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Madden NFL 20 Beta Feedback and Gameplay Adjustments: Our Analysis

Madden NFL 20

Madden NFL 20 Beta Feedback and Gameplay Adjustments: Our Analysis

The general consensus from those who were handpicked to play the Madden 20 beta is that this year’s game feels surprisingly good. Still, that doesn’t mean there was not anything to improve in the beta, and so on July 18 EA released a blog discussing the changes they have made to the game based on the feedback they received from the community.

Things I’m Excited About

  • Admittedly, I’ve always been a sucker for presentation and the different nuances that make sports video games so realistic. So when the developers drop hints that they’ve added different shots of the stadiums, layouts, pregame introductions, QB user celebrations and post-play presentation I get a little excited. We all know how great NFL 2K was at making a video game feel like an NFL broadcast. I think EA can do the same.
  • Some of my favorite changes are no changes at all. Specifically, with the pass rush. During my brief time with the demo, the pass rush was on steroids. And although it was hard to adjust to at first, it made me feel like an NFL QB trying to elude the rush of an elite pass rusher. EA also decided to keep passing animations and zone coverage exactly the way they were. Man coverage was tuned to help DBs be more effective on man beaters. This is very promising for the future of the Madden franchise.
  • In the beta, users were noticing a large number of illegal man downfield penalties. This is something EA says will not be changed and is going to happen if users hang onto the football for longer than two seconds. New to this year’s Madden is user-controlled tight end block and release. What this means is that the blue routes/block and release TEs will now be controlled by the user. So it will be up to each individual to decide when to release from the block. Your player’s awareness rating will decide how responsive he is to the button.  
  • Fifth-year options have been added to Connected Franchise Mode, in addition to Scenarios. These Scenarios are interactions that players have with teammates, coaches, fans, etc. EA wants to bring a living world to Madden.

Questions I Have

  • It appears EA has done the best they could with explaining X-Factors and Superstar Abilities because they have tried to place them anywhere, and everywhere throughout Madden 20. However, due to some of the changes to the controls, this is probably going to be one of the hardest transitions in Madden 20. I’m just a bit skeptical that users will be able to play a game seamlessly without having to pause the game and read about each ability. EA is trying to prevent this from happening, but time will tell. Thankfully, this concern should go away with repetition.
  • Previously, I mentioned some of the changes that have been made to the controls in Madden 20. These changes are intended to make life easier for users, but could complicate things even more. Here are the changes that EA made to the controls in this year’s game.

In order to facilitate getting players this information while in-game, some changes had to be made to defensive pre-play adjustments. While we know these changes will create some temporary friction in the opening week, we are confident that our players will learn the button-mapping in a short amount of time. Be sure to get at least 100 reps every night before bed with the new pre-play mechanics and you’ll have it re-learned in no time! Here’s a list of the pre-play changes:

  • RT/R2 in pre-play is now Superstar Vision AND play-art
  • LT/L2 in pre-play is now Coach Cam with the Match-Up wheel
  • LB/L1 is now defensive keys (which previously were on LT/L2)
  • Defensive Line adjustments are now Left D-Pad (which previously were on LB/L1)
  • Linebacker adjustments are now Right D-Pad (which previously were on RB/R1)

Conclusion

This year, it appears a lot of good has come from the beta period. And after the developers have made some minor tweaks and adjustments to the finished product, excitement is at an all-time high. But that doesn’t mean there’s still not work to be done. EA must continue to address the glaring issues while refining the good they’ve already done. Madden 20 won’t be perfect, but if it’s anything like the beta, I think many fans will be more than happy with the final product.

