Madden NFL 25 Preview – Adding more control than ever before!

I’ve had the privilege of reviewing Madden for quite a few years now. I was invited for the first time last year to preview Madden NFL 24. During that trip, I talked to quite a few members of the team that still keep up with me on social media. I asked them quite a few questions ranging from “why does the Offensive Coordinator (OC) position stop adding new coaches in Franchise Mode after the year 2038” to “now that you have the new Sapien Technology, when will we be seeing female body types as coaches in Madden and beyond?” Well, our friends at EA invited me back again to preview Madden NFL 25 (M25). The thing I’m most impressed by from my trip is that the team appreciates and uses the feedback of not just the press, but the players of the game. Let me tell you how…

When I talked to the devs last year about the OC situation, Connor Dougan, Creative Director at EA with Madden, went almost immediately to the team and had it fixed up and ready for Madden NFL 24. Already, that makes me feel good about the state of their team. There wasn’t any questioning, they went straight to the game to see what was happening, found the issue, and corrected it. After this conversation I began work on a year-long project of trying to play Franchise Mode the way I love playing Franchise Mode to show the team.

Returning to preview Madden NFL 25 made me very excited as I’d be able to check out everything M25 had to offer this year, but also show the team my work.

I built a sheet that held everything I did in a franchise spanning from 2024-2048 – 25 seasons worth of data I collected. Everything from my coaching tree, to team records, to player accomplishments, to QB controversy and beyond. I was able to sit down with Connor and Josh Looman, creative design lead for Franchise Mode to go through everything I found through the 25 seasons I played. During that time, I didn’t know what to expect. However, I didn’t ever expect to see Josh taking notes on his phone, and even waving down an audio tech lead to discuss one of the things I brought up. This really creates faith that not only are they trying their best to make Franchise Mode the best it can be, but that they want to hear how the fanbase plays Franchise Mode, and make the game mode accessible to everyone.

With that out of the way, let’s jump in to see what we can expect from Madden NFL 25.

The theme of M25 is “More Control Than Ever Before” and you can feel that sentiment quite a lot compared to Madden NFL 24. They went in this year with the mindset that “everything needs a facelift” and that while things worked in ‘24, things can always be better. That can first be seen within the title screen, which has a brand new design harkening back to several classic, fan-favorite Madden games. Just a simple design change makes booting up the game that much more exciting. Alongside the facelift on the title screen, there’s a new music setlist including House Party vibes for the Home Screen, a brand new intro song crafted by a well-known composer (more information on that as the game gets closer to release), and some songs that will be well-recognized by older Madden fans. Multiple kinds of music, and multiple areas that music is played, all lending to giving the player the most tools possible to play the way they want to play.

Another audio aspect that excites me is the addition of new commentary teams to Madden. Don’t worry Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis fans, they’re still in M25. This year they have added two new teams to the game which you can choose from in a dropdown menu before starting a game. These teams are Kate Scott / Brock Huard and Greg Olsen / Mike Tirico! As someone who, once again, played 25 full seasons of Franchise Mode with just one franchise file, having more than one commentary team will keep me engaged in the audio of the game instead of muting the whole game after a season or so.

During the event at EA Orlando, we actually got to meet and spend time with Kate Scott, going as far as to sit in the booth with her as they recorded some of the voice lines for new Madden Challenges that will be in the game. The level of detail that they have to go through to make this sound amazing for the game is insanely impressive. They have to say things that you’ll probably never hear once during your time playing M25, but to keep the immersive experience alive and well, they make sure that no matter how outlandish it might be, they have a voice line for it.

We Interview - Kate Scott (Play-By-Play Announcer + Madden Announcer) about Madden NFL 25! #Madden

Exclusive to Madden NFL 25 this year is the brand new tackling technology they’re calling, “Boom Tech.” The team in Orlando have built an entire physics-based engine to allow for more focus on player vs player animations. They were able to show us very specific examples of how the Boom Tech works with running the football, and how the ratings adjust how the hit is made on the field. For instance, we saw the difference in Linebacker hits on a running back based on angle, ratings of the players, hit stick timing, and more. This gets down to milliseconds of information being processed to create the most realistic hitting mechanics for any sports game to date.

