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Madden NFL 19: Inside the Decision to Bring the Game Back to the PC

Madden NFL 19

Madden NFL 19: Inside the Decision to Bring the Game Back to the PC

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:

Operation Sports: Take me inside the decision to bring Madden 19 to the PC after such a long time away.

Ben Haumiller: We want to get it in front of more gamers, more players, and especially people who love Madden but maybe aren’t console gamers. This can get them back into playing Madden on PC, and visually you’ve got the ability to really make the game look amazing because you don’t have to compress assets.

You can really open up how great it can actually look on that ultra widescreen monitor. You can see the receivers that are out wide without going into Coach cam. It really frames the game in a way that makes it look amazing. We don’t view it as “oh we just made a port of our console game.” It’s 1 to 1 with everything that we’ve got on the core console version. You also have things like keyboard and mouse control so that if you’re not playing with traditional controller, you still have full fidelity to do things so that your mouse will work — like a virtual left stick so you have all your player motion there and it’s actually really intuitive. It actually feels like you’ve got full sense of your player while you’re trying to move them around with that thumbstick and then use the keyboard to do different things like passing, or jukes and spins.

When it comes to Madden Ultimate Team on the PC, how have you prepared for the inevitable attempts to potentially introduce cheats or exploits that could have real monetary consequences?

Ben Haumiller: It is our first year back on the PC, but FIFA also has a very deep Ultimate Team mode and has been on PC  for a long time now, so we can learn a lot from what they’ve done to try to protect their economy, protect their game, and make sure those sorts of exploits, and hacks and cheats aren’t there. It’s never a hundred percent, and someone is going to find something — there’s no way to fully control that. So really it’s just how can we best prepare ourselves and also identify if something does happen how quickly can we get it cleaned up.

I think looking at all the other EA titles that’s the beauty of us, and the power of EA. Every other game on PC is going through that as well, and they’re not trade secrets to the point that they’re not willing to share with us. We’re all one big team, so they have come to us and said if you’re back on PC and you’re doing Ultimate Team here are all the things you need to put in place so that you’re protected.

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  1. Good decision.
    I think most people believe that we are headed towards subscription based gaming and EA I think is smart to do the Origin premium for a monthly fee. I think the value is undeniable even for the staunchest of critics and will ultimately reduce piracy. I don’t think piracy will ever be solved but at this price why bother. I guess there are some that will always want something for nothing so we will see.
    My real hope is the other EA games make the jump too.i remember  NHL on PC back in the day modded with all the real goalie face masks and equipment it was glorious.
    Good information, but I would have loved to see some more content. Nothing in regards to what their thoughts were on mods? Nothing in regards to the PC version bringing a larger single player crowd to the market?
    Anyways, good to hear their thoughts, nevertheless.
    The subscription based service is something that can really go well, or go really bad. Right now, it looks like a great deal. $99 a year for day one, and sometimes early, access to EA titles? Can't argue with that. Just 2 titles in a year pays for itself and then some. But there is always a BUT.. It can get more expensive, and it can get more limited. I think it's a good concept, but having games available to purchase on their own, free from any other attachment, shouldn't be replaced imo.
    And yes, I too have been waiting a long time for madden to return to PC. I'm pretty giddy about the possibilities on this platform.
    SpectreBugg
    Good information, but I would have loved to see some more content. Nothing in regards to what their thoughts were on mods? Nothing in regards to the PC version bringing a larger single player crowd to the market?
    Anyways, good to hear their thoughts, nevertheless.
    The subscription based service is something that can really go well, or go really bad. Right now, it looks like a great deal. $99 a year for day one, and sometimes early, access to EA titles? Can't argue with that. Just 2 titles in a year pays for itself and then some. But there is always a BUT.. It can get more expensive, and it can get more limited. I think it's a good concept, but having games available to purchase on their own, free from any other attachment, shouldn't be replaced imo.
    And yes, I too have been waiting a long time for madden to return to PC. I'm pretty giddy about the possibilities on this platform.

