When EA Sports unveiled the first teaser trailer for Madden NFL 18, many fans hoped that the game would see enhanced offensive and defensive artificial intelligence that would make gameplay more seamless than past installments. As it turns out, the AI in the sports title can adjust to match players’ skills, react to every play, and simulate live football — human errors and all. Unfortunately, players have discovered a caveat to the new-and-improved system: one formation breaks it.
The Madden NFL 18 formation in question is the “Gun Monster,” a weakened shotgun arrangement that puts just three offensive lineman (two guards and the center) on the line to shield the quarterback and running back. Offensive tackles, on the other hand, are lined up with the receivers. Though it’s undoubtedly a strange offense, real NFL teams have employed it.
Within the game, the defensive artificial intelligence doesn’t recognize the decreased quarterback protection, and to compensate, spreads out its defensive front seven to cover the trios. And while the computer-controlled defense is totally confused, some players are using that toward their advantage, using the formation to easily gain consistent yardage.
When playing against an actual human opponent, the Gun Monster play is hardly ever effective. Players have no way to call an audible, and thus must face a down or call a timeout if the defense ends up aligning correctly. But when facing off with the AI system, no adaptation happens. One defensive tackle is tasked with attempting to get through three offensive lineman and stop a running play inside the zone. Suffice to say, it’s practically impossible for the AI to succeed at the play, granting players an easy gain.
According to Electronic Arts, the error will be amended soon. “We are aware of an issue with the Gun Monster formation which is causing problems with in-game AI. The issue has been identified, and will be fixed in a forthcoming Title Update,” the company said in a statement.
Before the formation is fixed, those wanting to pull in easy rushing yards against their computer opponent can do so with the Browns, Bengals, Titans, and Ravens, as all four teams have playbooks that utilize the Gun Monster. Let’s just hope the game’s surprisingly enjoyable Longshot mode won’t be the next thing impacted by a system malfunction.
Madden NFL 18 is available now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.