of a football team, Madden NFL 06 was the equivalent of fumbling the opening kickoff and getting tackled on your own one-yard line.

After three straight incompletions, Madden NFL 10 was a miraculous fourth down conversion on par with Donovan McNabb to Freddie Mitchell in the Eagles' famous "fourth and twenty-six."

The very next play, Madden NFL 11, featured major locomotion changes which enabled zig-zag running and broke Madden's gameplay balance, making Madden NFL 11 comparable to a botched Barry Sanders run which loses a dozen yards zig-zagging in the backfield.

Madden NFL 12 and Madden NFL 13 were minimal gains, serving little purpose beyond setting up the inevitable coffin corner punt that is Madden NFL 25.

The next generation of Madden stands ready to return EA Tiburon's punt. Madden NFL 25 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One takes the field this November, facing another long drive that will begin with lousy field position, backed up against its own end zone.
 

NCAA was good but not great this prior generation.
 
Matthew Coe: This is a little unexpected for me to be honest. I had higher hopes and a higher level of confidence that Madden NFL 25 would deliver on XBOX 360 and PS3. The game (and series) has unfortunately missed the mark in my opinion.

EA Sports is dealing not from a position of strength going into the next-generation, but instead from a position of "prove it". There was a time when I was beginning to get excited about a PS 4/Xbox One Madden. After reading about a fully featured next-gen Madden NFL 25 with the improvements to AI and blocking that should be possible on the next consoles, I was beginning to sell myself on the idea of major improvement.

But after playing both the demo and the full version of Madden NFL 25 on XBOX 360, I'm more convinced than ever that we're not going to get a drastically changed experience due to the limitations created by the way that EA Sports views professional football. Actually, there are two things which bother me. The technical limitations of the Tiburon engine which currently exists and the lack of an "Everything you see on Sunday" vision which once existed in the game.

I'd agree with many critical sentiments which say this generation of Madden peaked with Madden NFL 10. Since then we've lost a lot of presentation elements, fight for the fumble, pro-tak, and numerous other little things. It feels like we've regressed in this generation and I don't see how Madden NFL 25 puts EA Sports in the position to sell gamers on the PS4 and Xbox One experience for the same game.

I'm heading into November more skeptical than I've been at any point. That doesn't bode well for how the just released Madden NFL 25 has negatively affected perception of the brand and the excitement for the game. The onus is clearly on EA Sports to prove to me that come November, things will be VERY different.
 
Robert Kollars: EA stands on somewhat shaky ground as we close this generation, but with no competition currently does it really matter?


I'm not a Madden or NCAA hater, I actually enjoy each title for what they are - a fun game of digital football, but neither title is a true simulation of the sport. I purchase each game every year and I have a realistic mindset and level of expectation when doing so, and that is why I can find enjoyment in playing them.

I am willing to overlook this whole generation of football, and chalk it up to a bad engine and poor design decisions early on. My hope is that with the supposed ease of developing on the upcoming generation of consoles, we will see quite an improvement and some corrections to the glaring issues each title is dealing with in their current state.

The clock will start ticking on EA starting in November when Madden comes out for the PS4 and and Xbox one. While there is no other alternative option for fans of football to currently turn to, it could mean they will simply stop turning towards their wallet to purchase either title. The upgraded graphical enhancements may be enough to get by in year one on the next generation of consoles - for the masses at least. However EA share-holders could be in for a financial shock in year two if the same problems plague each game again.


The next-gen football games will have to be better, there is no doubt about that.

Chris Sanner: Both Madden and NCAA Football had interesting tales this generation of consoles. NCAA ended up staying in a consistent area where it teetered on greatness but never quite got there, all while managing to innovate in a huge way with Online Dynasty.

Madden, on the other hand, started off so poorly, it has been trying to play catch up for the past few years. It didn't help big features were introduced one year and then almost completely taken out of the game the next -- consumers aren't stupid and saw a lack of vision for the game long term.

The past several years, it felt like EA has gotten their stuff together with some real direction and vision for the products. Things still aren't perfect, as the EA Football engine does have long-time nagging legacy issues -- but both NCAA and Madden are still far and away the best playing football games on the market.