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    • Defensive Line adjustments are now Left D-Pad (which previously were on LB/L1)
    • Linebacker adjustments are now Right D-Pad (which previously were on RB/R1)

    Just as a minor footnote to the control changes: these two are already in Madden 19 as secondary button mappings, so you can start reprogramming your muscle memory now. They’re actually holdovers from the Strategy Pad introduced way back in Madden 11.
    I originally swore off this Madden, which would have been the first time ever, but the feedback from the beta was pretty damn good plus EA coming out afterwards saying the things that were great are not going to be changed. Loved a lot of what I heard so I am back on the Madden train and will be trading in my barely played 19 this weekend.
    The author claims that "Man coverage was tuned to help DB's be more effective on man beaters. This is very promising for the future of the Madden franchise."
    This is not a complete reflection of what was released in EA's blog which stated the following:

    The above shows that, while DB's will be more aware in certain situations, skilled wide receivers will be able to be more effective on routes and concepts designed to beat man coverage.
    CM Hooe
    Just as a minor footnote to the control changes: these two are already in Madden 19 as secondary button mappings, so you can start reprogramming your muscle memory now. They’re actually holdovers from the Strategy Pad introduced way back in Madden 11.

    I mentioned this in a comment on an Eric Rayweather video. He seemed to make it sound like a ‘new addition’ as well. I’ve always used the D-pad. I didn’t like the shoulder buttons, which I believe they added because they mapped ‘up’ and ‘down’ to the camera system introduced in M16, I believe. ‘Up’ used to be the coverage audibles, of course. I always liked the ‘convenience’ of those options on the D-pad. But, I also like the quick change camera system, so it’s all good.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    EA's comment regarding "we know this will cause friction among our players" and "be sure to get 100 reps before bed each night" had me laughing. In other words, before you whine about the new controls, play the game a few times first.
    Everyone wants to whine that it is "the same old game" but then when something is changed... something as simple as controls... we are going to complain that we want it the way it used to be.
    edgevoice
    The author claims that "Man coverage was tuned to help DB's be more effective on man beaters. This is very promising for the future of the Madden franchise."
    This is not a complete reflection of what was released in EA's blog which stated the following:

    The above shows that, while DB's will be more aware in certain situations, skilled wide receivers will be able to be more effective on routes and concepts designed to beat man coverage.

    I find this information to be very important. I have always disliked the way certain routes were man-beaters in Madden, as in always successful against man coverage, because it just doesn't work that way.
    I am happy that Madden finally broke up route running by area of short, medium, deep; but that is just a part of the route running abilities of a receiver.
    Receivers all have routes they run better or worse, and this can help dictate Man coverages and what the defender will look for, along with other pre-snap setups. Most receivers have "tells" as they leave the line - are they shuffling their feet or driving hard? A skilled Man coverage player can pick up on what is going on and challenge so-called man-beater routes.
    Then we get into pattern-matching which is zone/man. Which I hope M20 has continued to adjust from the knowledge gained in M19 where Cover 4 really suffered, along with other coverage concepts involving pattern-matching.
    I'm usually on the "They shouldn't change their new addition, get used to it" train, but I have to say I'm disappointed they aren't nerfing the illegal man downfield penalties.
    On RPOs, I'd hit the pass button immediately and very frequently still get a penalty. I think it needs to be tweaked, and it isn't a matter of whether or not I'm good enough at RPOs.
    ijumpedthegun
    I'm usually on the "They shouldn't change their new addition, get used to it" train, but I have to say I'm disappointed they aren't nerfing the illegal man downfield penalties.
    On RPOs, I'd hit the pass button immediately and very frequently still get a penalty. I think it needs to be tweaked, and it isn't a matter of whether or not I'm good enough at RPOs.

    I had zero penalties when I had ran it, multiple teams and just trying it out. Your oline making a mistake isn’t a fault to make it easier
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    ijumpedthegun
    I'm usually on the "They shouldn't change their new addition, get used to it" train, but I have to say I'm disappointed they aren't nerfing the illegal man downfield penalties.
    On RPOs, I'd hit the pass button immediately and very frequently still get a penalty. I think it needs to be tweaked, and it isn't a matter of whether or not I'm good enough at RPOs.

