The More Hardcore-Targeted Gameplay Improvements Detailed for Madden NFL 15

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Posted July 25th, 2014 at 11:15 am

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EA Sports today released a breakdown of the specific improvements to gameplay that will appeal more to the hardcore crowd in Madden NFL 15. A lot of this was discussed in the recent live stream but it’s nice to have it laid out in this manner as well.

At the very least the company is demonstrating that they understand balance, realism, and options matter even if casuals have no idea they are there or ever take advantage of them. How effective it all is remains in question but that’s a good sign. The new features and adjustments attempt to address some of the long-running problems with Madden and offer counters to various tactics opponents might employ. 

NEW PRE-PLAY MECHANICS
For years, offensive players have had the ability to extend certain routes to the first down marker by using the smart route mechanic. In Madden 15, players have this same ability on the defensive side of the ball for their hook, buzz, and flat zones. By simply pressing Y, Y (Xbox One) or Triangle, Triangle (PlayStation 4) at the line of scrimmage, any defender in a hook, buzz, or flat zone will now drop to the first down marker to try and keep everything in front of them. The risk is that defenders protecting the sticks will not attempt to leverage a route that extends beyond the first down marker.

MAX PROTECT BLOCKING
This is a new piece to our slide protection system, and sets all tight ends and players in the backfield to block. This functionality replaces last year’s aggressive slide protection functionality.

NEW PRE-PLAY COVERAGE ADJUSTMENTS
This allows players to dictate what type of coverage technique they want their defenders to play, something hardcore fans have been asking for. The four coverage types users can choose from when using this functionality are listed below. The only coverage assignments these adjustments do not affect are Deep Zones.

♦Underneath: Puts defenders in trail type coverage, try and stay underneath the receiver.
♦Overtop: Defenders will try and stay over the top of their opponent to avoid getting beat deep. The disguised cushion functionality from Madden NFL 25 has been removed.
♦Outside: Puts defenders in better position to stop sideline routes, giving up space in the middle.
♦Inside: Puts defenders in a better position to stop routes over the middle of the field, while giving up space toward the sideline.

NEW QB CONTAIN MECHANIC
The QB contain defensive hot route has been replaced with a more realistic QB contain system that mimics QB contain behavior in the NFL much better that the old one.

♦QB contains are now called through the defensive keys menu, and are also built into certain defensive plays.
♦Outside-most pass rusher goes into contain assignment when user calls “contain” at LOS.
♦Defenders in contain assignments now engage a blocker, which allows them to slowly collapse the pocket while protecting the running lanes outside the pocket.
♦Defenders in contain able to disengage from blocks quickly when QB rolls out to their side.

BLUFF BLITZ
This new defensive hot route does several different things based on the defender’s positioning on the field. This hot route can be found where the defensive contain hot route used to be.

♦Defenders on the LOS that are hot routed to bluff blitz will guard the HB (If he is not already manned up) or drop into hook zone (If the HB is already manned up).
♦Defenders off the LOS or in the tackle box who are hot routed to bluff blitz will make their initial move like a blitzer before aborting to play their previous assignment.

FIXED MAX COVERAGE DEFENSIVE EXPLOIT
Maximum coverage defensive schemes have often been overpowering in past versions of Madden. This year, running the ball will be very effective against schemes thanks to some tuning. If you are in a game and your opponent is dropping multiple defensive linemen into coverage, make sure you run the ball!

FAKE SNAP
Although this mechanic is not specific to Madden NFL 15, there is now more of a reason than ever to implement it into your arsenal. With user defenders now utilizing the all-new off the line mechanics, players can now use Fake Snap to get them to jump offsides. Fake Snap can be triggered by a user QB simply pressing RB (Xbox One) or R1 (PS4) at the LOS. But be careful! Fake snaps can lead to false starts from your offensive linemen.

IMPROVED ADAPTIVE AI
Pass plays in Madden 15 have been grouped into real-life football concepts that dictate the types of defenses each pass play should be successful against. When an AI QB decides to audible, they will audible to a play that looks to beat your current defensive call. This makes for the most challenging, adaptive AI that we have ever seen in Madden. AI QB’s audible frequency will be dictated by the player’s awareness rating, difficulty level, and the number of times the user has called the same defensive play. It’s more important than ever to mix up your playcalling in Madden 15.

QB CADENCE DURING PRE-PLAY ADJUSTMENTS
This change has a big impact on competitive head-to-head play. Gone are the days of making several hot routes before your team has reached the LOS. Players now see an icon, and will have to wait until their QB completes a Peyton Manning-like cadence animation before they can select their next hot route, smart route, or audible. This change should force a more simulation style of Madden football.