Of course it also helps being the only major licensed football games on the market as well.

There are plenty of areas of improvement for next gen, but both series have a chance to take the next step on the next-generation of consoles. I'm not expecting an effort to knock things out of the park out of the gate -- no launch titles do that. But solid leaps forward in most every aspect is far from too much to ask on a football launch title.


Madden NFL 25 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 tril @ 09/03/13 01:00 PM
This statement by Mathew Coe -"EA Sports is dealing not from a position of strength going into the next-generation, but instead from a position of "prove it". ",

and this statement by Robert Collars- "EA stands on somewhat shaky ground as we close this generation, but with no competition currently does it really matter?:

These statements sum up the consumer/seller relationship with this series. That's been this entire generation of football.

Madden has improved but is still far behind when comparing it to the progress all sports games have made this generation. Maddens progress has been stale. Gameplay wise, Nothing has changed since the PS2 days. Only significant improvements has been the graphics. I
 
# 2 Step2001 @ 09/03/13 01:49 PM
EA/The Devs don't seem to want to listen to what the consumers want in the game. We surly don't want to hear the words "can't" & "won't" when it comes to adding vital things from everyday NFL into Madden.

You ask a question about the game (Madden 25) & get ignored. While you see them retweet praise upon their creation. Yet behind the scenes, you watch people post all the bugs and problems with the game. You don't ignore your customer base, sorry!

I await word on the PS4 version of Madden. I look at it like a glass half empty...........
I post in the Madden Wishlist hoping to drum up ideas like everyone else who posts there does. Reading all of the posts, you just see how everyone is on the same page of where this game should be & the direction for it's future.
I don't get that feeling from the developers/upper management have the same direction as we do.

I don't want to hear about the yearly timetable. NFL Head Coach 09 was one of the DEEPEST Franchise modes Ever. Josh Looman stated that the time they had to make the game was a lot shorter than people think. I was impressed.
When Looman came over to the Madden 10 dev team I expected great things......Madden 12, they added a lot of things back into the game. I thought whoa 13 was going to be a beast.

13 was different, I liked, but it needed MORE.....

Hearing everything about Madden 25, I just don't know what to expect now.

Would like to get a date that EA will do an info dump on Madden 25 next gen. This would help against the thoughts of "what are they trying to hide?"

Madden 12 they were excited and dumped ALL their info in May. The next two years it's all been quiet in my opinion.

We'll see............
 
# 3 jarvis1104 @ 09/03/13 02:10 PM
I finally bought NCAA 14 2 days ago and I'm absolutely shocked how much better it is than M25. The animations and infinity engine are actually smooth. The presentation isn't the best but it far exceeds M25's. Madden has a long way to go. I will always look back at the fact that Nfl 2K5 is a last generation game that has better presentation than every Madden game of this generation. Whats so hard about adding an actual halftime show???
 
# 4 xirdneh132 @ 09/03/13 02:10 PM
There were two games you could count on me buying, NCAA Football and Madden. Last year was the first year I did not purchase Madden and I didn't purchase it this year. NCAA Football has always been fun for me to play but has always underwhelmed and I never needed big things (decent pass coverage and the ability of using duplicate numbers isn't so much to ask is it?) from it. With everything going on it looks like this really could be the last year of NCAA Football. It's especially hard to go back to Madden and fully enjoy NCAA like I used to when you see NBA 2K and MLB The Show making such incredible games. I know football games have a lot more going on but when you see the continual advances from those two games, The Show was almost the perfect baseball game for me, you really get more frustrated with EA.
 
# 5 Dogslax41 @ 09/03/13 02:16 PM
EA ended with a college football game that plays the best of any football video game we have seen but still has a huge run defense imbalance issue. Problem is that the current standing of the college licenses are on anything but stable ground.

Madden 25 right now is a broken mess. There are many small nagging issues with Madden 25, but when connected career franchise is your big draw how can a game breaking error such as repeating draft classes make it into your final build. I guess the answer to that question is how as a company can you release a promotional demo designed to boost sales that has actual players on the field become invisible.

