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Madden NFL 21 Closed Beta Feedback - Plenty of Gameplay Related Details (Gridiron Notes)

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Madden NFL 21

Madden NFL 21 Closed Beta Feedback - Plenty of Gameplay Related Details (Gridiron Notes)

Shortly after the Madden NFL 21 Twitch stream, earlier this evening, discussing gameplay updates from the closed beta, the team released their Gridiron Notes on the topic.

The article is filled with details on additional gameplay features, most upvoted feedback and bugs that have been fixed for launch. For those of you asking about #FixFranchise updates, it was said during the Twitch stream multiple times, that details will arrive in early to mid-August.

Below are some of the details in bullet form, but make sure to read the entire blog here.

  • The Celebration Run Mechanic will be a one-button mechanic (LT or L2).
  • Precision Modifier on LT/L2 is gone, since steering on the left stick is scaled to each ball carrier’s special move rating.
  • Pressing LB/L1 will now activate DB Lock-On for your user-controlled player in either pre-play or during play. And RB/R1 is where you’ll now find the Defensive Keys menu that was previously on LB/L1.
  • The new Lock-On mechanic allows you to lock your user-controlled player into man coverage behavior on a specific receiver when holding down the LB/L1 button. While locked on, you can steer your player relative to the leverage on the locked-on receiver rather than the whole field, so this allows you to have more control over the movement of your defender.
  • A breakdown of the Ball Carrier Archetype Run Styles (Agile – Christian McCaffrey, Agile Small – Tyreek Hill, Agile Tall – Julio Jones, Bruiser – CJ Anderson, Bruiser Quick – Derrick Henry, Bruiser Heavy).

madden-21-ng3

  • While the feedback around user defense feeling slow/sluggish was consistent, it was also very polarizing. The speed at which defenders change of direction will be largely unchanged because the vision for gameplay balance is focused more on authentic player movements and strategic decisions.
  • Hurdle and Truck button inputs have been reverted back to the way it used to be. Y/Triangle for hurdle, R-Stick up for Truck.
  • Offensive and defensive players not reacting to the ball in the air will be improved for launch, dropped interceptions happening too frequently will also be addressed.
  • Zone coverage was not completely tuned during the beta and the team listed the fixes and improvements.
  • Player switching didn’t feel intuitive and the feedback showed it had more negative consequences than the team would have liked, so switch logic will end up being the same as Madden 20.
  • The film study ability will not be available at launch, but will arrive in a title update.
  • The team decreased the fatigue penalty on out of position ball carriers that didn’t get hit and increased the fatigue penalty when taking hits, with even more of a penalty on hit-stick tackles.
  • The pass-rush was slightly boosted for win probabilities of AI-controlled pass rushers on Simulation All-Pro, Competitive All-Pro and Competitive All-Madden, which will make higher-rated pass rushers have a bit more impact when AI-controlled.
  • QB’s can be stripped in the pocket without starting a throw on Competitive

Again, this is just some of the details from the Gridiron Notes, read the entire article here. The next Gridiron Notes on July 31, will focus on X-Factor and Superstar abilities.

Madden NFL 21 launches on August 28, or 3 days earlier by pre-ordering the MVP Edition. EA SPORTS also offers Dual Entitlement, creating ways for players who purchase either an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 to upgrade their copy of Madden NFL 21 from prior generation Xbox One or PlayStation 4 platforms, at no additional cost.

This offer will be in place all the way through the Madden NFL 21 season, up to the release of Madden NFL 22, so players can upgrade whenever they first purchase their new console within that period. Of note, physical discs cannot currently be used to upgrade to discless consoles.