NEW DEFENSIVE PLAY TYPES
Playbooks have several new defensive play types that are new to Madden this year. They are:

♦Contain: These plays include built-in contain assignments, so the user is not forced to make the adjustment at the LOS.
♦Disguised Coverage Shell: These play types will have defenders align in a way that disguises their coverage type. For example, there will be Cover 4 type plays where the defense aligns as if they are in Cover 2, as well as Cover 2 type plays where the defense aligns in Cover 1. There are multiple new plays that use this new logic.
♦New Wide Defensive formations: In Madden NFL 25, outside run plays were considered to be one of the more dominant offensive strategies. In Madden NFL 15, players now have a variety of new “Wide” defensive formations that are built to stop those outside runs. These new Wide formations can be found in Nickel and 4-3. 3-4 has also been adjusted to better stop outside runs with linebackers setting closer to the edge.

KICKING GAME ADJUSTMENTS
Madden NFL 15 includes some long overdue adjustments to that help capture the significance of the kicking game in the NFL. Users will see the following adjustments with the kicking game in Madden 15:

♦Accuracy Matters: Accuracy wedge in the kicking meter now scales based on your kicker’s rating and the distance of the kick.
♦Kick Accuracy Rating: Kick accuracy rating now plays a major impact on the kicking game, and affects a kicker’s aiming sensitivity when moving the R Stick to the desired position.
♦Kick Power: The effect of kick power ratings (KPW) has been adjusted across the board. For example, players with a 99 KPW can now kick as far as a 64-yard FG, while a player with an 83 KPW can only kick as far as a 45-yard FG.
♦Wind arrow bug is fixed: The arrow showing which way the wind is blowing was broken in Madden NFL 25. This has been resolved in Madden NFL 15.
♦Authentic Wind and Weather: Wind has been tuned to alter kicks in a more authentic manner. Weather and precipitation now have a slightly greater impact on kick power and accuracy.
♦AI Kicking: AI Punters will more frequently attempt coffin-corner punts. AI teams will also no longer attempt FG’s that their kicker has no chance of making.
♦Kicking Arc UI: In previous Madden titles, all users had to do in order to trigger an accurate kick was flick the R Stick straight up. In Madden NFL 15, players have to flick the R Stick in the direction they want the kick to go in order to get an accurate kick.

A revamped Kick Meter has been added, complete with kick distance and landing spot visuals that help user’s asses where their kick is projected to go. When playing on Rookie or Pro, the kick arc shows the user the projected landing spots for their kick if it gets 100%, 75%, or 50% power, while the All Pro kick arc only shows the user the projected landing spot if they get 100% power. All visual settings are defaulted to off in All-Madden, and can be toggled on or off regardless of difficulty level.

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  • HuskyinSouthernCali

    Pasta, have you heard anything about no huddle offense? I wish Madden would allow it to be a true no huddle like NCAA where you can run it after every play. As opposed to Madden where you can only run it after a run play in bounds or as long as the pass isn’t incomplete.

    • Bowinkle82

      no huddle on every play isnt sim in the nfl whereas it is (or was) in ncaa because colleges do it all the time

  • Dre2778

    Sounds promising, now it just has to executed correctly in the game. May be my first time buying Madden in years since NCAA is dead and gone. #IndesperateneedofFootball

  • Patrick Neff

    I’m really liking the adjustments to the game this year. It seems like it will require a bit more strategy and knowledge of the sport rather than just the game. I’m all for that.

  • Nathan Shane Long

    Madden 15 will be the best Madden since Madden 2005 this year will be awesome #STRAIGHTSIM

    • Iown You

      That says nothing quite honestly. They didn’t set the bar high.

      • Nathan Shane Long

        Really you must be a 90’s babies you have to be if you gonna act like Madden 2005 was not the best Madden game from the PS2/XBOX ERA not to mention Madden 05 was far better than the OVERRATED NFL 2K5 game the both released in 2004 10 years ago and Madden was rated higher than 2K5

        • JDiVine911

          I’m a 90’s baby and I liked Madden 05 with the hitstick feature and all. I also have ESPN NFL 2K5 (and still got it in my closet right now till this day) and I liked it as well. Its just 2K5 was more in depth along with better mechanics. If you noticed, you know alot of people are showing how mediocre Madden 25 is and comparing it to 2K5 as far as the mechanics go. People still actually play that game to this day along with APF 2K8. People favorite those games the most because they’re tired of being cheesed or cheesey gameplay and want something more authentic. 2K just understood mechanics alot more.

