Hello Madden Fans, my name is Shopmaster and I am an EA SPORTS Game Changer, owner of MyMaddenPad.com - a Madden NFL Community Site - and a true Madden addict. I was lucky enough to participate in the first Community Day for Madden NFL 13 and want to share with you my thoughts on something you guys all have been waiting for… Gameplay.
As a "Voice for the Community", I've heard it all in regards to what needs to be fixed in Madden NFL 13 and by far the biggest concern that most players have are "super linebackers" and their innate ability to bat down a pass intended for a WR 15 yards behind him. Well, worry no longer as EA SPORTS has implemented a trajectory system in Madden NFL 13. No longer are all the passes the same speed, same line, same height, etc … Now as a QB, you have 'Total Control Passing' and by using the L-Stick you can throw the ball over a linebacker’s head and hit that TE on a post route. Zip it to a HB in the flats, back shoulder a hitch route, or put some air underneath the ball when trying to lead a WR up the field for a big play. You always hear NFL TV analysts say "The QB threw him open ..." now you can do the same thing in Madden NFL 13 by leading your WR to open spots on the field. If you have a WR on a 10yd out but the DB playing the flat is lurking, throw it up the field and lead the receiver away from trouble. For instance, throw behind Michael Crabtree to protect him from a big hit from Ray Lewis on a drag in a zone, or lead Darren Sproles up the field on a wheel route against a slow linebacker.
Now I know what you are thinking, because I've received emails and tweets (@Shopmaster) about this already; you’re thinking you should be able to pass all over the place in Madden NFL 13. Well not so fast. Say goodbye to the days of just snapping the ball and throwing to the TE right off the line of scrimmage, as in the past you were able to throw to receivers and especially TEs without them even looking at the pass.
We call these "Face Throws," but in Madden NFL 13 if the receiver can't see the ball they won't catch the ball. For example, if you snap and throw to a TE who is on a streak and he's not looking, it will hit him in the helmet for an incomplete pass. This is all represented with transparent, or "ghost," icons that become solid once the receiver is looking for the ball. Just because a receiver’s icon is solid and he's looking doesn't mean that he's open, it just means that he will attempt to make a play on the ball if thrown to him. All is not lost if your receiver isn't looking for the ball and you want to throw to him though. You can still throw to that receiver whose icon is still "ghosted", but you will have to switch over and user catch it yourself. This is also true for the defense. If the defender is not looking, he will not make a play on the ball, allowing you to thread a needle in tight spots. Gone are the days of dropping back 20 yards and throwing the ball on a rope, as is rolling to the left and throwing to a WR on the right... and I’m not even shedding a tear to see that one go.
In Madden NFL 13 there are new hot routes for your HB in the backfield. Gone is the slant out and in are three new hot routes for you to get your HB into open space. The flat route, a wheel route, and a block and release route are all designed to provide more control over your HB in the backfield and get him the ball where you want it. Also gone are the slant out hot routes. You can still slant in, just not out.
The offensive side of the ball wasn't the only thing that received upgrades. The defense is now better equipped to stop some of these potent offenses in Madden NFL 13, and it all starts with new Defensive Alignments and the ability to disguise coverages. In Madden NFL 12 there were a number of exotic defensive formations that we like to throw out at the offense to keep them on their toes, but many of the formations like the 3-3-5 Bear did not line up with the offense the correct way and made it easy for the offense to pick up yards. In Madden NFL 13 these new defenses will not only align correctly but now it will be virtually impossible to tell if the defense you are seeing is zone or man. Yeah, go ahead and motion that WR to check like you always do; nope, still can't tell.
It doesn't stop with just those pre-snap adjustments, because now defenders have more realistic reactions to the ball while it's in the air, and I've seen more swats by the defenders than ever before. If the WR looks for the ball, the DB will turn his head and attempt to track the ball in the air. No more psychic DBs, but smarter DBs that react to the receiver and not a pre-determined route. You'll see diving interceptions, sideline interceptions and leveling of players that react to the ball and make plays. You'll see different techniques in Madden NFL 13, like the trail technique where the DB plays inside, knowing they have help deep. You'll also actually see DBs jamming receivers in a certain direction of where the help is and not just letting them go.
There are some other exciting features in Madden NFL 13, like the ability to abort play-action passes, new dropbacks, player awareness of the sidelines, shovel passes, receiver-specific pump fakes, tons of new catch animations, special teams improvement and even more that will make this game more realistic and better than before.
Make sure you check out the webcast on Gameplay and the developer’s blog to learn more about all of the gameplay enhancements in Madden NFL 13. Remember this is only part 1 of Gameplay, so mark your calendars for June 4th and part 2 of Gameplay that will blur the line between virtual and reality.
You can hit me up on Twitter @Shopmaster and ask me gameplay questions and any questions as the Playbook unfolds. Thanks for reading!
"A Voice for the Community"