For those of you who love playing defense, they’ve overhauled their hit stick mechanics, allowing for a much more skill-based hit stick experience. The timing and approach angles will influence the outcome of the hit stick. Meaning, if you’ve been frustrated by the lack of defense on online Madden, you now have even more control (and less “it’s the game’s fault”) moments and those of you who can master the defense will have an upper hand online.

Another group getting an overhaul are the running backs. With the announcement of Christian McCaffrey (CMC) being the cover athlete, the team wanted to make sure that running backs had the iconic movements that you see on Sundays (Thursdays, and Mondays, and now Fridays and Saturdays and I think also a Tuesday) become available to you in Madden. Signature Locomotion was the standout favorite at the event, showcasing the running styles of three of the league’s best including CMC of the 49ers, Saquon Barkley of the Eagles, and Isiah Pacheco of the Chiefs. It was impressive seeing these running styles side by side between Madden and what we saw last year in the NFL. Pacheco truly runs like he bites people.

You’ll be able to work on bracing for impacts, getting skinny between tackles, all new jukes, spins, and hesitations. The team wants you to have the most combinations possible in order to play the way you want and to help maximize the players you have on your team: both in online head to head and in solo modes. Each player also has more realistic pre-snap likeness, again, adding to the immersive experience of Madden NFL 25.

From their favorite thing to discuss, Foundational Football, we have quite a few updates. Each one I’ll touch on quickly since it’ll be hard to describe everything we saw or heard about specifically for each.

Pass Catchers will have new catching controls with new special catch animations. You’ll also have a new system of branching catches so those of you with a bit more control on the sticks will have their hands full creating the perfect lineup of catches. Back shoulder and pylon catches have been updated. You’ll have more than 700+ animation combinations for catching.

Blockers will have a new pass block strategy mechanic, allowing for more players to fully understand what they’re doing when adjusting the offensive line. Before, many casual players really didn’t mess around with the adjustments, now everyone will have an idea of what’s going on with new color guides on the field. There are also new pre-snap looks from the line and more than 500 new blocking animation combinations.

Moving on to how the game itself has changed mechanically, we got our first look at the new kickoff rules and how they might be covered by the defense. The team has been working hand in hand with an NFL Head Coach to discuss how this might look and all of the ways teams can make this work to their advantage. This allows Madden to lead innovation; the fans first time seeing this particular kickoff play at the NFL level will be through Madden. Their passion for authenticity has led them to work so hard to make sure this is as ready as it can be for launch.

From a visual standpoint, the game has never looked better. The grass has moved to 3D grass-turf showing everything from the pellets being tossed up on turf, to the grass being affected by the players on the field. Rain games look so cool. Stadiums and practice fields have even gotten updates with the team realizing how much time the player-base spends on practice fields. The stadium they showcased was Gillette Stadium adding their brand new huge screen on the wall. It looks amazing. Along the stadium updates came plenty of character customization updates. Over 420 uniforms will be in-game. There are brand new heads and beards for superstar and character creation, including the option for tattoos in the Superstar mode. The heads in Madden needed updating as some of them had been around for way too many years. I’m excited to put my hair and beard into the game this year to create more immersion for my Superstar runs.

We Interview - Connor Dougan + Josh Looman (Creative Director + Lead Designer) about Madden NFL 25!

Moving onto Franchise Mode, there have been quite a few changes that I have been waiting on for a while. Getting to see these announced in person, I couldn’t help but actually clap and cheer multiple times. Let’s get into it…

The first big update are the dynamic storytelling elements. We finally have real and exciting moments that will have long lasting effects on your team. These will include storylines like demanding trades, off-season workouts, starter resting, culture changing, sitting rookie QB’s, exploiting weaknesses in opponents, planning for offseason, and intense contract negotiations. In these moments, players will remember the promises made to them, and these can add or detract from a player’s desire to play for the team. These storylines can also last for seasons instead of just game to game. As someone who loved the storylines from the Madden 09-11 era, this really feels like those old school ideas but with the updated graphics and mindset of players right now.

