Every year, fans of the Madden series look forward to not just news on gameplay features and changes, but also to who is selected as the game’s cover athlete. There’s usually much debate over which football star deserves the privilege of being featured on the cover, and this year is no different. Keeping with the tradition of recent years, EA is letting the fans make the final decision as to who will be the cover athlete for Madden NFL 16.
Four different athletes are being considered this year and will be vying for votes. Among them are Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Odell Beckham, Jr. of the New York Giants, Patrick Petersen of the Arizona Cardinals, and Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots.
The voting system is somewhat strange, as the first round will require that voters own either Madden NFL Mobile or last year’s game, Madden NFL 15. Mobile players can earn one vote per day simply by logging into the game, and additional votes can be earned by completing daily event challenges.
Meanwhile, console gamers with Madden NFL 15 can earn votes by playing Ultimate Team Mode. Logging into Ultimate Team each day is good for one vote that can be cast for any of the four aforementioned athletes in contention. Four more votes can be earned on top of that by completing four different solo challenges. Potentially, this means that fans with Madden NFL 15 can cast five votes in total towards whichever athlete they want to grace the cover of this year’s game.
Voting for the first round will conclude on Monday, May 11th, with the two athletes with the most votes then proceeding to a final round of voting. The final round is not quite as convoluted or complicated as the first round, as anyone will be able to log on to ESPN and vote when polls open on Wednesday, May 13th.
As for who will win the voting, smart money is on Rob Gronkowski. After all, Gronkowski aided his team in a Super Bowl victory in February, and not only that, he may have won some extra points with gamers thanks to his appearance on Conan, in which he played Mortal Kombat X against Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks.
Not only did EA announce cover athlete voting details, but they also confirmed which platforms Madden NFL 16 will be available on when it releases on August 25th of this year. As it turns out, the game will once again be a cross-gen title, releasing on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Unfortunately for Wii U owners, Madden NFL 16 is skipping the platform yet again this year. The last time a Madden game released for Wii U was Madden NFL 13, but even then it was significantly inferior to other versions of the game. After a rocky Wii U debut with 13, EA decided to have Madden NFL 25 and Madden NFL 15 both ignore the platform as well. For all intents and purposes, it looks as though the Madden series is not likely to be returning to the Wii U any time soon, if ever.
Possible cover athletes and platforms aside, Madden NFL 16 is still a pretty big mystery, as virtually no gameplay details on the game have been divulged by EA. They are most likely saving a full reveal of the game for their E3 press conference, though it is possible that a gameplay trailer for the game will debut before then.
Speaking of E3, it may turn out to be a very exciting time for football fans and not just because of the potential for details on the new Madden. Rumor has it that Microsoft is collaborating with 2K Sports on an Xbox exclusive NFL game. Considering Microsoft’s healthy relationship with EA and the EA Access program, it seems strange that they would want to compete directly with them, especially in the form of a football game, a realm in which EA has been virtually unopposed for a decade.
However, there is clearly demand for NFL licensed games, as Madden NFL 15 was the second-best selling game of 2014. Competition usually breeds creativity and innovation, and offering gamers a football alternative would certainly win points for Microsoft and 2K Sports. If this rumored Microsoft NFL game actually exists, then it will likely be unveiled at E3.
Madden NFL 16 will be available on August 25th for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.