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Madden NFL 13

The First Part of Madden's Rebuilding

Madden NFL 13 is following in the footsteps of NCAA in many of its presentation and gameplay changes. This overhaul is definitely needed.

After Madden NFL 12's lackluster showing, developer EA Tiburon is rebuilding the franchise starting with gameplay. The studio hopes improvements to the passing game and defensive AI can take it out of the rut it's been in.

The changes to the game's presentation and gameplay are just the beginning, so be sure to check back through the summer as more details on the game – including its feature set and modes – are revealed.

Madden NFL 13 comes out for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and Wii on August 28.

 

PRESENTATION

The Madden series took strides in the past few years to make its presentation a highlight for the franchise, but last year was a big misstep. In particular, the commentary between Gus Johnson and Chris Collinsworth was awful.

  • This year, CBS' number-one commentary crew of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms anchor the game with more lines of dialogue. EA Tiburon promising non-stop banter that is situationally aware of the playoffs, big games, divisional games, etc.
  • Nantz and Simms appear in an in-booth cutscene before the game that includes stadium-specific backgrounds.
  • EA is introducing 200-plus new cutscenes between plays, before games, and more. These cutscenes are inspired by broadcast TV presentation. Replays are also being overhauled for more dramatic effect.
  • Halftime features a new stats overlay, but there is no halftime show.
  • The game contains all the new Nike uniforms and alternates on the disc. Some of the unis may have to be unlocked via a code as they are released in real life.
  • Lighting changes based on the time of day occur per play instead of just at quarter breaks.
  • Madden NFL 13 features the improved high dynamic range lighting and motion blur of NCAA Football 13.

GAMEPLAY

The Madden series has rightly been criticized for its host of legacy issues, many of which reside in the passing game. This year's title attempts to tackle both the passing game and player AI in general.

PASSING GAME

  • EA improved the left-analog stick passing controls so you can place the ball on a receiver's back shoulder, out toward the sideline, up high, down low, and other places where only your receiver can get it.
  • Madden 13 integrates new pass trajectories and ball speeds to open up more areas of the field in the passing game.
  • New pass animations speed up the time in which quarterbacks get rid of the ball, including a new shovel pass and specific set-ups for throws on the run.
  • Pump fakes are now directed toward specific receivers, occur faster, and contain specific animations when performed outside of the pocket.
  • Like NCAA 13, Madden features more than 20 new quarterback dropbacks, including those for 1/3/5/7-step variations, screens, and plays with auto-pump fake dropbacks. QBs even drop back automatically and set-up in the pocket if you don't touch the right analog stick after the snap.
  • To improve the receiving, EA is including more than 430 new catch animations, some of which are fueled in part by the changes made to the left-analog passing stick. EA Tiburon says it also wants to make user catches easier to do by slowing down players when they select a receiver.
  • The quarterbacks have new moves for avoiding the pass rush. A slowed down pocket speed give you more control when you're trying to not get sacked.
  • EA tweaked play-action to include an abort command that cancels the animation for those situations where a defender is barreling in unabated. The play-action also unravels faster in general. Running backs should be better in blocking after the fake (as well as release for passes) and defenders will be faked out more by play-action.
  • Receivers have timing windows in their routes. When they expect the ball they'll turn their head to the quarterback. Until this time, their passing icons are grayed out. Passing to a receiver who isn't expecting the ball will often result in an incompletion. However, receivers will sometimes look for the ball earlier if the cornerback across the line of scrimmage blitzes or the receiver beats the jam at the line.

AI

  • Neither receivers nor defensive backs react to a ball unless they are expecting it (like in the case of a quick slant for receivers) or they have their heads turned and are looking at it. This should hopefully do away with the psychic defensive backs from past Madden games.
  • Defenses line-up opposite receivers in a best-on-best designation. This prevents your linebacker from matching up against an elite wide receiver lined up in the slot, for instance.
  • Defenses disguise their man or zone coverage before the snap so offenses can't try to use motion to uncover the defense's plans.
  • Defenders use different coverage techniques such as off coverage (where they start seven or so yards off the line of scrimmage and attempt to read the ball), trail techniques (including hand fighting), and split techniques (where the linebacker stands between the tight end and slot receiver).
  • New animations allow for simultaneous tackles while the ball is being caught (including being able to knock out the ball in mid-air), and in general the development team says it's been working on the interplay between players while the ball is in the air.
  • EA promises enhanced AI playcalling for two-minute drill, goal line, clock draining, and red zone situations.