          • Nathan Shane Long

            What are you talking about? Madden 05 had far better graphics,gameplay,controls 2K controls were just as bad as the 2K basketball series 10 years ago not to mention the motion of the 2K players were very robotic not as smooth and fluid as Madden was also the passing game on 2K5 SUCKED!!!!! IT WAS TERRIBLE and for the record no one play APF 2K8 that game sucked and sold very poorly

          • Iown You

            “What are you talking about? Madden 05 had far better graphics”

            Are you OUT of your GOTdamn mind?

            LOL!

        • Iown You

          *SIGH* Why do people test me like they don’t know what the outcome is going to be?
          ———————————————————————–

          No, not a “’90’s baby”. Save your YouTube culture horseshit.

          I couldn’t have given two flying damns about Madden 05 with its goofy ass looking 12-year old boy player models. I was too busy playing a real football game (NFL 2K5). The game that was so “overrated” it made EA/Tiburon execs shit their diapers and send fear-riddled memos to each other about what the game was doing to Madden (read Pecover V. Electronic Arts).

          So overrated that all it did was win tons of industry awards, grasp consensus critical acclaim, sell 4.26 Million copies, and still to this day gets mentioned as the greatest football game ever made everywhere you go online.

          NFL 2K5 was so overrated that even now Madden Team struggles to create critical aspects of their game that 2K5 nailed a decade ago, and it’s been proven countless times with side-by-side video.

          So yeah, you keep sleeping and dreaming that NFL 2K5 was “overrated”. And while you’re at it, do us all a favor and don’t wake up.

          • Nathan Shane Long

            Boy i can’t believe how much of an DELUSIONAL ANTI-EA TROLL you are

            First of all Madden 2005 “12 year old player models” looked far better than 2K5 OVERGROWN STICK FIGURE PLAYER MODELS every player on the field had the exact same body type on 2K5 linebackers looked like wide receivers running backs looked like defensive tackles it was ridiculous

            second of all you must of forgot how desperate 2K was to sell copies and move units of their FLEDGLING football game 2K made NFL 2K5 RETAIL PRICE $20.00 back in 2004 they had to do that to have a chance to compete with Madden the two years prior to that 2001-2003 the 2K football series was very irrelevant and Madden smashed every other football game on the market NFL2K,NFL FEVER,NFL GAMEDAY 2K making it’s game price $20 is one of the main reason why the NFL signed the exclusive rights deal with EA SPORTS

            Third of all Madden had “MASS APPEAL” and was apart of “POP CULTURE” 10 YEARS AGO Madden was being played by a much broader audience while 2K had a CULT FOLLOWING AND MOST PEOPLE WHO CHOSE 2K QUITE FRANKLY SUCKED AT MADDEN SO THEY HAD AN ALTERNATIVE NFL GAME TO PLAY

            IN CLOSING I’M SICK OF YOU 2K FANBOYS EVERY SUMMER TRYING TO CIRCLE-JERK NFL 2K5 AND SAY THAT IT IS THE GREATEST NFL GAME EVER MADE WHEN IT WON’T EVEN BETTER THAN THE EDITION OF MADDEN FOOTBALL IT WAS UP AGAINST 10 YEARS AGO

          • Iown You

            >>>>>Boy i can’t believe how much of an DELUSIONAL ANTI-EA TROLL you are<<<<>>>>First of all Madden 2005 “12 year old player models” looked far better than 2K5 OVERGROWN STICK FIGURE PLAYER MODELS every player on the field had the exact same body type on 2K5 linebackers looked like wide receivers running backs looked like defensive tackles it was ridiculous<<<>>>second of all you must of forgot how desperate 2K was to sell copies and move units of their FLEDGLING football game 2K made NFL 2K5 RETAIL PRICE $20.00 back in 2004 they had to do that to have a chance to compete with Madden the two years prior to that 2001-2003 the 2K football series was very irrelevant and Madden smashed every other football game on the market NFL2K,NFL FEVER,NFL GAMEDAY 2K making it’s game price $20 is one of the main reason why the NFL signed the exclusive rights deal with EA SPORTS<<<<>>>Third of all Madden had “MASS APPEAL” and was apart of “POP CULTURE” 10 YEARS AGO Madden was being played by a much broader audience while 2K had a CULT FOLLOWING AND MOST PEOPLE WHO CHOSE 2K QUITE FRANKLY SUCKED AT MADDEN SO THEY HAD AN ALTERNATIVE NFL GAME TO PLAY<<<>>>IN CLOSING I’M SICK OF YOU 2K FANBOYS EVERY SUMMER TRYING TO CIRCLE-JERK NFL 2K5 AND SAY THAT IT IS THE GREATEST NFL GAME EVER MADE WHEN IT WON’T EVEN BETTER THAN THE EDITION OF MADDEN FOOTBALL IT WAS UP AGAINST 10 YEARS AGO<<<<

            And while you spew that manure, there aren't an assortment of articles revisiting Madden 05. There aren't vibrant communities still modding and updating Madden 05. There is no consensus opinion that Madden 05 was the greatest football game ever made. But you know what game DOES have all of that? NFL 2K5.

