In the second Madden NFL 25 playbook, EA Sports is talking physics, the second iteration of the Infinity Engine to be exact. Madden NFL 13 introduced physics to the franchise for the first time and while it was a great idea its implementation left some things to be desired. This past offseason, they development team went back to the kitchen and tried to fix all the things players complained about last year. With that said, let’s check out the Infinity Engine 2.
A major point of emphasis this year was tuning the Infinity Engine to better account for the strength and power of players. A major new concept that came from that work was something called Force Impact. Force Impact allows the game to account for the size and strength of players to render realistic results when impact occurs. So let’s say you use the Truck Stick with a beast like Marshawn Lynch to drop the hammer on a smaller player that’s trying to tackle him, the Force Impact system will accurately calculate the outcome and render a result. Spoiler alert: there’s a good chance he’s going to run right over the smaller player. Force Impact also affects stiff-arms, adding importance to an often under-utilized move. Tapping the stiff-arm button as a defender comes in to make a play is called a “physics punch,” where the ball carrier will quickly thrust his arm out and shove the defender. Holding the button makes the ball carrier hold his arm out and try to “wall off” the defender and keep him at bay. Again, strength matters, as stronger players will have more success with their stiff-arms than backs who tend to rely on speed rather than power.
The Infinity Engine 2 affects every aspect of the game and helps to bring some more realism to the game that was sorely needed. How you change direction has been a major complaint of Madden players for years (defensive guys in particular) and the new Infinity Engine should make things a lot more realistic so that when a ball-carrier changes direction, he now needs to decelerate and make a deliberate, sharp movement to get past the defender. It’s something that as a defensive first player myself, I’ve complained about for years. In the last few Madden games, offensive players would kind of swerve or lean as they changed direction instead of actually making a definitive cut which allowed offensive players to get away a lot of things they shouldn’t have been able to.
Another new mechanic this year is the stumble recovery. This was a feature that was sorely needed as players will now have a chance to break out of a stumble, regain their feet and continue down the field. There will be a small window during a stumble where flicking the right stick back will allow you to keep your feet and continue moving forward. Conversely, if a player is about to get lit up by a defender, flicking the right stick forward will cause him to dive for as many yards as possible while keeping a firm grip on the pigskin. Another thing that will make folks happy is the new ball-carrier avoidance animation that triggers whenever a player approaches a blocker so that instead of running into the back of a blocker and falling down, the ball carrier will now put a hand out and automatically guide himself into space. Last year, a lot of players abandoned the inside running game out of fear of their blockers knocking them over. Now those inside runs are once again a viable option.
Madden NFL 25 will also feature improved blocking assignments. Based on this updated blocking script, guards and tackles will now take on the correct defenders and behave more realistically during plays. Lead blockers will now seek out actual threats instead of running to go block somebody who doesn’t even matter. The improvements are most apparent on screen plays where guards, wide receivers and others will do a much better job of creating space (this could be abused if not done well).
Here’s a little something more for my defensive guys. Madden NFL 25 features new mechanics for defenders including more effective dive tackles, which will allow players to avoid blockers and make a play on the ball. Furthermore, heat-seeker tackling makes it much easier to hone in on the ball carrier and wrap him up. A small but significant defensive upgrade comes in the “breakdown” animations seen in the open field. To counter all the precision modifier moves, defenders will now slow down and get into position to make a play rather than charging full-speed ahead. Defenders caught out of position will also be able to make a hard cut and get back into the play, allowing them to recover and make something happen. Defensive pursuit angles have been tuned so that defenders are smarter about tracking down ball carriers, an improvement that was again sorely needed as the CPU seemed to always take the worst pursuit angles.
Lastly, on the aesthetic side, post-play AI has also been improved so that so players will be more aware of those on the ground, and smarter “get up” logic will allow players to stand up more naturally. The issue with players colliding into each other and falling over each other was just a major black eye for the first iteration of the Infinity Engine last year and while they tweaked it post release, its nice to see them completely smoothing it out this year.