    I think it’s always a good idea to be sceptical but I really think this is as good as it sounds. Netflix never really had a “but” and even more than that EA already proved to me with EA access that they are willing to give incredible value with a subscription service. I signed up for that day 1 and haven’t regretted a single second.
    SpectreBugg
    ....
    The subscription based service is something that can really go well, or go really bad. Right now, it looks like a great deal. $99 a year for day one, and sometimes early, access to EA titles? Can't argue with that. Just 2 titles in a year pays for itself and then some. But there is always a BUT.. It can get more expensive, and it can get more limited. I think it's a good concept, but having games available to purchase on their own, free from any other attachment, shouldn't be replaced imo. ...

    It's tempting, especially for people who are spending $60 on Madden yearly. The only BUT I see is that you won't own the game. Which may not have any impact, but I'm wondering if it would effect the ability to MOD. Say the game required to be authenticated prior to starting up, which might negate any mods added.
    Though I did sign up for the less expensive version after looking the $99 option. Still on trail but seems like a great value.
    CujoMatty
    I think it’s always a good idea to be sceptical but I really think this is as good as it sounds. Netflix never really had a “but” and even more than that EA already proved to me with EA access that they are willing to give incredible value with a subscription service. I signed up for that day 1 and haven’t regretted a single second.

    I agree for the most part. I mean, I've been a subscriber to netflix for.. actually i don't even know.. a really long time, and never regretted it. I think this falls more in line with not trusting EA. It's one of those companies where, for everything they do right, they do something else drastically wrong. The value is great at the moment, and I hope it stays that way. I havent signed up for it yet, but if everything goes well over the next few months, it's something i will certainly consider. I'm not sold on having M19 for PC day 1, which would be the main reason for signing up. I want to see how things go before i make any commitment to EA like that.
    TMJOHNS18
    It's tempting, especially for people who are spending $60 on Madden yearly. The only BUT I see is that you won't own the game. Which may not have any impact, but I'm wondering if it would effect the ability to MOD. Say the game required to be authenticated prior to starting up, which might negate any mods added.
    Though I did sign up for the less expensive version after looking the $99 option. Still on trail but seems like a great value.

    That is a good point. With a subscription based game, If they go with an "always online" policy, that could spell trouble for a lot of people. Online authentication, even for the PC crowd, has always been heavily frowned upon from the gaming community as a whole, and for good reason. Too many variables.. too many things can go wrong.. and that type of DRM is known to cause performance issues in games. If EA goes heavily towards trying to prevent mods(more likely the NFL would be the issue there), then i don't see the PC version having a ton of success. At least not this generation. People have already invested in consoles to play their sports games at this point, and unless the pc version is offering something more substantial than a few visual upgrades, people won't be impressed.
    TMJOHNS18
    It's tempting, especially for people who are spending $60 on Madden yearly. The only BUT I see is that you won't own the game. Which may not have any impact, but I'm wondering if it would effect the ability to MOD. Say the game required to be authenticated prior to starting up, which might negate any mods added.
    Though I did sign up for the less expensive version after looking the $99 option. Still on trail but seems like a great value.

    Even without mods, the graphical capabilities are superior. How superior is up to EA and your computer, but...
    I was shocked at the price. Considering I usually pick up the HOF edition of Madden (or whatever premium edition is) I am going to be paying nearly the same and get 4-5 other AAA titles for free.
    I guess the difference is I don't "Own" them and lose them all once I cancel my sub but its such a great deal why would I. Now that can change but at 129 (CAD) its a crazy steal.
    I don't think it is in EA's best interest to restrict people who want to mod their game, so I'd be surprised if you would be limited by the Access version. I actually think they should embrace it and allow mods to be hosted on their servers that would help prevent people who pirate the game from accessing them (ala WWE).
    I don't see the subscription service affecting modding at all. They would essentially need to make a different version of the game for that to happen, and it would definitely turn people off of the service.
    If they bring UFC and Live to PC, I'd definitely sign up for it. But right now, I don't play enough EA titles on PC to justify it. Not "owning" the game wouldn't really bother me with yearly release titles, since they have little to no resale value and if I keep the subscription, I'll just be playing the next iteration the following year anyway.
    I believe a subscription-based system would assist to stabilize revenue, making its revenue a little more consistent between title releases. The title releases can become something similar to World of Warcraft expansions such as the upcoming Battle for Azeroth.
    Between expansions, the subscription fees allow for constant updating and gameplay adjustments.
    TMJOHNS18
    It's tempting, especially for people who are spending $60 on Madden yearly. The only BUT I see is that you won't own the game. Which may not have any impact, but I'm wondering if it would effect the ability to MOD. Say the game required to be authenticated prior to starting up, which might negate any mods added.
    Though I did sign up for the less expensive version after looking the $99 option. Still on trail but seems like a great value.

