After unveiling Calvin Johnson as the Madden NFL 13 cover athlete, EA Sports went on to unveil the first information on what’s new in Madden 13, specifically in the areas of gameplay and presentation. When I interviewed Michael Young last year, he said that he really wanted to make huge strides in terms of game presentation in the coming years and they seem to have done that. The gameplay enhancements share a lot of similarity with those we already saw for NCAA Football 13 but Madden takes all those updates and pushes them over the top. If you don’t want to read all this stuff, scroll down to check the video and new set of screenshots.
Check out the crisply rendered details of the new NIKE uniforms and gear, to the field and sky which are more dynamic than ever before. One of the most exciting gear updates this year are the new NIKE uniforms. Some of the early uniforms aren’t completely accurate but don’t get too worried since the team still has more than enough time to work out all the minor details.
EA has included new NIKE cleats, long sleeves, facemasks and much more. These details might seem small, but the team at EA feels that it shows that they are dedicated to getting as much realism in to the game as possible. There are tons of new cleats in the game including The Alpha Speed, Alpha Talon, Hyper Fuse and Super Speed.
They have brought NCAA’s HDR lighting and dynamic exposure system over, but they applied it in a more realistic, true to broadcast way. The dynamic exposure will improve presentation by exposing the game similar to the way professionals shoot the action on Sunday. To be clear, this is just a way to allow more or less light into their virtual camera so they can better display the great details in the game. A Multi-Vector lighting system was added on top of the HDR to represent a more realistic lighting model, especially at night when the artificial lighting hits the players from a lot of different directions. They have introduced motion blur and while it is often unnoticeable when the game is in motion, it just looks right. They have also made major improvements to the degradation system for both natural grass and snow. They aren’t quite ready to release those screenshots though. They partnered with the Tiger Woods PGA Tour team and developed a system that would allow them to have dynamic sky domes. This mean that clouds now move across the sky, change color over time and more closely resemble a dynamic sky.
This year they created hundreds of new presentation elements to support both the commentary team, and a new level of presentation depth that has never existed in Madden. Regular season games, post season and the Super Bowl will all have a unique presentation package that will bring some much-needed variety to career mode. Gameplay is an extremely important element to any great game, and in Madden NFL 13 EA Sports claims to have made significant updates to give the user an even more authentic NFL experience. In trying to adjust the game to match the current NFL system that is a pass first, run second league the team made the decision to focus on completely overhauling and improving the passing game.
They have now given the player the ability to throw the ball to different areas of the field by adding a new Total Control Passing Mechanic. This mechanic allows you to throw the ball into space by using the L-Stick. Now you may be thinking that this is the same as it has always been but the new system is more comprehensive than ever. They completely re-tuned the pass leading with the L-Stick to give you more control to throw the exact type of pass you want. Taking this concept even further, in Madden NFL 13 they have added over 25 new pass trajectories/ball speeds for all the different passing zones. The ball speed is big because in the past Madden only had one global ball speed which meant you had one trajectory for every type of pass. You could throw lobs, bullets, and medium type passes, but a lob would be the same on any type of route. For example, if you threw a lob pass on a swing or flat type route to a running back versus a streak to an outside wide receiver, you would get the same type of trajectory or what was commonly referred to as a “moon ball.” With these new pass trajectory zones, you will now be able to throw a much more realistic pass based on the route your receiver is running. For instance, if your back is on a swing, you just want to be able to throw him a nice dump off type pass where he can catch the ball in stride and turn upfield quickly. They also slowed down bullets in certain situations as it didn’t make sense to have a ball thrown as hard as possible when the receiver was only 8 or 9 yards away. That made it very difficult for receivers to trigger catches and often times lead to incompletions.
The changes to pass trajectories also allowed them to help the user have more control over the three types of passes you would want to throw: lobs, medium/touch, and bullet passes. To get a lob pass, simply tap the receiver icon. To get a bullet pass, hold the receiver icon all the way through the QB’s pass animation. Finally, to get a medium/touch pass press the receiver icon and then release before the QB gets to the end of his animation. The medium/touch passes will especially useful when trying to throw passes just over linebackers’ heads and in front of the safeties. This may take some practice to master so don’t be afraid to spend a little time “in the lab” in practice mode before jumping in to a real game.
Another change comes in the form of 20 new quarterback dropback animations. These dropbacks are critical to both the timing of the play as well as keeping the QB protected in the pocket. These new animations include 1, 3, 5, and 7 step variations from under center, dropbacks with pump fakes built in (you will see these on double move route plays like “Sluggo Seam”), and the brand new Screen Pass drops. The new under center drops are all designed to time up specifically with the routes by the receivers on the play. For example, on longer developing routes such as comebacks, deep posts and post corners, the QB will take a 7-step drop. As he gets to the end of his drop, the receivers should be just about ready to make their last cut which is when you would want to throw the ball if they are open. Again, these dropbacks are all designed to be based on how these routes develop and time like they do in the NFL. With the new dropbacks players would do well to remember that they don’t have to try and take control of the quarterback at the snap to get him to do his dropback. If you let the QB auto-drop, he will take the proper steps for you while you can scan the defense and find the open receiver.
Alright folks, there is tons more info but way too much to fit here, so check out the full Gameplay post and the Presentation post for all the latest details on whats new on the gameplay and presentation front. Stay tuned there is much more info to come.