In my opinion this entire generation for EA's football titles has been the equivalent of having a goose that lays golden eggs and then tying a noose around its neck to choke as many eggs out of it as possible rather than feeding it and letting it lay more eggs year after year.

Madden has made missteps in the past but some of the issues in this year's game are flat out inexcusable.
 
# 6 chi_hawks @ 09/03/13 02:16 PM
Until people quit buying the games, EA is in a position of power. The lack of innovation, pathetic Q/A efforts, and focus on revenues versus consumers would normally result in awful sales. However, EA has the trump card with the NFL license. Their best title to date, IMHO, was Madden 05 (with Madden 10 close behind).
 
# 7 Armor & Sword @ 09/03/13 02:25 PM
Robert Kollars sums up my approach to EA Football both Madden and NCAA with this quote:

"I'm not a Madden or NCAA *****, I actually enjoy each title for what they are - a fun game of digital football, but neither title is a true simulation of the sport. I purchase each game every year and I have a realistic mindset and level of expectation when doing so, and that is why I can find enjoyment in playing them."


For the record I found the NCAA series far better over the course of this console cycle. Starting with NCAA 11 that series made strides with 12, 13 and now the best in the series ever in 14.


I can't say the same for Madden in the way of consistent progress. My first title on this cycle was Madden 10....which on the field blew me away but off the field crushed me. Madden 11 made one great feature in Gameflow/Gameplanning.


Madden 12 off the field as well as AI on the field for the CPU made that version the most replayable up to this point.


Madden 13..........ok not going there anymore.




Madden 25 IMO is the most impressive Madden package ever in the way of modes, intuitive menus and a great user interface in Connected Franchise. The depth of CFM is also for me quite impressive. On the field the game has been a huge surprise for me. I went in expectating nothing after really loathing M13's sloppy half finished product. M25 feels finished in many aspects.


Play by Play and color is the best it has ever been for a Madden title.
The passing game is so much fun, and feels really smooth.
The running game is something to behold on both NCAA and Madden this year.
The depth of CFM and the XP system is highly addictive.
Online CFM with real mature sim players is amazing.


So there are many positives to take away this gen. I think the real focus was more for online players than offline (I am primarily on offline player but have played in a very successful NCAA 11 and 12 online dynasty) and am now part of a superb 32 owner Online CFM.




I also tend to agree with this quote as well from Robert:


"I am willing to overlook this whole generation of football, and chalk it up to a bad engine and poor design decisions early on. My hope is that with the supposed ease of developing on the upcoming generation of consoles, we will see quite an improvement and some corrections to the glaring issues each title is dealing with in their current state."


The final verdict for the roundtable question is a loaded answer. I think for those who approach the game as I (and apparently Robert) do, at the end of this gen with Madden 25 I can say it was a huge success. I say this because it is hands down the best Madden football title I have ever played. And that was all I ever wanted to say about a Madden title this gen. I almost was able to say that with M12.....but on the field (off the field it was sterile and lifeless) it had a couple of glaring warts that I could not get past to make it the most fulfilling title in the series history. It felt like Madden 12 was a stop gap.....a band aid to a heavily bleeding wound.


Madden 25 feels like a game almost fully realized after getting out of the gates really late (it took them 5 tries to actually make a playable game on the field.


Compared to the PS2/XBOX era they hit gold on their 4th try in Madden 2004. And hit a grand slam on their 5th try. On the PS3/360 era that monster hit (and it is not a grand slam but i will give them a solo HR) did not come till the last game of the cycle.


NCAA 14 was a product of a steady climb starting with NCAA 11. This years itteration is also hands down the best college football video game ever made.


So what's next?


I think EA will hit the wheelhouse by Madden 16. I think for it to be a grand slam it will need:


A fully realized presentation package (NFL Network or ESPN style presentation, half time show, weekly wrap up show, dynamic play by play and color, player of the game interviews, robust franchise hub building off of this years CFM) and fully realized player interactions all over the field 1-22.


I have faith it can be done. I think the fact they will have a better engine to build from out of the gate will work wonders.


They must be focused though and have a clear vision and must be allowed to mold and build off features....not add and subtract every iteration.