            I don't even play NFL 2K5 anymore as APF took hierarchy over it for me in terms of play time. But I won't ignore the legacy NFL 2K5 earned. 2K went behind the boards and produced a legend that people still can't stop talking about. Tiburon has yet to do that, even after a decade of no other new game to compete with. You can cry, kick and scream about it all you want, but history is sealed now and there is nothing you can do to remove NFL 2K5's place in it. If you want to stop hearing about it, then it's up to Tiburon to produce greatness and shut people up. Until then, you and other clowns like Rex Dickson need to suck it up and accept it.

  • http://lifebeforethebucket.blogspot.com/ Adrian Waller

    As usual with Madden, I’ll believe it when I see that it works. And at the same time, you have to give EA some credit for trying. They could just as easily have left all of this out and still made massive profits from Madden this year.

    • Trey Warner

      Well of course there are going to be some new problems with all of these new features… But bravo to EA for finally making a bigger change. This game might not be flawless but it should be a good starting point.

  • RowdyRoddyPooper

    I think I’m gonna stick with last years version but just do a roster update.

  • Allday28

    A kicking feature?

    • Trey Warner

      Yeah AI kicking (mostly punting) has been terribly in all Maddens.

  • Brian

    Last year I never thought I’d say this, but I’m definately buying Madden before 2K. To start off, Madden had the stronger next gen title last year. And 2K has enraged me far too long with ball warping. Press plays that illegally press you out of bounds with no foul given. AI that sink shots despite the defense you play against them. Shooters that turn cold in crunch time. All the while, the CPU sinks anything and everything while in space. The game doesn’t even pick up when you’re double-teaming a shooter. If neither of them have the right angle on the shooter, SOL. He’ll elevate and sink the shot. Regardless of who he is. You even had to make sure to guard the inbound play at the end of the quarter because they sunk full court shots with NBA Jam TE regularity. Not to mention the player sunction that kicks in the final moments of each quarter. Turning any defender into Gary Payton. And anybody with the ball like an undermanned high school guard. I know 2K lost their precious Football game, but the time to be PC towards 2K is over. Last game was trash, and so far Madden is only improving on a superior game, and 2K is sitting quietly.

    • Iown You

      I have no idea why people keep comparing basketball and football. Why not compare Smurf’s adventure to UFC? That makes just as much sense…

      • Khadeem

        Because they arw both sports titles that release in a close time span…For me the better game will consume most of gaming time for the fall, winter, and spring

        • Iown You

          So when that new Bocce Ball game comes out in August, don’t forget to bring that up, too…

    • Khadeem

      Thank you man…ive felt that since 2k12…ive been a online ranked/association player and my experiences these last few years have been horrible…the game has felt less and less like a sim game…. I also felt like control has been taken away from the user…there are too many force fields and uninterruptable animations…the response to controller has been bad, direction passing is broken, rebounding and all paint/post play have been broking for years…its time 4 ppl to be honest…ppl got mad at madden for porting the game to next gen as far as feature go, but at keast they had online franchise, they have rankings, and more editable features..2k has to step their game up

  • hungryandrew

    We go through this every year folks, why would this year be any different?

  • vic

    Blah blah swear I hear same crap every year we improved this we improved that so I’ll believe it when I see it wishful thinking though….now how about info on franchise mode ate they still only concentrat ing on online users or any of the SIM players going to get some love?

  • http://www.michaelcoledesigns.com Michael Cole

    All of this sounds great but you have no idea how happy I was to read that AI punters won’t just mindlessly boot the ball out of the endzone any more!

  • madden_all_pro

    All these changes are going to be great for my sim league

  • Pickotherteambesidesnfcwest

    At least this years game WILL be better than last yrs. M25 is too cheesy

  • Ian John

    50 million kicking updates and still no disguised onside kick?

  • GatorBait08

    Sounds good, but if we can’t edit draft classes completely, this game is junk and I will not buy. I’m not buying a game with draft classes with horrific, pitiful, fake players. Not going to have my franchise ruined by duplicate players showing up in multiple draft classes.

  • GatorBait08

    Also, aside from horrible forced poorly generated draft classes……Will simmed stats be realistic? Will AI team use multiple RBs. Will teams still draft poorly? Will the progression/regression system ever be done right?

  • Timmy B Winning

    Sounds awesome…just hope it plays as well as it sounds

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