Year Three in the new generation of consoles (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S) is bringing changes to Madden NFL that may end up proving to be revolutionary.
On Thursday, EA Sports revealed brand-new gameplay features in the upcoming Madden NFL 23. Chief among them is “a new foundation for consistent, ultra-realistic gameplay” the company has dubbed FieldSENSE.
FieldSENSE aims to change the way the only officially licensed NFL simulation game plays. The system “delivers a gameplay flow with realistic outcomes on the field,” the company said in a Thursday press release, specifically addressing in-game player animations by using branching technology to create “Hit Everything,” a new system aimed at redefining “the physical interactions during the play allowing players to fight for every inch and change the outcome of tackles — whether mid-air or on the ground.”
Much of Madden is built on player animations, be they a running back throwing a stiff arm, a receiver leaping high to catch a pass, or a defender slamming into a ball-carrier for a big hit with its renowned Hit Stick. This new system intends to change how those animations interact in a game, allowing defenders to affect a ball-carrier in new ways that could have a significant impact on the outcome of each play.
Madden isn’t just changing the game at the point of contact, either. EA Sports announced the implementation of new mechanics the company is calling 360 Cuts, “giving players the ability to change direction on a dime while controlling ball-carriers.” EA is also revamping the passing game with a Skill Based Passing, “a new way to pass that offers players the ultimate control to place the ball exactly where they want, with the power they want.”
FieldSENSE aims to change the way Madden plays across all game modes, providing the series with a new bedrock upon which every on-field outcome will occur. The new gameplay system will be coupled with improvements to zone coverage, pass rush and containing mobile quarterbacks. Anyone who has ever been tasked with attempting to bottle up virtual Lamar Jackson (like this writer in his online Madden league) will be happy to test out these changes with the hope they bring a more realistic experience to their virtual fields.
Visually, EA Sports is pushing the power of the new generation consoles with new player-body types, gear and visuals that are completely rebuilt by using new full-body scans of NFL players and gameday gear scans, a first for the franchise. The Megalodon — the 4K camera that made internet waves for its dramatic close-ups of real-life NFL action in recent seasons — will also be implemented for touchdown celebration shots in Madden NFL 23.
It’s difficult to ascertain just how significant these changes will be in comparison to the most recent Madden entries without gameplay video, but those clips will be sure to come in the weeks and months ahead. EA Sports is also demonstrating its efforts to listen to its community of users, responding to requests for franchise mode improvements by including new additions such as all-new free agency and contract enhancements, improvements to draft scouting, and updates to the Franchise Hub and trade logic.
Face of the Franchise, the single-player, narrative-driven mode returns “with a sharper focus on building a legendary NFL career across five skill positions, including cornerback for the first time, and the goal of joining the coveted Madden NFL 99 Club.” Ultimate Team will also feature simplified team building and convenient competition “to allow fans to assemble the most powerful roster of current stars” and NFL legends.
Players who preorder Madden NFL 23 All Madden Edition by July 22 will be in line for a number of benefits, including in-game currency, dual entitlement (across multiple generations of consoles) and three-day early access. EA Play members can also play Madden NFL 23 early with a 10-hour trial starting three days before launch.
Madden NFL 23 launches worldwide on Aug. 19.