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  1. Really encouraged by all of the gameplay adjustments. In particular, the zone coverage changes seem fantastic. Soft coverage was easily my biggest gameplay gripe with the beta.
    A bit disappointed, but not surprised, that the new presentation elements (namely, the intros and replay transitions/wipes) weren't mentioned. But, I can't imagine they were as big of an issue for most people as they were for me.
    And people wonder why the game feels and plays the same every year ��
    They reverted so much back to the way it was in Madden 20, and based on their track record, more will come in future title updates
    Nickda55
    And people wonder why the game feels and plays the same every year ������
    They reverted so much back to the way it was in Madden 20, and based on their track record, more will come in future title updates
    What did you not like?
    #fixmaddenfranchise
    Yes, the zone work and the tuning of the catching reaction bugs was good to see. The notes mentioned an increase in difficulty in breaking double team blocks in the pass rush. That is a needed improvement to keep Superstar pass rushers in check.
    Very glad to hear about them not changing movement, but I'm still concerned that they might change it during the year as the complaining from competitive players becomes more belligerent.
    Clint was adamant in the stream in terms of stressing the authenticity of the abilities, so the SS/XF Gridiron Notes on Friday should be very interesting in terms of the tuning and balancing they've received.
    "User on defense feels slow/sluggish
    While the feedback around this was consistent, it was also very polarizing. The speed at which defenders change of direction will be largely unchanged because the vision for gameplay balance is focused more on authentic player movements and strategic decisions. While we are investigating to ensure there are no bugs in player movement that could be having unintended consequences, the intent of this system is to reduce the area of the field a single defensive player can cover based on ratings and direction changes, and encourage coverage defenders to makes choices about what routes they want to take away. As player ratings increase, the amount of ground a player can cover will also increase."
    WINNER!!!! TY for sticking to your guns Madden developers.
    I feel these are the best gridiron notes I have read. Glad I pre-ordered the MVP edition.
    The Rainbow-colored Arms/Pink could be there to hide arm tattoos. I don’t feel this is equipment or unfinished art ! What do you think ?
    TarHeelPhenom
    Good news that they aren't touching player speed so that cats can't cheese with one player. Great news actually.

    This means they won't get to User the whole field as the Cover 3 middle safety tho.
    kayGET
    The Rainbow-colored Arms/Pink could be there to hide arm tattoos. I don’t feel this is equipment or unfinished art ! What do you think ?

    Haha that's a bit of wishful thinking. I saw people in the beta thread saying that same thing. It's nothing more than a bug. It was on kickers that have no tattoos so i don't see how that would make sense.
    kayGET
    The Rainbow-colored Arms/Pink could be there to hide arm tattoos. I don’t feel this is equipment or unfinished art ! What do you think ?

    Unfortunately there are no tattoo additions or equipment additions to madden 21 this generation at least. Hoping there is at least SOMETHING on next gen.
    LOL.. SAME OLD MADDEN WITH MINOR TWEAKS AND FEW CHANGES TO ENTERTAIN YOU GUYS & TO PUSH U TO BUY THE SAME OLD MADDEN AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN THANK YOU EA BUT ILL PASS.. MADDEN SHOULD BE $30 LIKE A COD UPDATE..LMAO..
    kennylc321
    "Zone coverage not completely tuned; will be at launch"
    Oh my God... this again!?!?!?!?!?! Every single year we deal with this.

    The part I loved is that they said they are going to update Man & Zone Cov with title updates after release. They're admitting that even at launch coverages won't work as intended. Not a good look when CFM wasn't touched.
    jfsolo

    Very glad to hear about them not changing movement, but I'm still concerned that they might change it during the year as the complaining from competitive players becomes more belligerent.

