New mode Superstar KO has been added to Madden NFL 20

Posted September 3rd, 2019 at 7:15 am

Just in time for kickoff week EA Sports has introduced a whole new mode to Madden NFL 20. Superstar KO combines X-Factors, custom rules, unique teams, stadium and commentary style for a brand-new and abbreviated play experience.

It is all about fast-to-fun gameplay, where every play matters, and games that can last from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. It always presents you interesting choices, whether it be about how you build your team, or how you overcome or take advantage of mismatches. But most of all, it is just fun.

How it Works

To get to shorter games, we’ve combined the House Rules tech we’ve been working on for the past year to create gameplay rules that make sure every play matters. You’ll each get a chance to score in phase one, Superstar OT, and if you are still tied, you can settle the score in a brand-new house rule called Tug of War. The play on the field is dominated by Superstar X-Factors. You will be given a few to start, as well as the chance to earn (or steal!) more, but best of all, the X-Factors are active from the very first play. If you’ve wanted to see the full power of the NFL’s best, Superstar KO is the place. Finally, they all come together on eight brand new teams developed exclusively for Superstar KO. They have custom playbooks and rosters that give each team a unique flavor. From the air-it-out style of Dot City, to the defensive mastery of Shutdown. Each playbook is created to have strengths and weakness that create interesting mismatches and situations.

Superstar KO takes place in a custom-designed stadium. Like a festival for the best football on the planet, it is in an undisclosed location where players with the X-Factors of today meet the Legends of yesterday, and maybe even some Iconic superfans as well. Calling the action is our DJ and announcer, Tre Mo, who stays on top of the game, but makes sure you know exactly how everyone is doing. The crowd gets into it as well, and they are known to be incredibly vocal. It is a vibe where fun rules, big plays are the norm, and you are never far from the action. Winning is exhilarating but losing never hurts—just jump back in and build a new team to take the crown. Finally, you can expect us to keep updating Superstar KO as the year progresses. We’ve got a bunch of new rules, players, and ideas that will keep the game fresh. But first, let’s get into how you play.

Once you come into Superstar KO, you have your first choice. You can play 1v1, 2v2, or 3v3. Each queue is unique, and you will match up with others who are playing with the same number of players. For solos, just click the play button. Squads will play once everyone you’ve invited or matchmake with is ready.

Picking teams in KO is like picking your character in a fighting game. Each team has unique strengths and weakness that you will have to learn. The playbooks that each team uses are entirely custom for Superstar KO, so don’t expect to see what you’d see in other modes in Madden. Part of the fun of Superstar KO is trying out different teams, learning which playbook gels with your play style, and developing a draft strategy. Another thing you will notice is how visually distinct the teams are: they all have unique uniforms, fun coaches, and a unique history.

There are three types of players in the drafting rounds: Superstar X-Factors, Legends, and Icons. The Superstar X-Factors are the names you know from today’s NFL; the players who can change the complexion of the game on a dime. All 50 X-Factors from Madden NFL 20 are available at random during the draft. They are joined by Legends and Icons. Legends are the best players of NFL lore, but they don’t get into the game very often. You’ll have to be lucky to see them stand up and appear in your draft. Even rarer are Icons. These NFL superfans tend to be coaches, but sometimes they will suit up and don a helmet, becoming key players in your quest to become Undefeated Champs.

Each player has a rarity level, like what you might see in a battle royale game like Apex Legends. Common players just have their Superstar X-Factor ability and don’t have a special color associated with them. Players with a blue outline are Rare players. They have an X-Factor plus a couple of Superstar abilities to spice things up. Purple players are Ultra Rare. They have an X-Factor and even more abilities that can change the game. Finally, you have gold Legendary players. Legends and Icons make up this group, but sometimes an X-Factor could achieve Legendary status. Alongside an X-Factor, this group of players have an enormous amount of passive abilities that can dominate a game, but beware, they are not invincible, so look for counters that can stop them in their track.

Gameplay Rules

Once you enter the game, players each get a drive from their own 25-yard line. There are no special teams in Superstar KO, so there are no kickoffs, punts, or field goals, just 75 yards in front of you. If you can score a touchdown, you must go for two.

Once your drive is over, your opponent takes over with the same goal. If they match your score, we go to a tiebreaker. Otherwise the game is over. With these rules, lots of situations can end the game:

  • Player A scores and converts two-pointer. Player B scores and does not convert. Player A wins.
  • Player A scores touchdown by does not convert. Player B scores and converts. Player B wins.
  • Player A loses a turnover and player B scores (pick-six or recovered fumble). Player B wins.
  • Player A does not score. Player B loses a turnover and Player A scores. Player A wins.
  • Player A does not score. Player B scores a touchdown. Player A wins.
  • Player A scores. Player A loses a turnover on two-point conversion (or safety) and player B scores. Player B scores a touchdown. Player B wins.

So now you know how things can end in Superstar OT, but what happens if you are tied at the end of the drives? TUG. OF. WAR.

You may remember Tug-of-War from EA Sports NCAA Football 14. Players start at the 50-yard line and take turns alternating plays on offense until they score or plays run out. After the plays run out, whoever is closest to their opponents endzone wins. In Superstar KO, at launch, each team will have three plays on offense to move the ball in the right direction. Once those plays end, or a touchdown is scored, the game is over.

Beta Launch

We are launching Superstar KO as a beta for the first season. While we’ve done extensive playtesting in the studio (and bought more pizza than I’d like to admit), we want your feedback. Superstar KO has been a massive team effort, and we feel you should be part of that team. What balance changes do we need to make? Is something overpowered? Between your feedback on places like Twitter and Reddit, and the data the game also provides us, we want to make changes to make Superstar KO the best way to play a quick game of Madden 20. And who knows, we might add some surprises, too!