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Madden NFL 11 Preview

San Francisco, March 9th, 2010 -- EA Sports invited members of the media to the open doors of the luxurious and serene Press Club in downtown San Francisco Tuesday night to get a sneak peak at this year’s lineup of titles. A number of games were featured on display in the classy, yet contemporary winery in the form of playable demos. I had the chance to get some developer walk-throughs on Fifa Soccer: World Cup 2010 South Africa, Tiger Woods 11 on both the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360, and I was able to view a live demonstration of EA Sports MMA with developer insight.

Before I dive into breaking down each title’s upgrades, first a few insights on the direction of EA sports football titles.

The GM of EA Sports Tiburon Philip Holt discussed the key approaches and outlooks for NCAA Football 11 and Madden NFL 11 with their respective developers during the evening’s 30 minute presentation.

Holt touched on how the fans of the two major series will shape how the game is made through fan insight and forum feedback. Holt emphasized the importance of the discussion occurring online on forums such as ours, OperationSports.com. Holt mentioned Madden NFL 10’s Developer Ian Cummings blog, and his response to lack of pass rush on the OS forums through patch updates.

Other trends that EA Sports has taken akin to are the number of users now connected online – a good 75 percent and higher for both Madden NFL 10 and NCAA Football 10 players were connected online at some point in their game play.

NCAA 11 Outlook

NCAA developer Roy Harvey spoke about the direction of this year’s title. A great emphasis is being placed on creating the most diverse and realistically executed variety of offenses that are on display every Saturday in college football. Harvey is targeting the unique college offensive systems such as the spread attack in attempts to reflect and mirror the NCAA authenticity in the game as close as possible.

Harvey stated that NCAA 10 featured over 5,000 teams created in the Team Builder feature and 87 percent of the game was played in franchise mode by gamers. Moving forward with these trends, EA Sports is using their immense data tracking and stats to develop the games in ways that make sense to the fans of the franchise. The number of stats they have is unfathomable – millions of numbers were gathered.

In summary, Harvey stated that NCAA 11 is going to focus on the authentic college offensive systems, the core game play of course, and they are looking to appeal to and capture the emotion of the college game.

NCAA 11 Screenshot – it looked awesome in High Def.

 


A Faster Madden

Jeremy Strauser of Madden NFL 11 was next in line for the opening presentation at the Season Opener. Strauser stated that Madden NFL 11 will be data driven – and once again touched on how the OS forum feedback is much appreciated (Got to enjoy the love we received in a packed house full of the game industries best editorials)

Strauser threw some crazy numbers around regarding the data tracked in Madden NFL 10. 173 million data reports are made per day in Madden. Cool note: 7.5 million interceptions have been thrown by Brett Favre.

Here is where it gets interesting. When playing Madden, stiff arms and truck/highlight sticks are being implemented on the fly by the millions in-game around the world. During my review for the game (8.5/10 second opinion), I found the success rates to be a bit random in nature, with my running backs breaking tackles occasionally on the truck highlight stick; but not always. Sometimes I would even have the momentum advantage and catch a defensive back off guard at a tough tackling angle, but I still would get tripped up. Other times, I would break through three tackles in a row with Beanie Wells. Confusing.

The data that EA has collected is being used to drive the current Madden updates, and Madden NFL 11. Strauser stated in Madden NFL 10, gamers had a 23 percent rate of success on stiff arms – very close to the target rate of 25 percent that the developers established.

On the other hand, the truck/highlight stick had a success rate of 46 percent – which is supposed to be a much bigger risk in using. The developers immediately addressed the success rates on these moves to put in one of the Madden updates.

It will be interesting to see how this affects player ratings – can we count on players having a success rate of 23 percent on his stiff arm, even if it’s the best stiff arm in the game by a guy like Peterson taking on a smaller defender? These approaches open the door to a lot of questions on how the ratings come into play that Strauser did not discuss.

Another nice stat was that with the 330 plays in the game, users chose to run on average a total of 13 while playing online. Harvey explained that while the average Madden game takes about 63 minutes to complete, the actual in time playing amounts to a total of 17 minutes.

The goals for Madden NFL 11 is to make the game simpler to choose the plays you want, a deeper game play experience, and quicker in its accessibility.


Madden NFL 11 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 FORMULA316 @ 03/15/10 01:12 PM
"Cool note: 7.5 million interceptions have been thrown by Brett Favre."

Can we just get 'one option' for in-game saves? Just one
 
# 2 Droopy03 @ 03/15/10 01:41 PM
man it is good just to hear something
 
# 3 J Masta J @ 03/15/10 02:01 PM
I'm sorry, but what does this mean? Is it anything new? Didn't we already know they were tracking all of this info and that they already knew how many picks Favre had thrown?

I'm confused.
 
# 4 reo @ 03/15/10 02:09 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by J Masta J
I'm sorry, but what does this mean? Is it anything new? Didn't we already know they were tracking all of this info and that they already knew how many picks Favre had thrown?

I'm confused.
Yep. Nothing new. Oh well . . .
 
# 5 mvb34 @ 03/15/10 02:14 PM
I guess this the tease before all the info comes up..
 
# 6 Cryolemon @ 03/15/10 02:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMChrisS
Cool note: 7.5 million interceptions have been thrown by Brett Favre.
Not too many more than in real life then
 
# 7 SBartlett @ 03/15/10 02:46 PM
yeah most of the info here was already released. we just don't turn out the info as quick as the other media outlets like ign, espn, because we are so small in comparison. i did write some impressions to a few games, with more to come to give you an insight and impression from an OS writer - not a main stream media reviewer/writer!
 
