This year's Madden has two big hurdles to overcome: Take advantage of the new systems, as well as take care of nagging legacy problems. Our first look at Madden NFL 15 on the new consoles shows that developer EA Tiburon has been very busy.

So far, EA Tiburon has highlighted a lot of changes on the defensive side of the ball, from reworking how linemen rush the passer to redoing defensive schemes. If these additions are tuned correctly, the title's new balance of power could make for some exciting chess matches between offenses and defenses. Here is what we know so far:


  • The pre-game is shorter in order to get you into the game faster, and unlike previous years is less about showing the stadium and crowds before the game.
  • Real video of players is incorporated into the pre-game presentation.
  • A new halftime show breaks down first half highlights and stats with commentary from Larry Ridley, who did reporter voice work in last year's Madden.
  • EA added jumbotrons to the stadiums this year.
  • You can change game cameras at the line of scrimmage without going into the settings screen. For instance, you can switch to a zoomed out camera by toggling with the up/down on the d-pad. For online games, the number of camera switches you can perform is restricted to prevent griefing.
  • Players' actions after the play has been cleaned up and tuned to show more emotion.


  • EA is introducing a new play calling system this year. The screen is now divided up into different sections: Strategy, Community, Favorite, and Previous Play. Strategy shows you the best plays based on the current down and distance, and also shows you what the other team usually runs. Community shows you what other players have run in this situation based on information from the cloud. Favorite brings up what you've chosen in the past. Along with these play recommendations, EA gives players info such as the percentage of the time the play gains an average number of yards.
  • If you prefer to call plays with the traditional formation screen you can still do that.
  • Gameflow play calling returns, and will show you more info to help your decision.


  • Like NCAA Football you can switch on/off the player-lock camera by hitting right or left on the d-pad. It's inactive for local head-to-head play.
  • When you're playing as a defensive linemen and engaged in a block, you can press A on the Xbox One (X on the PS4) and move your left analog stick to try and disengage and tackle the ball carrier as he goes by.
  • When engaged, you can also steer the offensive linemen by moving the left analog. This can be used to set up offensive linemen and get them off balance.
  • The right stick is not used for pass rush moves anymore, it's all done with the face buttons and your left analog movement stick.
  • The game introduces an optional Tackle Cone. As the ball carrier comes in range, the cone appears at the base of your player. This means you can initiate a tackle, and it also orientates your player in space so they can prepare to make the tackle. EA says that in its testing, the Tackle Cone has greatly increased the number of open field tackles. The cone is the same regardless of the defensive player.
  • When the ball is snapped, like NCAA, you press the right trigger to time your acceleration off the line.
  • Developer EA Tiburon admits that its man and zone coverages in previous games weren't that good, so they've redone them in Madden 15. Now the dev says that cover 2 and cover 3, for example, stop the routes they are supposed to.
  • High-rated defensive backs will break on the ball as soon as the quarterback's shoulder starts moving forward.
  • New defensive head tracking means that defenders won't make a play on the ball unless they have their head turned.


  • Quarterback throws vary depending on how good the player is (creating more differentiation among quarterbacks) and if their mechanics have been disrupted.
  • More inaccurate throws leads to more variation in receivers' catch animations, as well as those for incompletions.


  • A new kick meter has been implemented. We only used it once, and the changes are more visual than mechanical.

This isn't all the new features Madden NFL 15 has; through the summer EA will continue to share new details about Madden 15's gameplay and modes.

Madden NFL 15 comes out for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on August 26. To what extent the last-gen versions of the game embrace all of the features listed above is unknown at this time.