    If you want madden to feel like an arcade game with no real life rules you can. You can always turn off any penalties you don't want and you can play on the arcade setting where you won't see this penalty as much.
    This is something that too many people in the beta were also ignorant about.... This is a real life penalty. It's not a bug or something to be nerfed. It's a penalty and it either is or it isn't in the game. If RPOs are in the game this needs to be in the game, but like i said you can turn the penalty off if you want or play on the arcade setting if you don't want it to be realistic. In the same way, you can turn off roughing the passer and PI so you can just NFL Blitz dudes and not have anything get called.
    But if you want a realistic game, this has to be in and they implemented it perfectly in the beta.
    PhillyPhanatic14
    If you want madden to feel like an arcade game with no real life rules you can. You can always turn off any penalties you don't want and you can play on the arcade setting where you won't see this penalty as much.
    This is something that too many people in the beta were also ignorant about.... This is a real life penalty. It's not a bug or something to be nerfed. It's a penalty and it either is or it isn't in the game. If RPOs are in the game this needs to be in the game, but like i said you can turn the penalty off if you want or play on the arcade setting if you don't want it to be realistic. In the same way, you can turn off roughing the passer and PI so you can just NFL Blitz dudes and not have anything get called.
    But if you want a realistic game, this has to be in and they implemented it perfectly in the beta.

    You guys need to chill out a bit with your "all or nothing," "for me or against me" schtick--I'm not advocating for an unrealistic game or for the penalty to be turned off.
    I'm all for having the penalty, because that's the risk you run when you call an RPO. But it gets called too often. It gets called regardless of the timing of your read. It gets called sometimes regardless as to whether or not there is an illegal man downfield. I'm simply saying I think that this new feature needs to have the balance tweaked slightly, as most new features do.
    But get out of here with this "go play on arcade mode" or "NFL blitz" stuff. Chill, bro. lol
    ijumpedthegun
    It gets called sometimes regardless as to whether or not there is an illegal man downfield.

    I don't know because I did not have the beta but are you saying it is merely a dice roll on whether the penalty gets called and player position on the field is irrelevant? Pretty sad if that's the case.
    ijumpedthegun
    You guys need to chill out a bit with your "all or nothing," "for me or against me" schtick--I'm not advocating for an unrealistic game or for the penalty to be turned off.
    I'm all for having the penalty, because that's the risk you run when you call an RPO. But it gets called too often. It gets called regardless of the timing of your read. It gets called sometimes regardless as to whether or not there is an illegal man downfield. I'm simply saying I think that this new feature needs to have the balance tweaked slightly, as most new features do.
    But get out of here with this "go play on arcade mode" or "NFL blitz" stuff. Chill, bro. lol

    I'm not trying to be rude about it. Sorry if it came off that way. They mentioned in the stream that they didn't adjust the penalty on sim but on arcade it's much more forgiving. That's why i mentioned playing on arcade, because that's what you seem to want. I ran hundreds of RPOs in the beta and never saw an illegal man downfield penalty because the ball was always out within a second or two of the snap and linemen can't run up field that quickly.
    If they have the penalty on a slider then maybe you can mess with it to your liking that way instead of playing on arcade, but the way that it's set up is realistic and it's an all or nothing penalty, just like offsides. You can't have someone that jumps 1 foot offsides not get penalized, but someone who jumps 2 feet offsides get penalized. It's all or nothing if the game is going to be realistic with this penalty.
    Mack Attack 11
    I don't know because I did not have the beta but are you saying it is merely a dice roll on whether the penalty gets called and player position on the field is irrelevant? Pretty sad if that's the case.

    No. That isn't the case at all in the beta.
    During the beta I got it twice but that was my fault because I should have ran and the pass wasn't open. It takes some practice to understand when to run or pass. I'm glad if the non changes
    #MAKETHEMADJUST
    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
    4thQtrStre5S
    I find this information to be very important. I have always disliked the way certain routes were man-beaters in Madden, as in always successful against man coverage, because it just doesn't work that way.
    I am happy that Madden finally broke up route running by area of short, medium, deep; but that is just a part of the route running abilities of a receiver.
    Receivers all have routes they run better or worse, and this can help dictate Man coverages and what the defender will look for, along with other pre-snap setups. Most receivers have "tells" as they leave the line - are they shuffling their feet or driving hard? A skilled Man coverage player can pick up on what is going on and challenge so-called man-beater routes.

