Recapping the Madden NFL 12 Player Trait Feature and Changes From the Season

Posted February 14th, 2012 at 1:30 pm

One of the more valuable gameplay-centric additions in Madden NFL 12 came with player “traits”. They allowed for improved player differentiation on the field, another way to target the right players in Franchise mode to fit a particular play style, and additional items for fans to debate outside of just ratings. The feature added a new level of definition to players that had been desperately needed for a long time but there is room to expand on that going forward. 

The worth of having a ‘clutch’ trait was no more evident than with its application to Tim Tebow. Prior to Madden 12 there would have been no way to represent his performance – terrible through most of a game and then turning it on in the final minutes. That is what ‘clutch’ was intended to do, however probably not quite to the extreme that was Tebow, but to give players who step up late in games or in high-pressure situations the edge that they have in real life.

The season began with 36 players receiving the ‘clutch’ designation. It ended with 38. Otherwise only 3 changes to other traits were made.

•Eli Manning lost his ‘clutch’ trait after week 1 and recaptured it after week 8.
•Calvin Johnson gained the ‘clutch’ trait after week 4.
•Greg Salas and Lance Kendricks got the ‘drops open passes’ trait after week 2.
•Philip Rivers lost the ‘clutch’ trait after week 11.
•Tim Tebow gained the ‘clutch’ trait after week 12.
•Josh Freeman lost the ‘clutch’ trait after week 12.
•DeSean Jackson got the ‘drops open passes’ trait after week 12.
•Jimmy Graham gained the ‘clutch’ trait after Conference Championship week.
•Justin Smith gained the ‘clutch’ trait after Conference Championship week.

Ultimately though outside of ‘clutch’ which was handled pretty well it was largely reputations that drove the other traits and probably why so few changed throughout the season. It’s hard to change perception of a player once they are established as one thing or another. That usually won’t happen after a single game or stretch of games or necessarily after an entire season.

As such there should be different degrees for each trait – so that a player doesn’t have to be saddled with ‘drops open passes’ or in the clear completely. There could be ‘”drops open passes” when going across the middle, when bracing for hits, or in pressure situations (think Stevie Johnson there) as just a couple examples. That extra layer is already there with a traits such as  ‘covers the ball’ which is situational. There should also be some traits for offensive lineman which were pretty much left out of the mix this year while ‘confidence’ needs to be better defined than just starting everyone at 3 stars and in turn more meaningful in its effect.

Hopefully the “traits” feature will continue to be expanded upon – not just in the number of traits but in their impact on the field and the extent to which they apply and help to define each player beyond their ratings.