ETC

  • Special teams coverage has been revamped to get rid of player clustering. EA is also integrating cover and lane logic, new formations, and better wedges on returns.
  • Madden's control scheme is now synched up exactly with NCAA's.

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Comments
  • If they get back to what made Madden 11 successful then they can make a really good game. 12 was horrible to me but 11 was easily the best football game I had since NFL 2k5
  • That sounds good, but lets see how well these ideas are actually executed.
  • I'll wait for a demo before anything.
  • yep! and i just won the powerball! none of these changes will be noticed. it will be the same game with a tweak to career mode and new cover athletes. the track record is there with this game: it never gets better, in fact sometimes it gets worse!
  • This looks great. 2012 looked good, but played all right. 2011 was just all right. 2010 was fun and easy to play, and had all right graphics. Combine madden 2010 with madden 12 graphics. Either way, this looks spectacular. CaN'T wait. GO VIKINGS.
  • Cool.  Looks like they are revamping a TON of stuff.  I bet this year's Madden and NCAA's are going to be pretty good.

  • The cosmetic changes are nice, but gameplay has suffered the most over the last few years. I wonder how often the d will disguise their zone\man coverage. One of the reasons to send your man in motion is to try and read the defense or get a mismatch. If both mismatches and disguising the defense are done by the AI, it would seem to take an element of the strategy away from the games. The QB throw trajectory changes are WAY overdue though, as are the corners making insane interceptions in single man-man coverage without manual control. Sounds pretty good overall.
  • Madden needs some serious competition if we are to believe that they will attempt to make significant strides for their football games. Oh how I miss 2K's NFL games..
  • cant wait to play madden 13 after hearing about all these changes

  • I love and play every Madden aton but I did feel like Madden 12 was a step back.

  • Are the horrible presnap adjustment controls being changed?
  • Prove it

  • I personally never had a problem with Madden 12 (I always thought it played better than 11, but that's just me). But like everyone else is saying it really needs to improve because if it's somehow worse than Madden 12 than I will just stop buying Madden forever.

    In terms of presentation, I'm glad they're getting rid of Collinsworth because for some reason his voice and his analysis of players and teams seems to get annoying after a while, especially in real life. After witnessing the presentation of NBA 2K12 with Kevin Harlan, Steve Kerr and Clark Kellogg I say that every sports game's commentary from now on has no excuse to not be as well put together as NBA 2K12 was. NBA 2K12 set the bar for presentation and I hope Madden does the same thing.

    One of my biggest gripes of Madden is the AI. It seems as if the opposing computer's AI can shut down my offensive line and my receivers a little too well sometimes, but my AI can't even tell what defense I call (I once had a Safety IN ZONE on Cover 2 and he decided to play man to man on a flanker). There are way too many things wrong with the game to list, but I really hope Madden 13 is much better.
  • Good to see. I have been waiting for a massive overhaul of the Madden franchise. I'll probably still skip this year's edition (unless it gets some great reviews) and wait til next year for the refinements of these changes.

  • appreciating the kansas city love in these screenshots

  • I can't wait to get this. The last Madden game I liked was Madden NFL 09. This has just became one of my most anticipated games of the year. The realism that's going to be in this game is a major factor. Definitely worth $60.

  • Ok this is either all a lie... or it will be the best Madden game ever... as ALL of these upgrades have been needed since... forever? Also, I am hoping that this isn't just a cut and paste from the upgrades listed for NCAA 12 as it nearly reads the EXACT same. I have wondered why it has taken over a decade for the Madden/NCAA studios to call each other on the phone and say "hey what are you doing to make your game not suck this year?" It has made no sense to me why NCAA has been stellar year after year and yet Madden has been about 14 steps behind...
  • The got rid of Collinsworth?! OMG I may just buy this one! That guy kills me on '12 with his horrid comments and his voice makes me wanna kill babies!

    Also if all these changes stay true and they pull it off this will definitely be the best Madden in YEARS!

  • nice too see they're finally making changes too the announcers commentary. I was so pissed when i got madden 12 and realized it had the same commentary from madden 2009. Not to mention it just sounded cheesy and kind of robotic every time they spoke, and Collinsworth just gives me a headache after awhile. thought game play was Ok but still it will be interesting to see what the do this year with the game.

  • It looks like they finally realized that people are enjoying the NCAA games more so maybe they should change their game to match up with what NCAA is doing.  Just about all of these updates sound exactly like what NCAA is improving this year.  Good move.  I buy Madden and NCAA every year and this year I may actually enjoy both equally...nah!  NCAA Football is still better than Madden!

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