    Clint seemed quite passionate to leave it "As is" though. I almost got this "we ain't budging" vibe from him on the stream.
    I do think that once some of the better MUT cards come out though, the comp guys will calm down. They've probably been playing with 95+ overall defenders (with insane physical ratings) for months and got thrown into a "Regs" environment with the new change of direction paradigm and slower defenders all combined. It HAD to be a massive change to them that made it seem worse than it actually was.
    Once they start getting upgraded players/abilities and adjust to the new gameflow; I think they'll calm down a little. The good players will adjust; the "I watched a YT video about how to play" guys will struggle.
    Maybe I'm being optimistic here; we all know how much gamers love to whine, but IMO, the fundamental concept here makes total sense from a game balancing standpoint and I think people will slowly begin to appreciate this.
    JoshC1977
    Clint seemed quite passionate to leave it "As is" though. I almost got this "we ain't budging" vibe from him on the stream.
    I do think that once some of the better MUT cards come out though, the comp guys will calm down. They've probably been playing with 95+ overall defenders (with insane physical ratings) for months and got thrown into a "Regs" environment with the new change of direction paradigm and slower defenders all combined. It HAD to be a massive change to them that made it seem worse than it actually was.
    Once they start getting upgraded players/abilities and adjust to the new gameflow; I think they'll calm down a little. The good players will adjust; the "I watched a YT video about how to play" guys will struggle.
    Maybe I'm being optimistic here; we all know how much gamers love to whine, but IMO, the fundamental concept here makes total sense from a game balancing standpoint and I think people will slowly begin to appreciate this.

    I think you're totally right. Last year Clint didn't budge on the pass rush being "OP" as everyone called it in the beta feedback forum and that was a great decision. I like his balance of being open to feedback and changing things that he doesn't want to for the community (like the hurdle button), but also sticking to his guns on things that matter like this and the pass rush.
    4thQtrStre5S
    "User on defense feels slow/sluggish
    While the feedback around this was consistent, it was also very polarizing. The speed at which defenders change of direction will be largely unchanged because the vision for gameplay balance is focused more on authentic player movements and strategic decisions. While we are investigating to ensure there are no bugs in player movement that could be having unintended consequences, the intent of this system is to reduce the area of the field a single defensive player can cover based on ratings and direction changes, and encourage coverage defenders to makes choices about what routes they want to take away. As player ratings increase, the amount of ground a player can cover will also increase."
    WINNER!!!! TY for sticking to your guns Madden developers.
    I feel these are the best gridiron notes I have read. Glad I pre-ordered the MVP edition.

    This is great to read. Hopefully EA stick to their guns and doesn't change it in a patch in a few months.
    User movement on D was my biggest takeaway from the beta. It made defense more realistic and challenging for the user. For years it's been too easy to cover a huge chunk of real estate with an LB or safety. You could fly around the field, be out of position, take bad angles, and the game/engine/physics wouldn't punish you because you could recover with your super-human defender. I primarily control an LB and during the beta my run defense was atrocious because I was so used to being out of position or shooting the wrong gap without repercussion.
    PhillyPhanatic14
    I think you're totally right. Last year Clint didn't budge on the pass rush being "OP" as everyone called it in the beta feedback forum and that was a great decision. I like his balance of being open to feedback and changing things that he doesn't want to for the community (like the hurdle button), but also sticking to his guns on things that matter like this and the pass rush.

    I have a hunch he feels like he's been burned one too many times by embracing community feedback too quickly.
    Managing the feedback from the more hardcore communities (both comp and "sim") is like raising a toddler. It's ok to let them make the "little decisions" (like picking what cartoon they want to watch); but you make the "big decisions" for them.
    What I love overall about Clint's streams is that he keeps repeating the same word; BALANCE. When the game is balanced, both teams (whether AI or user) will mix things up out of necessity. Before you know it, you start having a lot of variety in how games unfold in the most organic nature possible.
    I need to see what they come out with for the abilities; but the overall tenor of this dev cycle (from a gameplay standpoint) has me encouraged.
    The usering move is a top-level design decision. That decision is one that a lot of the game will be built around so it's important not to waver on it. As you continue to build and tune other mechanics around it, you really need to be locked into riding with it for the long haul. I believe they are locked in based on a conversation I had a week or two back.
    I've never been overly critical of the Madden franchise as I just like to play games vs. CPU and have some fun for a football fix. However, I am seeing nothing this year that changes the experience from last year for the casual player like me and this may be the first year ever, and I mean EVER, that I pass on getting the game within the first few days of release. Personally, I see nothing motivating me to get it unless I'm missing something big?
    PackerScooter
    I've never been overly critical of the Madden franchise as I just like to play games vs. CPU and have some fun for a football fix. However, I am seeing nothing this year that changes the experience from last year for the casual player like me and this may be the first year ever, and I mean EVER, that I pass on getting the game within the first few days of release. Personally, I see nothing motivating me to get it unless I'm missing something big?

