Looking towards Madden 10.

I recently sold my Madden 2009 Collector’s Edition in preparation of the next yearly Madden installment. What is going to make this year different than any other? After all, with each Madden release I relive the “been there, done that” experience. Last year I completely wasted $90; never got into Head Coach 2009 and while Madden 2009 was a decent PS3 effort it was just not enough to capture me by the shorthairs and really get my attention.

Truth be told, this seems to be the story of the various Madden releases over the last few years. I get them on Day 1, play them for a few weeks, then real football starts and Madden gets put aside for NCAA Football or other activities.

GameShark has an excellent, in-depth interview with this year’s Madden team, and it gives me great hope that Madden 10 will be different. In a good way.

The experience out of the box (Pro mode) is tuned towards a more offensive style of play – longer time in the pocket, receivers get open more easily, more tackles are broken, etc., to make sure that everyone can have a really good time from the first time they boot up. Once you make the switch to All-Pro though, we really wanted to juice up the realism – accurate 40 times, accurate time in the pocket (3-5 seconds), etc. We want our All-Pro experience to really invoke another layer of strategy and planning – it shouldn’t only be about who has the best twitch skills. Football is much more of a chess match than any other sport…we can’t ignore that part of the game if we want to be the ultimate NFL simulation. I personally want Joe Cowboys Fan to be able to play Madden (and win) thanks to his knowledge of the game and strategy, and not be hampered if his “gaming skill” isn’t up to par.

These days my “gaming skill” sucks. If Madden 10 can pull off a decent simulation that makes football fans and joystick jockeys (does this term still apply) happy, then we could have a very interesting Madden on the way.

The comments about using the Dolphins Chad Pennington vs. Pat White to see the differences between QB ratings for arm strength and accuracy (short vs. mid vs. long distances) is extremely encouraging. In fact, the whole article in encouraging. Fans wanting some dose of reality with player attributes, something that separates one player from the next are going to be happy that the number of 90+ overall rating players has been dramatically reduced.

Take CB speed for example. I did a rating analysis on this to start out the Madden NFL 10 pre-production cycle and discovered that every CB in the game had between 87-99 SPD in Madden NFL 09. I looked further, nearly 80% of ALL CB’s fell between 4 ratings points (88-92)! It’s pretty obvious that you aren’t going to see or feel any major differences out there in gameplay with them being so similar. The range now starts at 75-99, with a far greater number of CBs now in the low to mid 80’s.

The Online Franchise mode is the “big” addition for this year. I am not sure if I will get into this or not, but there is promise of lots of different ways to play. The fact that I can actually do a single player online franchise is interesting because that will be so much easier than the old fashion Chronicles way from back in the day.

The only downside to franchise mode seems to be that it is limited to 10 seasons. I could not tell from the interview if this is specific to online franchises or offline as well; it was mentioned in the context of online franchises, but I bet it is a limitation for on or offline modes. Except for simulating a long run of seasons, these days I do not have time to actually play through multiple seasons so this is probably a non issue for me as well as most gamers.

Looks like in-game saves did not make the cut. I can only hope for a nice handy accelerated clock feature to speed the game along.

If you have not already seen the interview, take a few minutes to check it out. Plenty of info there to wet your appetite for Madden 10. I hope that we are not in for a serious letdown.

Heading to Amazon to preorder.

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2 thoughts on “Looking towards Madden 10.”

  1. I don’t think it’s that different, the idea that you can win with strategy instead of pure twitch skills.

    It’s different in those Madden tournaments, where the players are executing the same rocket catch game after game and they do have some precision in the way they run back and forth setting up suction blocking.

    But otherwise, good strategy like seeing where the coverage is and making good decisions have always worked.

    In Madden though, the one attribute which mattered more than anything else has been speed. We’ll see if that’s truly changed.

  2. The last few years I have not thought the strategy mattered that much, at least not with the PS3 version. I would not be at all surprised if the PS2 (i.e. last generation) played better from this perspective because the AI has been well refined.

    Maybe it is the speed of the players, but I always felt like the CPU cheated. I just never felt like I was actually in control by making good use of strategy. If I had decent skills, I think I would have done much better, but what do I know? Over the last 2-3 years I have not invested the same time and energy that I once dedicated to Madden (and NCAA Football) to really learn the ins and outs of the game.

    From what I am reading about Madden 10, it sounds like a rebirth of the franchise. As always, you either like Madden or you do not.

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