I will be curious....and playing M25 and NCAA 14 on my PS3 for the next 2 years as I watch the new consoles work out their bugs, let developers get a grasp of the new power...then dive in when I see the all clear sign.
 
# 8 grodbetatted @ 09/03/13 02:28 PM
I am completely content with how Madden is leaving this generation. Animations look smooth, the blocking schemes are better, Smarter AI, just a better overall game. There are improvements year over year. I honestly believe if this game had that 2k Sports label on it, people would be more accepting of the game, but since it has EA branding it doesn't get the credit it deserves. They say Madden doesn't change every year when honestly its Madden 2010 plays way differently then Madden 25. Even Madden 13 isn't as fluid or as realistic, but I'm sure I will be shunned for speaking positively about Madden but I don't really care.
 
# 9 jarvis1104 @ 09/03/13 02:36 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by grodbetatted
I am completely content with how Madden is leaving this generation. Animations look smooth, the blocking schemes are better, Smarter AI, just a better overall game. There are improvements year over year. I honestly believe if this game had that 2k Sports label on it, people would be more accepting of the game, but since it has EA branding it doesn't get the credit it deserves. They say Madden doesn't change every year when honestly its Madden 2010 plays way differently then Madden 25. Even Madden 13 isn't as fluid or as realistic, but I'm sure I will be shunned for speaking positively about Madden but I don't really care.
Idk why anyone would shun you. Its just your opinion. I have thoroughly enjoyed Madden every year until M13. I just feel like the infinity engine should not have been released until next gen when it was truly polished. The post play animations drive me crazy at times. I understand all the improvements made to CFM but I want to be able to edit player ratings myself also. I feel as though I am in the minority with this request though.
 
# 10 RandyBass @ 09/03/13 03:08 PM
Bravo Jayson Young.

However if the analogy you used were to take place within Madden, then the punt probably would have just carried on into the end zone with the physics of a basketball and not a football. 1st and 10 at the 20.
 
# 11 xCeeTee @ 09/03/13 06:13 PM
I've not been the biggest football fan in the world, but I've at least played every Madden since '09, only missing '08 and '07 in the series, and played every Madden since '03 before then. In my opinion, '04 had the most playability, until Madden 25. That, it just blew the roof for me, the owner mode just intoxicated me as soon as I picked up the Early Access copy, I'm actually renting the game this week and I'm going to contemplate whether or not to buy it. I actually blew off my friends for a few hours to play it, I couldn't understand it, I felt like I was back in my own sadistic little gaming bubble again, but I wanted to release it to the world through YouTube, my owner struggles. I won a Super Bowl with the Chargers in my first season as an owner, only playing 5 regular season games, and the Super Bowl itself, I did have it on All-Pro, but I'm awful at the gameplay. I do have to say, the transition between Madden 13 and Madden 25 took a few downs, but the defense has been massively improved and is now the key part of my game. I hope Ultimate Team has more playability, and I might even post a YouTube series of a Road to Division 1. But, with the NCAA Football 15, it doesn't look likely. But, this could mean that 2K may just invest into the costs so they can bring out their own version of College Hoops. It's a shame that EA are losing schools and leagues inside the NCAA, because a collection of NCAA Football 15, Madden 15, College Hoops 15 and NBA Live 15 would be amazing! Wait... NCAA Live 15?
 
# 12 bxphenom7 @ 09/03/13 07:01 PM
It's simple people, don't buy Madden, I haven't bought it since 08 and will continue to withhold from getting a football game until EA at least starts putting quality improvements first instead of making money. I'd rather wait until there's another competitor with the NFL license even if that meant I'd have to wait year after year. I've been doing so, and I'm getting used to the same reactions about Madden: the masses/casual enjoy it, the purists don't because it is not up to simulation standards other sports games are or are closely approaching.
 
# 13 riichiieriich @ 09/03/13 07:52 PM
It's amazing how the Madden's in the PS1 and PS2/Xbox days continually got better, and then once 2006 hit, next-gen Madden went into the s***ter. Hasn't really recovered ever since. The amount of regression is astounding. "New" features in this years Madden and last years Madden were already in the Madden's from the PS2 days. How is that possible?

