Madden review – interview with Creative Director Mike Young

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Madden NFL 13 makes a sincere effort to delight in new ways, principally through a new physics engine that delivers eye-popping hits and breathtaking broken-tackle runs. The new Madden also introduces
“Connected Careers,” which allows up to 32 friends to play in their own universe, as either superstar players or as heads of entire franchises, and to “retire” and jump to or create another player or coach without restarting if they become bored.

Think of Madden NFL 13 as the football team that changed head coaches. The switch to a new system and philosophy has gone smoothly so far.The animation and most importantly the gameplay has been polished significantly too. This is evident because Madden publisher EA Sports has implemented a totally new physics system which covers everything from the movement of the ball to the biomechanics of the players as they run, throw and tackle. EA claims that with the Infinity physics engine, “no two hits are the same” and they are right. Power into a running back and the arms and legs will go flying as you sack him, but most importantly you won’t be forced to suffer a carbon copy animation you have seen a hundred times before. Instead each fresh hit delivers new results and these can sometimes be pretty spectacular.

The Infinity engine doesn’t just shine when tackling either. Players run, throw and hit the deck more fluidly and you don’t so much feel they have been “animated,” but that they are simply reacting to the normal everyday laws of physics as they ply their trade.This season, EA Sports has combined the two into a new option called Connected Careers. After deciding between player and coach, users can create their own character, assume the career of a current coach or player, or try to recapture the success of a Hall of Famer such as players Jerry Rice and Barry Sanders as well as coaches including Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry.

The Infinity Engine is far from perfect, resulting at times in bent-back arms, overly dramatic flailing and enough neck snaps to keep a team neurologist running tests around the clock. But most of the animations hold their realism in slow motion. Introducing real physics into collisions is a huge change for the Madden franchise, and the developers are sure to refine it in future installments
The play-by-play and commentary are remarkably natural considering EA Sports started from scratch with the announcing pair, and their laid-back style is better suited to make 9,000 recorded phrases sound like they’re being spoken in sentences. Attempts during the past two years to piece together clips of Fox announcer Gus Johnson — ranging from calm to frenzied — never quite worked.After years of disappointment, I can finally say this is one “Madden” purchase I won’t regret.

41/2 out of 5

Written with assistance from Midnight Angel

Interview with Creative Director Mike Young

Franchise254: Why the jump to the new Infinity engine, is it a vast improvement over the other engine used previously for the Madden Franchise?

Mike Young: We are always looking to improve our gameplay. The Infinity Engine is built on top of a mature animation engine. This is not rag doll physics but rather a much more sophisticated looking and feeling implementation. It’s better because there are now infinite amount of possible outcomes to every interaction, and an infinite amount of animation variety. It changes the way the game looks AND Feels.

F: Many people enjoyed the franchise mode, will we ever see it make a return to Madden?

M: Our new Connected Career Mode is the replacement for Franchise, Superstar and Online Franchise Mode. It has taken and improved on almost every feature those modes offered as well as added features never included before. With that said, there were a few legacy features that we couldn’t fit when we launched. We are working to bring those beloved elements back to Madden ASAP.

F: Will we see any improvements to servers Online stability? It’s something that’s been bothering Madden players for years.

M: We have a team focused on supporting and improving online stability.

F: Will Madden ever have a DNA feature like the one we saw in the NBA live 10 game?

M: I wouldn’t say we’d never have something like it. We have certain elements of that feature in the game today.

Community Questions
Dan “Westside mech”
I am new to sports games, I played Tecmo bowl on NES…is Madden 13 a good game to start with for first timers to become a fan of the game?

M: I also grew up playing and loving Tecmo Bowl. I believe Madden is a great game to teach the sport of football. We meet NFL players all the time who tell us about how they learned football from our game. Things like play calling have been designed to allow novices to get in and play without knowing much about football but the depth is there for you to uncover as you learn.

PigMurphy
Will they fix Madden 13 so that Edited Rosters can be used in Offline Connected Career Modes?

M: We are looking into what fan feedback can be addressed during the year via patches. Unfortunately we can’t say right now exactly what if anything will be addressed.

Bigger Hate
why did they make trades so hard to complete?

M: We wanted trades to in Madden 13 to be more realistic than in the past. CPU teams will really value their players that fit their scheme and won’t be interested in good players that don’t fit their scheme.

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