Madden 12 vs. the new competition.....?

What we’ve heard so far on Madden 12:

  • Custom Playbooks.
  • Some kind of franchise overhaul.
  • Head injuries (concussions).
  • Superstar mode updated.
  • Cheerleaders. Really? Sheesh, why not spend those resources on player animations or something worthwhile.
  • Tuning Sets updates ala NHL & NCAA
  • 3d turf?
  • on-side kicks limited to 2x per game (GOOD!)

Official Press announcement thanks to Broadwayjoe:

Gameplay and Playbooks

All-New Collision System: Now maintain full control of players up to the point of impact – from tackling to blocking – providing the most authentic collisions in franchise history. This new system uses a player’s momentum and over 100 new tackle animations, including 40 gang tackles, to provide more impactful hits, stolen tackles, and consecutive hit tackling.

Advanced Defensive AI: Over 100 defensive A.I. enhancements resulting in the smartest Madden defense ever. Players in zone and man coverage will properly recognize and react to plays, including the ability to break out of assignments when appropriate, resulting in a defensive team that truly works together.

Custom Playbooks: The #1 most requested feature by fans in recent years, allows you to build the ultimate game plan by modifying an existing playbook or creating your own by selecting up to 400 offensive or defensive plays from 75 different playbooks. Integrate your custom playbook into a game plan for use with the improved GameFlow system, which executes an authentic, situational game plan for you.


Broadcast Redefined: Experience NFL Sundays like never before with completely overhauled presentation, including 32 team-specific run outs featuring mascots and cheerleaders, over 500 dynamic broadcast cameras authentic to every NFL stadium, innovative “real” on-field cameras shot by expert NFL Films cameramen, and a network inspired new broadcast graphics package.

Unprecedented On-Field Authenticity: Hundreds of visual improvements across all areas of the game including: new player equipment, helmet stickers, pylon and ball physics, a player degradation system that affects uniforms and helmets based on weather and field surface, 3D grass, and new player specific animations that showcase the personalities of each NFL player.

Franchise and Superstar Modes

Franchise mode includes more than 100 new features and enhancements, including expanded rosters, an all-new rookie scouting system, a free-agent bidding system, and more.

In Superstar mode, fans can now control the growth of their superstar with an all-new progression system that allows you to earn skill points by participating in practice and games.

More details on Franchise and Superstar modes will be released on May 16.

Dynamic Player Performance

Dynamic Player Performance is an all-new feature that creates unprecedented realism as a player’s skills and confidence will rise and fall based on his performance throughout a game or in Franchise mode, just like the real NFL. No two players will play the same in Madden NFL 12, and more details will be revealed at the E3 Expo on June 6.

Madden NFL Ultimate Team

The perfect combination of Madden NFL Football, fantasy football, and trading cards comes to life in Madden NFL Ultimate Team. More information on how to earn, buy, auction, and trade players will be released on June 20.

Online Communities

Online Communities will provide an all-new way for Madden NFL gamers to meet and play. More details will be released on July 25.


  • Backbreaker. They’re using the upcoming Backbreaker Vengeance to help fund Backbreaker 2.
  • I also could have sworn I’d read Wolverine Studios was going to do a Football sim with full on-line franchises and a 2d game view ala electric football. Maybe that was just a wishful dream?
  • Hopefully Ian Cummings and co - though can they even work on a football game coming from EA/Tiburon?

EA’s delay of Madden 12 seems more likely do to the loss of top talent vs. their previous excuse of “the lockout and rosters”. Being dishonest about why they’re delaying the game is a bit disparaging.

The delay of Madden 12 has nothing to do with Ian Cummings’ departure, which we only found out about a week ago (along with the others who left). Also, his reason for leaving is not what you said at all.

But hey, keep tin-foil hatting!

Yeah, I’m pretty sure you’re just making stuff up here.

I for one am glad Ian Cummings is gone from Madden. Nothing he’s said in the past 2 years ever filled me with confidence that he knew what he was doing with the franchise.

Maybe this year we can get some real improvements instead of modified Ask Madden modes or microtransaction based card games.

While you are busy being an armchair game developer, how about actually explaining what you mean by “real improvements” rather than some vacuous statements and hand-waving?

The Madden 11 feature list was indeed a little weak, but it was Ian who spearheaded the creative direction of Madden 10 which I consider the turning point for Madden on the current gen consoles. Madden 10 had much slower, simulation focused gameplay than what came before. Seriously, pop in Madden 09 and then play a game in Madden 10/11. Ian was behind these changes that turned Madden away from the unrealistic, arcadey action we saw just a few years ago.

On-field Madden has never been better.

10 was definitely better than 9, which is part of why 11 was so disappointing. Instead of continuing the progress they went a whole different direction.

How so? The on-field gameplay in 11 is just 10 refined. If you didn’t like gameflow or MUT that is fine, but they are really optional features that don’t impact the core way of playing the game. The worst criticism you can make of Madden 11 is that it is feature-lite. The vision of the franchise through Madden 10-11-12 is consistent.