    If you use Fifa as an example you authenticate every time you start and the mods were fine. If you want to play in Origin offline mode you have to at least go online once in a 30 day period so essentially once a month.
    I know this because with the mod tool Frosty editor, every time EA released a patch a lot of mods had to be reinstalled to be compatible with the version you were on. Frosty allows you to open game files but they are broken into 2 parts and 1 of those parts are called legacy files. Any mods that change legacy files are only compatible with the update version the mod was made with.
    Because I don’t play FIFA online I would just play with Origin in offline mode so I didn’t have to update the game and basically make me reinstall the mods. The bummer was that every 30 days I had to authenticate and go online which forced you to update FIFA which forced me to reinstall the mods.
    Reinstalling the mods isn’t that big of a deal but the community is a mess. There are hundreds of mods but because most of them are only compatible with different update versions keeping track of it all is a cluster you know what, and because you are reliant on the author of the mod to update his mod if for some reason they don’t keep updating it you will not be able to use it anymore.
    I’m hoping with Madden people figure out some more useful mod tools or EA does updates a different way(doubtful) or changes the Origin offline policy(also very doubtful)
    I know EA isn’t really interested in supporting mods but if everything works like FIFA it’s in their best interest because I know a lot of the modding community for FIFA uses pirated games because they are always offline and don’t need to be updated.
    BadAssHskr
    ...But you can still get Madden PC without the service correct?

    I'm assuming yes. I havent seen any official statement, but you can pre order the game for the normal expected price on the origin store, so i'm guessing that means it's available without subscription.
    drewst18
    I was shocked at the price. Considering I usually pick up the HOF edition of Madden (or whatever premium edition is) I am going to be paying nearly the same and get 4-5 other AAA titles for free.
    I guess the difference is I don't "Own" them and lose them all once I cancel my sub but its such a great deal why would I. Now that can change but at 129 (CAD) its a crazy steal.
    I don't think it is in EA's best interest to restrict people who want to mod their game, so I'd be surprised if you would be limited by the Access version. I actually think they should embrace it and allow mods to be hosted on their servers that would help prevent people who pirate the game from accessing them (ala WWE).

    You're right, it's not in their best interest. However, unlike many other sports titles, the NFL is heavily involved in maddens development. They are very strict about what can and can't be done with the game. This is the reason we don't have many customization options. There is a ton of stuff left out of the game simply because the NFL doesn't want it there. certain types of injuries and Better relocation options come to mind, but there is a lot more.
    So, while it may not be in their best interest from a developer standpoint, they may not have much of a choice if the NFL decides they don't want to see it.
    CujoMatty
    If you use Fifa as an example you authenticate every time you start and the mods were fine. If you want to play in Origin offline mode you have to at least go online once in a 30 day period so essentially once a month. ....

    Hopefully this method extends to the premier service. With your experience with FIFA were you able to roll back updates or you have to use the newest one, causing some mods to be incompatible until they were updated?
    TMJOHNS18
    Hopefully this method extends to the premier service. With your experience with FIFA were you able to roll back updates or you have to use the newest one, causing some mods to be incompatible until they were updated?

    Nope couldn’t roll back. I did figure out that if you kept 2 sets of game files, 1 to update and authenticate with and 1 that was an older version that had working mods associated to it. Every time it made me go online to authenticate I’d use the 1 set than after it authenticated I switched back to my old one. That allowed me to circumvent updating my mods.
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