Ben Haumiller sat down with our Matt Llewellyn to talk about this year’s football release from EA, Madden NFL 19. The following is an excerpt from the full interview:
Longshot was a mode that received mixed reviews. It’s back again this year but won’t carry over previous save states. Why was the decision made to do this, and the homecoming theme aside, why is Wade on the Cowboys despite them having a young superstar QB in Dak Prescott?
Ben Haumiller: The Longshot story was really interesting for us last year in that it was our first time doing the story mode experience. Instead of telling a Kurt Warner-style story where he comes from nowhere and leads his team to the Super Bowl, we wanted to look at the other side. What’s the story of the fringe player who’s trying to make the league? We felt that was an interesting take on being a sports-genre story because we knew that we were the last AAA sports title to go with a story mode. We wanted to do something a little bit different and kind of buck the trend from what had been happening in other sports games. I think for certain fans of the game it hit home while for others it didn’t quite hit the mark on what they were looking for from it.
We took a lot of that feedback back, and the number one thing people wanted was they wanted to play more. “More games, more games, more games. Story is great but I want to play a game.” So you’ll see a lot more of Devin now in the NFL playing games, and the Colt storyline has a lot more gameplay as well because you play as both Devin and Colt this year. Wade is still a fringe player so he’s not coming in to take over Dak Prescott’s job. He’s still fighting for a spot on the practice squad, so for us the homecoming ties into the larger story that has always centered around the state of Texas. So it felt like putting Wade on the Cowboys to start the year fit in with that.
Initially, we wanted to have it where how you ended your story in Longshot 1 would carry over into Longshot 2, but there were technical challenges and hurdles we couldn’t overcome that made us have to move away from that. If we’re going to break the reality of not having people picking up from where they left off last season, what are we going to do to make this story the best it can be and make the most sense? For us, it was to use the Cowboys name and still have him be that guy who’s trying to make a roster.
So it’s not that he’s come off of this reality show and he’s setting the world on fire, and he’s now the number one quarterback in Dallas. That’s not the story we wanted to tell. We want to keep this in the reality of the world where he’s still trying to figure out how to be a quarterback He didn’t just get it handed to him because of the experience in season one.
So does the time gap from Wade at the draft to training camp in year two happen because of those technical limitations regarding save carryover?
Ben Haumiller: Right. Season one ends on draft day and that season has already happened, so when Longshot 2 picks up you’re in training camp. So to bridge that time, we kind of do a quick thing to catch you up to what happens in the interim and now you’re back on the Cowboys practice squad to try to make the team.
Last year, after completing Longshot we were rewarded with some MUT cards that tied into Longshot, and in franchise mode Wade and Colt would be defaulted to when creating a certain type of QB and WR respectively. Are there plans to further integrate them into MUT and, perhaps, more tangibly into franchise mode?
Ben Haumiller: It’s actually much more seamless this year, so when you get to the end of Longshot 2 you’ll have the chance to continue Colt’s storyline in Ultimate Team or continue Devin’s storyline in franchise mode. In franchise, if you choose to continue Devin’s storyline you pick up right where the story ends, and you can continue on the rest of your career as Devin in a franchise. It’s all right there. You don’t have to go through and create a late-round quarterback who is mobile and that’s the only way you can get Wade.
Continuing Wade in franchise mode makes his playstyle based on the choices that you made throughout Longshot 2. So maybe you’ll have him come in as more of a Cam Newton-style player or maybe it’s more of a Tom Brady. You’ll be able to make that choice along the way as you make it through the story.