    https://www.ea.com/games/madden-nfl/madden-nfl-21/news/gridiron-notes-madden-nfl-21-playbooks-and-ai-gameplay-updates-07-14
    Did you see that blog from a few weeks ago?
    If you did, maybe it would be a good idea to wait it out.
    Seems like a bit of a troll. EA add "X" into the game, doesn't work out as intended, they scrap it and go back to last year's version of it...what do the gameplay team do all year?
    I really like that Clint seems to be standing his ground on the player movement. Nice to hear him say more authentic player movement on the defensive side of the ball was necessary. That by far was my favorite part of the beta was the player movement.
    The authentic player movement is a plus. With the DB player lock on I wonder how that will work. How is man coverage going to pay this year. It always seems like press man is mostly overpowering and off is useless vs anything other than a streak. Balance is so hard to achieve but so necessary for a good football game. Let's see what they produce this year.
    Sniceness
    The authentic player movement is a plus. With the DB player lock on I wonder how that will work. How is man coverage going to pay this year. It always seems like press man is mostly overpowering and off is useless vs anything other than a streak. Balance is so hard to achieve but so necessary for a good football game. Let's see what they produce this year.

    I have a theory that EA purposefully keeps coverage weak because if we had tighter more realistic windows then the masses would complain. I think it was the beta for 19 that had incredibly tight windows and it was a blast to play, but people complained and by the end of the beta and then the full release EA had nerfed the coverage to the point of everyone being college open again. I had so many clips from the first few games with that beta because I was amazed at how tight the coverage was. Now the coverage is just wonky and sliders can get the windows tighter, but the CBs play so wonky and often warp or cut before the WR to force tight coverage instead of having actual technically sound coverage
    miguelitoKache
    LOL.. SAME OLD MADDEN WITH MINOR TWEAKS AND FEW CHANGES TO ENTERTAIN YOU GUYS & TO PUSH U TO BUY THE SAME OLD MADDEN AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN THANK YOU EA BUT ILL PASS.. MADDEN SHOULD BE $30 LIKE A COD UPDATE..LMAO..

    Guarantee this guy buys M21 on launch day.
    ChicagoChris
    Guarantee this guy buys M21 on launch day.

    Of course lol, they all normally do. Always find it entertaining when people feel the need to tell other people that they're not buying something & go on a rant.
    canes21
    I have a theory that EA purposefully keeps coverage weak because if we had tighter more realistic windows then the masses would complain. I think it was the beta for 19 that had incredibly tight windows and it was a blast to play, but people complained and by the end of the beta and then the full release EA had nerfed the coverage to the point of everyone being college open again. I had so many clips from the first few games with that beta because I was amazed at how tight the coverage was. Now the coverage is just wonky and sliders can get the windows tighter, but the CBs play so wonky and often warp or cut before the WR to force tight coverage instead of having actual technically sound coverage

