MADDEN NFL 13 Brings Real Change to Video Game Football
Forgoing the "Madden curse" for the moment, let's talk about the game. Amidst crowds, an ESPN set for the live reveal, and tourists trying to find out what the heck was going on, EA set up several consoles in a building overlooking the setup so press could see what makes Madden 13 a new game, and not "just another Madden." After a year of big innovation in the 2010-2011 season, Madden 12 seemed to have less changes. To counter any possibility of stagnancy, EA staffed up for this year's edition, almost doubling the team working on it.
"That was brought on with our new manager Ken Weber, he wants the core gameplay to be linked to what actually happens in a football game. What happens between the white lines drives everything else," said Clint Oldenberg, coordinator of Play Design from EA. "There are so many things, we've barely scratched the surface of what a football video game can be," he explained. Because of that, and because of the development team's love of football, there is no temptation to merely put out a game with updated rosters and let it sell like crazy anyway.
"One of the things I love the most is the play action out. Previously, if you were running play action against a human opponent, you were just going to get sacked if the wrong defense was coming at you. Now with the touch of a button you can opt out of play action and go straight to throwing the ball. We have Quarterback avoidance now, too, just tap the thumbstick in one of eight directions and you can roll out of sacks. We give you the ability to push a button and have input on whether you get sacked or not."
The quarterback isn't the only one with more control (though you also have true precision passing in Madden 13, another addition for the man under center). Wide receivers who catch the ball under player control will reward you with over 400 brand-new catch animations; user controlled catches are more fluid now, requiring a little less split second timing and more general knowledge of routes, another way EA hopes to make the football experience improve. Of course, with better wideouts, defenders need to step up their game as well.
In a unique development style, the entire team worked on every new feature put into the game. Usually game development tends to be compartmentalized, but Oldenberg said that team mentality translated into a new level of polish to the game. "The whole team is needed for putting any one feature in the game. We have great programmers, great designers. For core football gameplay, we used everybody on everything."
If you're a Madden player that usually only upgrades every other year or one out of three and you bought Madden 12, you may want to take a second look at this one. It's improvements are evident in this early build, and it truly delivers on the promise of not just a new Madden, but a better football game.
As Oldenberg summed it up, "This is the best Madden yet. This is the most authentic, real, and innovative game that we've put out for Madden, ever, really."
Madden NFL 13 will hit shelves August 28, 2012