    My problem with Man-beaters was the separation especially on Corner Routes.
    Elite corners IRL do get beat by corners, out and posts , but more often than not there’s a small amount of separation which the requires precision throwing.
    In madden the separation is always like 7+ yards leaving a huge gap no matter the receiver and corner in coverage.
    What I noticed in the beta tho is that with the trajectories improved and wind ups , the DB did at least have opportunity to make a play on the ball after release.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Mack Attack 11
    I don't know because I did not have the beta but are you saying it is merely a dice roll on whether the penalty gets called and player position on the field is irrelevant? Pretty sad if that's the case.

    Nah it’s gonna get called if you wait to long to throw or mistime. Ran RPO’s in high school as a quarterback it’s a precision/timing play.... a misstep will result in the illegal man down field penalty because in the NFL the lineman can’t block more than 1 yard down field during the pass option on an RPO. In college it’s 3 yards.
    They run fine. I ran them perfect in the beta. My brother who has an issue doesn’t realize it’s really his timing and after practice he’ll perfect it
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    crunchy10
    I had zero penalties when I had ran it, multiple teams and just trying it out. Your oline making a mistake isn’t a fault to make it easier
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports

    Yeah I had 30 hours or so in the beta and only got penalized for that once myself..
    PhillyPhanatic14
    If you want madden to feel like an arcade game with no real life rules you can. You can always turn off any penalties you don't want and you can play on the arcade setting where you won't see this penalty as much.
    This is something that too many people in the beta were also ignorant about.... This is a real life penalty. It's not a bug or something to be nerfed. It's a penalty and it either is or it isn't in the game. If RPOs are in the game this needs to be in the game, but like i said you can turn the penalty off if you want or play on the arcade setting if you don't want it to be realistic. In the same way, you can turn off roughing the passer and PI so you can just NFL Blitz dudes and not have anything get called.
    But if you want a realistic game, this has to be in and they implemented it perfectly in the beta.

    Agreed!! I'm starting to think it strange that I wholeheartedly agree with every post of yours that I see. However, I am not an Eagles fan so there is that.
    ODogg
    Agreed!! I'm starting to think it strange that I wholeheartedly agree with every post of yours that I see. However, I am not an Eagles fan so there is that.

    Haha yeah man right back at ya. Same with roadman. Dude is on point.
    I played the beta. EA was correct to not change the illegal man downfield penalties. I ran at least 10-15 RPO plays per game and didn't get the penalty after I realized MY error. An RPO is a bang-bang split decision play.  If you don't want the penality just turn it off for you, but I am in favor of a sim style football game. 
    PhillyPhanatic14
    If you want madden to feel like an arcade game with no real life rules you can. You can always turn off any penalties you don't want and you can play on the arcade setting where you won't see this penalty as much.
    This is something that too many people in the beta were also ignorant about.... This is a real life penalty. It's not a bug or something to be nerfed. It's a penalty and it either is or it isn't in the game. If RPOs are in the game this needs to be in the game, but like i said you can turn the penalty off if you want or play on the arcade setting if you don't want it to be realistic. In the same way, you can turn off roughing the passer and PI so you can just NFL Blitz dudes and not have anything get called.
    But if you want a realistic game, this has to be in and they implemented it perfectly in the beta.

    Too bad you can't do this with defensive holding. May it rest in peace.
    :jpshakehe
    ijumpedthegun
    I'm usually on the "They shouldn't change their new addition, get used to it" train, but I have to say I'm disappointed they aren't nerfing the illegal man downfield penalties.
    On RPOs, I'd hit the pass button immediately and very frequently still get a penalty. I think it needs to be tweaked, and it isn't a matter of whether or not I'm good enough at RPOs.

    I only did minor experimenting with these. I had a play up in my book whereas I could hand off to HB or throw quick slant to X receiver. I was able to make that throw a few times and no penalty. If you count it out in musical time, I was letting the ball go just before or on 2. I plan on having quite a few of these plays gameplanned for inside the 5 situations.
    If they tweak down IMD penalty, these "Pass Options" would be so overpowered this board would explode with complaints.
    ijumpedthegun
    I'm usually on the "They shouldn't change their new addition, get used to it" train, but I have to say I'm disappointed they aren't nerfing the illegal man downfield penalties.
    On RPOs, I'd hit the pass button immediately and very frequently still get a penalty. I think it needs to be tweaked, and it isn't a matter of whether or not I'm good enough at RPOs.

