Madden's online feature set the past few years has been filled with controversy, from ranked invites to the lackluster Online Franchise mode. While EA has already said that it isn't improving Online Franchise mode apart from some behind-the-scenes tweaks, it certainly hasn't given up on trying to improve the head-to-head and Online Team Play (OTP) experiences. We talked to Madden designer Anthony DiMento about Madden NFL 12's online features.

Communities is EA Tiburon's way of addressing users' frequent complaints that there aren't enough "good" players to play online because of chronic quitters and griefers spoiling the fun for others. Players can create and join Communities based on whatever custom game sliders and options that the Community wants – whether that's six minute quarters or the honor system promise to stick to "sim-football" conventions like punting on fourth down or not running the same play every time. "Play who you want, and play them the way you want to play," says DiMento. Gamers who band together in Communities will play each other in head-to-head (H2H) games as well as against other Communities in three-on-three co-op squad OTP matches (complete with leaderboards for both).

Some Community features include:

  • Communities can consist of two to two thousand members, and you can be a part of up to five different Communities
  • They can be open to the public so anyone who reads the text description of your Community and is interested can join, or they can be invite only. Unfortunately, there is no way to solicit invite-only Communities to let you join unless they invite you in the first place
  • Community creators or managers deputized by the creator can kick people out at any time
  • Rules or gameplay sliders can be tweaked whenever you want
  • Communities will have private lobbies, a message board, individual stat tracking, and other info and communication methods
  • When you create a Community, you can choose from over 50 current and historical NFL team logos. No custom logos, unfortunately.

The Community Description box is your chance to advertise what kind of players you're looking for

All the normal game options and AI sliders can be tweaked for your Community

Continue on for info on OTP and head-to-head play, as well as a highlight trailer