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Madden NFL 20 Gameplay Refinements, Playbook Enhancements, RPOs and More (Analysis)

Madden NFL 20

Madden NFL 20 Gameplay Refinements, Playbook Enhancements, RPOs and More (Analysis)

Last night, EA released another Madden 20 blog. This time it focused on some of the changes to the playbook, auto strafe and overall gameplay refinements. And like most of the news this time of the year, it left fans hopeful and yearning for more. Most of these refinements seem to bring Madden closer to the game that we all have grown to know and love.

As always, if you want to get caught up with my analysis on EA’s previous blogs, you can find them here: Franchise enhancements, X-factors and Madden Ultimate team.

Let’s take a look at what we learned from last night’s blog:

Things I’m Excited About

  • According to EA’s Anthony White, Madden will be updated all year to help better replicate what fans see on Sunday. Furthermore, changes will be made throughout the season to a team’s playbook and scheme to help keep things fresh and up to date. There is no time frame for EA to release these updates, but if done right, could be a game changer for ’20 and future Madden installments.
  • One of the major takeaways from yesterday’s blog is the updated stiff arm/auto staff mechanics. In the past, users struggled to stiff arm players that were next to them. And when it did work, the animations seemed wonky and left you a bit underwhelmed most of the time. It sounds like this has been vastly improved in Madden 20 — along with fewer broken tackles on botched jukes, spin moves and other user-controlled techniques. Finally, EA has brought back the double tap pump fake. All of these changes should make the gameplay more fluid and give the user more control.
  • This year, hot routes have been greatly improved and new route concepts have been added. And if you’re like me, you’re old enough to remember when hot routing to a post route was impossible. Quicker animations and more control should make this a fan favorite.

Questions I Have

  • In the past, new plays like the wildcat and read option took some time to be, well, less powerful. So with a superstar like Patrick Mahomes on the cover and an emphasis on RPOs, how unstoppable will they be?  How will RPOs affect online play and competitive gaming? Will sim leagues implement rules to prevent users from overuse? How easy will it be for the defense to counter, or play the run, pass option? This, in my opinion, could make or break this year’s installment.
  • With EA dedicating more time to updating schemes, X-factors, and playbooks, will this take away from other areas? How will roster updates work? And could EA potentially be stretching themselves too thin by trying to do too much?
  • It has been two years since the Eagles hoisted the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in the franchise’s storied history. And who can forget the “Philly Special” as one of the greatest plays in NFL history. Sure, it probably should have been in last year’s installment, but the infamous play will make its much anticipated debut in Madden 20. How effective will it be is my biggest concern. Lastly, how important will a quarterback’s catch rating be? Will Tom Brady drop another wide open pass? Time will tell.


We can watch gameplay videos, but we won’t know what to expect until Madden 20 is released. After all, we’ve been promised things in the past that never quite lived up to the unrealistic expectations. However, with added realism to the gameplay, playbooks and overall feel of this year’s game, there is reason to be hopeful. What it will ultimately come down to, is how effective RPOs are and how easy it is for defenses to counter. I’m trying to temper my excitement. But maybe, just maybe, this is the year Madden brings home the sports gaming Lombardi.


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  1. we’ve been promised things in the past that never quite lived up to the unrealistic expectations

    I don't think the expectations have been unrealistic at all....especially those based on what was achieved over 10 years ago by other developers.

I like video games and the miami dolphins.

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