    I ran RPO plays a ton and not once did I get a penalty. Pass the ball right away or hand it off. Simple.
    I feel like the illegal man downfield penalties are going to be too much for some of us that like CPU v CPU games or Coach Mode games where we let the AI control the QB's.
    extremeskins04
    I feel like the illegal man downfield penalties are going to be too much for some of us that like CPU v CPU games or Coach Mode games where we let the AI control the QB's.

    CPU isn't dumb in the game. The only time these penalties occur is when users that don't have an understanding of the rules and how RPOs work hold onto the ball. The Madden AI for these penalties is not broken. It is 100% human error that is causing these penalties.
    XtremeDunkz
    I ran RPO plays a ton and not once did I get a penalty. Pass the ball right away or hand it off. Simple.

    I got called for the penalty one time. It was legit, too. I didn't realize on the specific type of RPO I ran you had to press the button to give the ball so I didn't hand it off. I got caught off guard and threw a pass pretty late into the play. It was all my fault. The other 100+ times I ran an RPO I never saw a single penalty.
    Maybe he saw some bugs with it? I don't want to call him a liar, so I will assume he saw some bug with regards to the penalty because I ran RPO's easily 100+ times, probably even 200-300+ times and the only penalty I saw was the one I described. The rest all went smooth.
    canes21
    I got called for the penalty one time. It was legit, too. I didn't realize on the specific type of RPO I ran you had to press the button to give the ball so I didn't hand it off. I got caught off guard and threw a pass pretty late into the play. It was all my fault. The other 100+ times I ran an RPO I never saw a single penalty.
    Maybe he saw some bugs with it? I don't want to call him a liar, so I will assume he saw some bug with regards to the penalty because I ran RPO's easily 100+ times, probably even 200-300+ times and the only penalty I saw was the one I described. The rest all went smooth.

    I just think some people play RPOs like they are play action plays, instead of realizing you have to throw the ball before the HB gets to the ball.
    XtremeDunkz
    I just think some people play RPOs like they are play action plays, instead of realizing you have to throw the ball before the HB gets to the ball.

    You can pull the ball and pass it real quick, but there is a pretty fine line between when it isn't a penalty and when it is. If you do complete the fake hand-off like a PA then more times than not it will be a penalty. However, the guy seemed to be describing that he'd pass the ball as soon as the game let him and it would still be penalized. If that is truly the case then I hope he reported that on the feedback forums because he was definitely seeing a bug that we all never encountered.
    canes21
    You can pull the ball and pass it real quick, but there is a pretty fine line between when it isn't a penalty and when it is. If you do complete the fake hand-off like a PA then more times than not it will be a penalty. However, the guy seemed to be describing that he'd pass the ball as soon as the game let him and it would still be penalized. If that is truly the case then I hope he reported that on the feedback forums because he was definitely seeing a bug that we all never encountered.

    I honestly cannot remember ever seeing a penalty called IRL. You cant tell me these teams run to perfection every time on Sunday. Does the NFL just not call the penalty? Do you guys notice they miss this call or maybe they don't want to call it with this new RPO craze?
    Mack Attack 11
    I honestly cannot remember ever seeing a penalty called IRL. You cant tell me these teams run to perfection every time on Sunday. Does the NFL just not call the penalty? Do you guys notice they miss this call or maybe they don't want to call it with this new RPO craze?

    I think the refs are certainly not calling them very closely or looking at them closely. I'm sure its a combination of it being a quick bang-bang play, as well as it not being something they are used to looking for, compared to their other responsibilities on plays. You used to only rarely see it happen, mostly on busted plays etc.
    I do wonder if the league will start clamping down on it as the RPO craze increases and coaches start to complain (if they aren't already).
    Mack Attack 11
    I honestly cannot remember ever seeing a penalty called IRL. You cant tell me these teams run to perfection every time on Sunday. Does the NFL just not call the penalty? Do you guys notice they miss this call or maybe they don't want to call it with this new RPO craze?

    I've seen them call it but yeah it's not called as often as it should be.

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