1. Because the consumers are naive enough to keep buying these essential roster updates with extra gloss.
2. EA's monopoly of the football video game and due to this, allowing themselves to marginally update their game because there is no competition.
 
# 14 ColtCrazy @ 09/03/13 10:24 PM
I enjoy Madden 25…it's my favorite of this gen. But what is that really saying? Unless I hear unanimous reports that xbox one/ps4 versions are steps ahead, I'll happily stick with Madden 25 and not go forward. The game is good, but flawed. And maybe that's as good as we are going to get.
 
# 15 illiterateoption @ 09/03/13 11:26 PM
I think it depends on which game your using as the foundation moving forward. If they use NCAA14, and incorporate some of the FUN thats found in that game over to Madden then we might have something.

NCAA 14 as it is now is a ton of fun for me. So much so that it may keep me form Madden 25 until I hear more positives. NCAA 14 has brought me back into Dynasty mode in such a way that I haven't been since NCAA 2004.

The thing with Madden, even the later iterations (12 and 13) that are at least playable is that they are laborious to enjoy. I feel like its alot of work to sit down and enjoy a franchise game of madden, if that makes sense.
 
# 16 tril @ 09/04/13 12:11 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyBass
Bravo Jayson Young.

However if the analogy you used were to take place within Madden, then the punt probably would have just carried on into the end zone with the physics of a basketball and not a football. 1st and 10 at the 20.
LOL!!!!
true!!!
 
# 17 DBMcGee3 @ 09/04/13 08:48 AM
The most frustrating thing to me is that EA knows what people think, and they simply don't care because they have these exclusive licenses behind them. They can throw around their buzz words and pretend that old features are new, but when the game comes out every year, they know it sucks just like we do, and they are totally ok with charging the same retail price as other games that are far, far superior. I am in year 3 of my EA boycott, and it just keeps getting easier with each crappy game they make.
 
# 18 PJ33 @ 09/04/13 10:24 AM
Compared to improvements made in other sports titles I give Madden a 4/10 this generation. I have played every version of the college and nfl series on this generation of consoles and have not seen the improvement put into the other sports titles that other companies are doing.

Defensive line play is horrible. I can try to run away from a blocker in Madden 25 and still get stuck unable to move because the lineman has me in a block animation. I thought this was all fixed...

The presentation improvements have been minimal. I went back last night just to check the difference between last gen and this gen. Not trying to sound like a homer but 2k5 had the presentation down with graphic cuts during play selection, replays where they circle the blocks or holds or facemasks. A halftime show with replays. A weekly show with highlights through the league. How has none of that made it to this generation?

Another issue I have and it drives me nuts is the challenges. In Madden 25 I have a guy pick off a pass near the numbers (he was about 5 yards in bounds) he gets stuck with one leg in the air and skates out of bounds. I challenge the play thinking there is no way possible he didn't get two feet down from where he was on the field and sure enough I lose.
The other instance was a guy standing two feet on the white line recovering a fumble and I challenge that and am wrong again as apparently you can stand out of bounds and recover the ball in madden.
Again,. last gen 2K gave you the option to even challenge different aspects of a play. My game I played last night I threw a little flare pass and the receiver catches it gets hit and fumbles and the other team recovers. Madden would have given me the option to only challenge the fumble. I was able to overturn the call on the last gen by choosing to challenge the catch.

I could go on and on about the little things that some how didn't make it in this generation that drives me nuts, and scares me from wanting to even give the next generation a try. Until there is competition I doubt we see any drastic improvements. EA will just push out another hype video as they did in 06 and get everybody to buy it.
 
# 19 rtkiii @ 09/04/13 10:29 AM
I still enjoy M13 - I played it for about 6 hours the other night as a player. I feel that game was a success and a step in the right direction. If they tweak a few things in presentation and sloppy after plat animations I think madden could be a great game...but they seem to struggle with the presentation.
 
# 20 kjcheezhead @ 09/04/13 01:25 PM
Jayson young couldn't have said it any better. Looking at the situation it appears they are about where they started this gen and are choosing to build off this broken game. They are starting inside there own 5 and facing the 2000 ravens defense. It doesn't look good.
 

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