There were still a lot of on the field issues that didn’t get fixed. I didn’t end up playing much of 11 (my 360 died and I was unemployed and couldn’t replace it). But in terms of just on the field game play it felt like I was playing Madden 10 with all the patches that came out. All the same shenanigans still worked etc.

Also since my primary interest in Madden has been online franchise mode the fact that they didn’t seem to change anything for online franchise was really annoying. They spent development time on Ask Madden 2.0 but couldn’t be assed to even fix the tiebreakers in online franchise?

I just found the whole thing weird, how they’d tried to get closer to Madden 05 with Madden 10, and then Madden 11 they went for the whole “faster, simpler, easier” or whatever approach. I know they’ve shown charts and graphs that indicate very few people want/play online franchise but was Gameflow really the best use of resources?

I’d like that too! But did they need to waste precious resources on cheerleaders? Their development time is so short already it seems awful to waste time on junk like that (like the mascot stuff a few years ago).

I would love nothing more than for Madden 12 to be super fantastic for on-line gaming and franchises with great realism, accurate simming and accurate injuries, and real integrated animation. Right now everything is canned. Naturalmotion with Madden would be fantastic.

Similar charts say yes, especially now that the GameFlow concept has been tweaked.

Congrats, you are part of the vocal minority.

I’m not talking about features. I was referring to your post about Madden 12’s delay and the reasons that Ian and others left. You are making stuff up. You are speculating without any information whatsoever.

Old school players. I remember back in the day I could play an offline league, get some card to free up Marino and add him to my team. Even just a fantasy draft league that included super stars from across the ages. That would be fantastic. I get there are monetary details here, but whatever they are, if you could work them out, the fans would love it.

Real opponent Scouting. Not the gimmick it was in 11 (buy moar!), but things like film, play styles, play percentages, etc. It would allow people to not only create better gameplans, but to better counter them. Would be highly interesting to see the same stuff on yourself too. Online would be the real point, though simulated in an offline league would be cool too.

Game recording and play by play playback. This would allow me to figure out when I lose games what is going on. Did they just call a better play and out smart me? Did my defender fall down and they got lucky? Being able to go step by step back through a recorded game would be a gamechanger.

Online franchise features. Yeah, I know we are a small demographic, but I figure it can not hurt to ask. Things like having the league just simply be able to do all of the things you can do offline and have your commisioner have absolute power over the league (can assign wins and losses, etc) would be very helpful.

Spectators. This is a football game right? People like to watch this stuff, right? I have not wanted to watch many, but there are definitely a few matches I would have like to be able to talk to and spectate on. I would even settle for an after the fact spectator mode with fast forward and the like so I could see the plays I wanted to, etc.

Overall, since Madden 10, I have been very happy with Madden. Wish there was a few less injuries in the online leagues though…

Those are really important. I hope they’re given some weight. Just having gameplay stats which plays are called (which we already know the developers get) would be great for creating a better defense.

I also hate the fact that people who have mney can scope out all these things vs. those of us without (and how it slows down the game when the scout feature is used).

I updated the first post too.

I never said I knew what was going on. Just my opinion and theorizing for fun. At an rate, looks like they’re forming an on-line game house- maybe similar to Zynga and my speculation would be it’ll offer sports-centric games instead of farming simulators and *“ville” games.

And the crap hits the proverbial fan according to Bill Harris:


Here We Go [/B]

From Pastrapadre:
It was only a few weeks ago that EA Sports president Peter Moore talked of a persistent social profile that would transfer from game to game. Now the manner in which that may be carried out is becoming clearer. Thanks to several people who took the time to forward over the included document, the plan of a subscription service that EA Sports is investigating has gone out in the open.

Here we go.

From the document:
–Discounts on all downloadable content for all participating EA Sports titles.
–Full downloadable versions of participating titles before they come out in stores.
–Ability to transfer paid content from your current participating titles to future title versions.
–Free and exclusive opportunities to extend your EA Sports experience to PC and Web.
–Free and exclusive EA sports downloadable content for participating console-based titles.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of those:

  1. Full downloadable versions of participating titles before they come out in stores.
    That’s a double win. I can download a game for full price that I can’t resell, and since Madden and NCAA are totally unplayable until three months of patches (and sometimes, they’re not even playble then), I can get a head start on the waiting!
  2. Ability to transfer paid content from your current participating titles to future title versions.
    Also awesome, because I can pay a yearly fee to not have to pay a different yearly fee. Yeah!
  3. Free and exclusive opportunities to extend your EA Sports experience to PC and Web.
    Also fantastic, because after trying so hard to use the web-based recruiting interface in NCAA, which failed time and time again, I can now EXCLUSIVELY fail.

Hell, yes.

Seriously, this is just sad. Inevitable, but sad.

You know what? If they want to do this by sport, so that I could show the NHL developers some love, I’m fine with that. But if they want me to help subsidize the idiot factories that make Madden and NCAA, count me out.

