Madden is back, and the first details on the game focus on a slew of changes EA Tiburon is making to the way players move and control.

Madden series developer EA Tiburon has constantly worked to refine its movement and physics systems the past years. As much as it may have missed the mark in previous iterations, at least the studio has continued to strive towards its goals. The first details of Madden NFL 25 (named so to celebrate the game's 25th anniversary) center on controlling and moving players. 


Madden 25 uses the left trigger as a modifier button along with the normal face button and right analog stick controls to expand the moves a runner can make - this includes fighting-game movements like quarter turns to do special spin moves. You can also tap or hold the stiff-arm button to either pop pursuers or hold your arm out to jar defenders.

In my hands-on time with the game, I tested out stringing these moves together. The stiff-arm feels particularly gratifying - both in how it feels upon contact, as well as the outcomes it produced. Sometimes it stymies defenders and pushes them to the ground, and other times it slows the runner down as he struggles to fight off a linebacker, for instance.

All these moves drain a stamina meter that's shown at the base of the ball carrier. Use this up on a play or over a course of a game, and your player will not be as effective. If a player is especially drained, he might even be prone to fumbling.

If you falter while running, a stumble recovery icon appears at the base of your player. This gives you a split second to jam up on the right analog stick to dive forward for extra yards, or push the analog stick back to try and regain your balance. If you successfully regain your balance, a recovery animation will occur and you'll keep on running.

The sprint button (right trigger) has also returned. Runners move at a pace that allows them to maneuver better until you kick turn on the jets, at which time they climb to top speed. The combination of the new moves, stamina, speed management, and the hard cuts EA Tiburon is implementing to reduce the feeling that controlling players is like driving a car makes running with the ball more calculated than in the past.

It will be interesting to see how the increase control over player movement meshes with the changes to the blocking game, which includes more accurate blocking schemes, better physical contact between the offensive and defensive lines, and smarter execution overall.

Read on to find out how the defense is keeping up.


The running and blocking have improved on office, but the defense is hardly being left in the dust. AI improvements ensure that defenders take better angles of pursuit and perform breakdown wrap tackles in open space (the success of which depends on their awareness level). An upgraded player switch assist will also help even the odds. When you hit the dive button as your defensive tackle is rushing the QB, for instance, this won't cause your defensive back to dive out of the way accidentally when you press the button to switch players after the ball is released.

Defensive players combat runners' improved moves with skills of their own. Using what EA Tiburon is calling Heat Seeker Tackle Assist, players can hold down the wrap tackle button or the right analog to re-orientate your body and keep up with a juking ball carrier.

Contact between the defense and offense is governed by an improved Infinity engine, which hopefully will convey better tackle momentum, produce more realistic contact points between players, and also clean up a lot of the "floppy fish" rag dolls of players on the ground after plays.

Stay tuned for more details on Madden NFL 25's Connected Careers early next month.

Madden NFL 25 comes out for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on August 27.