# 8 Stroehms @ 03/15/10 02:58 PM
Very good read. Thanks for posting.
 
# 9 Blackout863 @ 03/15/10 03:42 PM
The reason farve threw so many is because a high percentage of online users just run to the vikings because they are oneof the 3 best teams. And of course most ppl cant win without the best teams
 
# 10 PantherBeast_OS @ 03/15/10 06:25 PM
Ain't this old news. I think this certain info was in a thread posted be a few people late last week including Steve-o. But thanks for the reminder bro. This will help madden 11 out some.
 
# 11 Dashdagreat @ 03/15/10 09:02 PM
As usual... a bunch of nothing from EA
 
# 12 stlstudios189 @ 03/15/10 09:12 PM
I do worry about the online focus
 
# 13 Valdarez @ 03/15/10 09:20 PM
This sounds like the same news story from a couple of days ago. I just hope these guys are mining/using their data properly. If a hit stick only works 23% of the time, and it's meant to work 50%, you don't simply make it more easy to use the hit stick. You have to look at 'why' it was only working 23% of the time. Were people using it when they weren't supposed to? If so, then you need to train the gamers better so they know 'when' to use it and 'when' not to use it.

All of the data they are collecting has as much potential to do harm the game design as it does to benefit it.
 
# 14 Jukeman @ 03/15/10 09:22 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCreep
It doesn't seem like everyone is reading this article with attention to detail. Old news? Some of it may be, but there's a very interesting portion that not one of ya has mentioned yet. Actually, this is the most important part of this article.

The paragraph where they touched on percentage rates for stiff arms and highlight moves anyone? Does that paragraph not make you wonder about whats under the hood in these football titles.

Let me break it down for you. The paragraph is basically saying that there is a success rate percentage in regards to how often a stiff arm, spin, etc will work. They're saying its only supposed to work 20 something percent of the time, well what about the players actual stiff arm rating? Does it even matter what the rating is, or is it fully based on the percentages?

That would explain the weird physics in Madden. If everything is based on a percentage, then the ratings will not have a big effect ya know.

Thats why momentum doesn't really mean much in this game. If the percentages dictate that this truck move aint gonna work this time around, it doesn't matter if you're plowing ahead full speed with a bruiser RB to meet a lightweight corner back who's in a weird position, the corner is GOING to make the tackle. See what I'm saying.
Ratings dictake the success rating(percentage) atleast thats how they said it work in NFL HC
 
# 15 Valdarez @ 03/15/10 09:47 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCreep
Things are happening because of percentage rates? This would also explain the feeling that you get that things seem to be scripted/phony.
Agreed, this is one of my biggest problems with the passing game. Instead of using the percentages to limit the QB's throwing ability and thus what the user can do with the QB, it seems to bottle you into their passing percentages, which is something I abhor from a design / implementation standpoint.
 
# 16 HiTEqMETHOD @ 03/16/10 01:07 AM
"A great emphasis is being placed on creating the most diverse and realistically executed variety of offenses that are on display every Saturday in college football."

So that means defense isn't a focus this year? I'd rather have their full effort going toward making the games feel authentic. The game has gotten very boring and dull for a title that's suppose to be based on a college sport. If they barely touched the presentation/atmosphere I'll pass on buying like I did last year.
 
# 17 BigDuke @ 03/16/10 06:31 AM
Quote:
NCAA: 87 percent of the game was played in franchise mode by gamers.
Interesting. And yet it seems to be the mode EA continues to ignore.
 
# 18 sportyguyfl31 @ 03/16/10 08:45 AM
Eh. Nothing that I did not already know.
 
# 19 KBLover @ 03/16/10 11:09 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valdarez
Agreed, this is one of my biggest problems with the passing game. Instead of using the percentages to limit the QB's throwing ability and thus what the user can do with the QB, it seems to bottle you into their passing percentages, which is something I abhor from a design / implementation standpoint.

Eh - I guess I'm used to it playing text sims and what not.

Maybe that's why I don't find the idea of percentages impacting things so horrid.

As long as the ratings impacting the percentages make sense on both sides of the equation, I'm cool with it. Right now, my beef is that I don't think that's the case.
 
# 20 LBzrule @ 03/16/10 11:40 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCreep
It doesn't seem like everyone is reading this article with attention to detail. Old news? Some of it may be, but there's a very interesting portion that not one of ya has mentioned yet. Actually, this is the most important part of this article.

The paragraph where they touched on percentage rates for stiff arms and highlight moves anyone? Does that paragraph not make you wonder about whats under the hood in these football titles.

Let me break it down for you. The paragraph is basically saying that there is a success rate percentage in regards to how often a stiff arm, spin, etc will work. They're saying its only supposed to work 20 something percent of the time, well what about the players actual stiff arm rating? Does it even matter what the rating is, or is it fully based on the percentages?

That would explain the weird physics in Madden. If everything is based on a percentage, then the ratings will not have a big effect ya know.

Thats why momentum doesn't really mean much in this game. If the percentages dictate that this truck move aint gonna work this time around, it doesn't matter if you're plowing ahead full speed with a bruiser RB to meet a lightweight corner back who's in a weird position, the corner is GOING to make the tackle. See what I'm saying.
Good careful analysis.
 

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