    I think that was actually 18 if I’m not mistaken. But I remember that. They claimed the game would be “too difficult for newcomers” I believe was the exact quote being used.
    I’ve never understood it. The CPU can have flawless coverage but the user can’t? It blows my mind.
    I for kicks and giggles went and played M18 last night and was mind blown to see the same issues, mainly pass coverage, that we are still battling now. The game looked so similar in several aspects.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    xCoachDx
    I think that was actually 18 if I’m not mistaken. But I remember that. They claimed the game would be “too difficult for newcomers” I believe was the exact quote being used.
    I’ve never understood it. The CPU can have flawless coverage but the user can’t? It blows my mind.
    I for kicks and giggles went and played M18 last night and was mind blown to see the same issues, mainly pass coverage, that we are still battling now. The game looked so similar in several aspects.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    I've lost track of which games had betas, but it was one of the first ones I got into. Either way, the coverage was great and has not been matched since, even with modded gameplay.
    roadman
    https://www.ea.com/games/madden-nfl/madden-nfl-21/news/gridiron-notes-madden-nfl-21-playbooks-and-ai-gameplay-updates-07-14
    Did you see that blog from a few weeks ago?
    If you did, maybe it would be a good idea to wait it out.

    Just saw this article...I’m a Cpu vs Cpu guy franchise offline, I know the game isn’t made for me or those few like me, but after reading this article I’m kind a sorta ...hopeful. Would love the face creator from FOF in the game...I’ll probably buy it.
    Does anyone recall, from the M21 Beta, if a defender started following motion/shifts prior to the offensive player actually moving?
    One issue that irks the heck out of me about Madden 20 etc. is that when I put a player in motion, the defender starts following when I start the motion sequence on my controller, instead of when the offensive player actually starts his motion.
    This little visual issue, IMO, is indicative to some of the mechanics behind the screen. The user inputs are being superseded by the counter move on the AI side.
    User tries to juke, AI secure tackles. The AI can call the exact counter to any play the user calls. Not always a bad issue, but can be abused. USer attempts to accelerate or slow run speed, the AI opponent is already speeding up or slowing down.
    I understand that as a user we can actually use this mechanic to catch an AI player in the wash of his teammates and break large runs, for example; I do this very thing to trap the MLB into his teammate on inside zone runs. This just seems to be rather arcade, at least in its M20 implementation and I hope it has been rectified, to at least be less obvious in M21.
    4thQtrStre5S
    Does anyone recall, from the M21 Beta, if a defender started following motion/shifts prior to the offensive player actually moving?
    One issue that irks the heck out of me about Madden 20 etc. is that when I put a player in motion, the defender starts following when I start the motion sequence on my controller, instead of when the offensive player actually starts his motion.
    This little visual issue, IMO, is indicative to some of the mechanics behind the screen. The user inputs are being superseded by the counter move on the AI side.
    User tries to juke, AI secure tackles. The AI can call the exact counter to any play the user calls. Not always a bad issue, but can be abused. USer attempts to accelerate or slow run speed, the AI opponent is already speeding up or slowing down.
    I understand that as a user we can actually use this mechanic to catch an AI player in the wash of his teammates and break large runs, for example; I do this very thing to trap the MLB into his teammate on inside zone runs. This just seems to be rather arcade, at least in its M20 implementation and I hope it has been rectified, to at least be less obvious in M21.

    I'm not 100% sure, but I feel like I did see this still happening in the Beta. It is terrible because as you say it jarringly exposes the psychic link between User inputs and CPU responses.
    I would imagine that all games have this, but do a better job of hiding it by delaying the reaction so as to mimic what one would expect from someone who actually had to see the movements.
    I still don't understand why that psychic link has to even exist, instead of the CPU making play calls independently based off of logical football evaluative parameters.
    I am confused with the lead passing in 21. They said it was removed.
    But Rodgers has Pass Lead Elite in his Abilities in 21..
    When you guys played the beta could you throw away from the safety's?
    That's my favorite part of madden 20. I could throw a streak away from
    the defender, sometimes to the pylon.
    adriano
    I am confused with the lead passing in 21. They said it was removed.
    But Rodgers has Pass Lead Elite in his Abilities in 21..
    When you guys played the beta could you throw away from the safety's?
    That's my favorite part of madden 20. I could throw a streak away from
    the defender, sometimes to the pylon.

    They modified how the pass lead abilities worked, they did not remove the ability.

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