Madden NFL is consistently one of the biggest games released every year, so when the Executive Producer of the franchise speaks up, people listen. Recently Phil Frazier, Madden NFL 12’s executive producer, gave an interview previewing some of the improvements made to this year’s release, and addressing the possibility of giving the Madden community more control of the game.
One of the biggest gripes that fans of the long running series have had is with Madden’s franchise mode. While the mode is fairly deep, it hasn’t received a major addition or revamp in years. According to Frazier, that changes with Madden NFL 12.
“Franchise Mode is indeed getting a lot of love in Madden NFL 12. We’ve added a number of features and enhancements to the mode that make it the deepest franchise experience we’ve provided this generation… we’ve expanded the rosters and have added a mechanic around having to reduce your roster each week in the preseason adds an element of drama and challenge.”
Actually having something meaningful to do during the preseason will be a welcome change to fans who have simply “simmed” past it for all these years. Frazier continued by describing the improvements made to Madden 12’s collision system, as highlighted in this gameplay trailer. The EA team has added move physics elements, like improved momentum, that will increase tackling realism and reduce the hated “tumbleweed” missed tackles.
“Our changes to the collision system should greatly reduce, if not completely eliminate the ‘tumbleweed’ situations we’ve seen before. Animations are now triggered only when contact is made. The end result is much less suction, and instead, animations that have more impact than before”
Frazier went on to confirm that the Strategy Pad and GameFlow play calling will be back this year, and both will get upgrades as well. EA has streamlined the Strategy Pad, now allowing players to call audibles and switch formations with only two button presses rather than three. Gamers will have greater control over the plays called from the GameFlow system, as well.
“Before an offensive play you can choose a ‘Gameplan’ play which will call the standard GameFlow selection, you can call a ‘Run Heavy’ play which is highly likely to choose a run, and ‘Pass Heavy’ will greatly lean towards a throw.”
Possibly the most interesting thing that Frazier touched on was the influence that fan interaction has had, and could possibly have in the future, on the Madden NFL franchise. This year EA ran a fan voting contest to see who would be on the cover of Madden NFL 12 (Peyton Hillis defeated Mike Vick in the finals of the tournament). This could just be the start of fan interaction helping to shape Madden.
“I’ll predict that fan interaction will continue and likely increase for years to come. Maybe one day we’ll allow the Madden community to control the rosters directly for example.”
Control the rosters directly? What does he mean by that? Could Frazier be suggesting that Madden fans will be trusted with roster updates instead of waiting for EA to release them? Or could he be implying that fans could have a direct affect on player ratings? Frazier didn’t talk in any depth about the idea, and it could have simply been a throwaway comment, but it raises a lot of questions about what ideas are being discussed at EA Sports.
Sports gamers, do the improvements that Frazier mention make you more excited for this year’s Madden release? Where do you fall on the possibility of the Madden community taking direct control of the rosters?
Madden NFL 12 will be available on all major consoles August 30, 2011.