EA has one real problem with their sports games, and this is true of basketball, football, and golf: the games bear little relation to the sports they allegedly represent. And while golf has its own set of problems, it’s incredibly simple to explain what’s wrong with the football and basketball games:

  1. if players don’t move at a realistic speed, both by themselves and in relation to other players, the game will feel wrong and play poorly.
  2. if the ball doesn’t move realistically, the game will feel wrong and play poorly.

Those two rules should be on the monitor of every single developer of EA Sports, because if those two things are right, everything else can be fixed. But if those two things are wrong, it doesn’t matter if the f-ing sweatbands and spirit patches are accurate.

There are multiple reasons why these things don’t get fixed:

  1. Zero leadership.
  2. It’s awkward, isn’t it? Can you imagine a bullet point on the box that says “Players finally move at realistic speeds”? Far better to spend hundreds of hours getting the correct nipple size for all the FBS cheerleaders instead.
  3. Why would they want to fix any of this? The EA Sports product line is relative mediocrity paired with exceptional, cutting-edge marketing. They’re not about making the product more realistic–they’re about selling more product.
    Look, Madden was much better the first year that Ian Cummings took over. It was playable (after a lot of work from users, but I’m okay with that). But last year was a disaster, and when I heard that Ian Cummings had left, my first reaction was: who cares? He’s no better than anyone else in the parade of clowns that have led development on that game for the last 20+ years.

The sad part: even after 20+ years, Madden, the flagship game, still doesn’t resemble professional football in any meaningful way.

NCAA is even worse. They’ve released what amounted to late alphas the last two years, absolute fireballs plummeting to Earth.

What does it matter, though? They’ve bought exclusive rights. There are no incentives to improve the game in any meaningful way when there’s no competition.

What are the two EA sports games that really shine? NHL–no exclusive license. FIFA–no exclusive license (they’ve locked up as much as they can, but the soccer world is too fragemented to get every license).

Yes, I know that NBA Live is the exception to the competition. I have no explanation for that, except that Live has always failed both Rule 1 and Rule 1. Miserably.

Everyone who likes sports games has a “favorite” memory of just how awful Live has been. My favorite was two or three years ago, when the ball would warp as guys dribbled. In a replay, you could clearly see that it took about three frames of animation for the ball to go from the floor to a player’s hand. It was so incredibly bad that it immediately became incredibly awesome.

EA has crushed their competition not by making their games better, or by adding value to their products, but by cornering the market on exclusive licensing. They’ve bought up every exclusive license they can. No competion. Big win.

Ironically, though, in the end, it’s a pyrrhic victory. I’d love to see a chart of how much their exclusive license fees have gone up in the last five years, because it must be killing them. And once you’ve tapped the market to exhaustion, maybe your sales will stop going up, but licensing fees will never stop going up. At some point, certain games are going to hit the wall.

Let me just say this, and I believe it’s a stone-cold guarantee: in the next five years, EA will begin backing away from these exclusive arrangements. Maybe they’ll keep the NFL, or try to, but that’s just one league. How exactly are they going to keep buying exclusive licenses for dozens of the world’s best soccer leagues, particularly when every single time they have to renew a license for one league, the price of renewing everyone else goes up?

It’s unsustainable.

Maybe they’ll be able to obtain some licenses for chicken feed–the PGA Tour comes to mind–but in an era where television rights are shooting into the stratosphere, I promise you that licensing fees are going to increase at the same pace.

This subscription free isn’t innovation, it’s desperation. EA has tried to expand the base of these games in every conceivable way, but once that’s tapped out, all they have left is to soak the existing customer base even more. That means they have to jam a “subscription” free of $15-$35 (the figures mentioned in Pastapadre’s article) down our throats.

This isn’t from strength. It’s from weakness.

So try to soak us with this bullshit subscription fee, EA, and by “bullshit” I mean you’re going to start transferring game features we actually want to “exclusive subscriber status” so fast it will make our heads spin. Soak us all you want, boys, because every time you have to renegotiate the fee for an exclusive league license, we’ll be the ones standing at the back of the room, laughing our asses off.

EA Sports “won” by eating a bomb, and it’s ticking.


This is EA, it’s what they do. If they try to make me pay for a monthly service on top of paying for the game, they can blow me. If it just one more idiotic feature I can ignore, no big deal…

Metacritic of 86 is hardly a “fireball plummet to earth.” The amount of vitriol here over hardly anything significant makes me think of No Mutants Allowed trolls frothing at the mouth over the Bethesda Fallout games being made. These sorts of people will hate anything EA does just because they need something and someone to hate.

In the end, it’s all about what the market can bare. Does it make sense to charge more for Madden if it’s the same as it always is and you get no benefits? Of course not. What’s going to determine up-take is the perceived benefit from doing so and the perceived cost for not doing it. Hardcore Madden fans will buy the game every year no matter what, so you have to tune down their 1% vocality a bit to hear the less hardcore and understand where their breaking point is.

I normally really like Bill Harris, but that post jpinard quoted is particularly shrill. I’m also annoyed by his tendency in recent posts to describe NCAA and Madden as “unplayable”. Dude, the games have issues (as all games do), but they are most certainly playable. Stop being “that guy”.