The next biggest update is draft night. We’re done with the straightforward draft with players in uniforms. M25 has taken the spectacle of the real life draft and built that into the game. This will add new prospect boards, new real-time draft boards, and players will walk out in suits if they’re drafted in the first round. In everything past the first round, you’ll see players at their homes with families and friends. Celebrations will also be part of the draft, with EA getting the license for Roger Goodell to be in the game adding to the immersion of the draft.

Speaking of Roger, we have brand new Super Bowl celebrations. This is where the Madden team got even more creative with the presentation. They see the videos content creators post about their game, and they showed that in the showcasing of the Super Bowl. They would show Tweets sent out by people IN THE ROOM with us that talked about things from last year that were exactly the same as the year before and then show how it’s different in Madden NFL 25. They did this five or six times with different people in the room showing how things will be different. The Super Bowl looks really fun with a brand new ceremony at the end and Roger Goodell handing the Lombardi to the winning team. It’ll also show the losing team dealing with the loss of the Super Bowl if the player loses. The team poking fun at themselves makes it even more exciting the amount of changes that will be coming with M25.

Franchise has also added team building. You’ll be able to upload logos, design uniforms, even create every player on the team if you wish. This will all be done on the Madden website and uploaded to your game. This is extremely exciting as it’s something that the fanbase has been asking for for quite a long time.

We also have a new home base for Franchise including a few core features. There is a new news tab on the top right showing only news related to your team, no more digging in the news for anything related to you. You’ll now get important information sent to your cell phone including updates to conversations with players, information about players to take a look at in the draft, and more; no more worrying about missing information between weeks. We’ll also finally have team records and player records, not just NFL records. So, if you want to beat rookie records on the Colts that Andrew Luck set, you can. If you want to beat the touchdowns in a career record with the Dolphins (beating out Marino’s record), you can. Again, giving you as much control as you want to have in Franchise Mode.

Something that really made me happy was the inclusion of female coach models for Franchise Mode. As mentioned before, I remember asking the team last year if this was a possibility and now Madden NFL 25 has it. I feel adding this is such an exciting opportunity for everyone in the NFL family to feel included in a sport they love watching and participating in enough to play Madden on a year to year basis. Now, let’s go further and make sure we get female athletes added to College Football and hopefully the NFL in the future. While this is a simulation game, it’s still a game and there are many different people who play it.

Superstar Mode is also getting a facelift with the Avatar Expansion elements in M25. You’ll not only have more heads to choose from, you’ll have new hair styles, beards, and tattoos all added for M25. This year, Superstar is adding preset archetypes to help guide some players needing help making the perfect player. The combine will matter this year more than ever with brand new combine drills and more. During your Superstar journey, you’ll also have quests show up with superstar pathways opening up if you choose to go down those roads. This is your journey to greatness.

Let’s also get this part settled. For Madden NFL 25, you WILL be able to export Road to Glory players from College Football 25 into Madden NFL 25 Superstar. You will NOT be able to export Dynasty Mode draft classes into Madden NFL 25 Franchise Mode. This has more to do with the legal side of things than a desire to add it into the game. I believe that if the NIL rules continue to change day by day, we’ll see that change in the future as well.

There is simply so much to talk about with Madden NFL 25, but these are my highlights of the trip to EA Orlando. I am extremely excited about the direction and passion the team has for Madden, and for Franchise Mode specifically. Last year they told me, “we have plans on plans on plans, we just can’t talk about everything yet.” Seeing them again this year, I got to see some of the plans on plans become reality. While I still think Madden could become a bi-yearly game at this stage to give the development team more time between releases, they’re truly doing the best they can to put out a product they believe in, and Madden NFL 25 seems like no exception.

Adam is a musician and gamer who loves his partner in crime, Regan, and their two pets Rey and Finn. Adam is a fan of Star Wars, Mass Effect, NFL Football, and gaming in general. Follow Adam on Twitter @TheRexTano.

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