Madden NFL 24 is right around the corner. As beta codes are heading to different players and content creators, you might be wondering what’s new about Madden NFL 24? Well, the folks over at EA have a full deep dive ready for us, let’s take a look!
Hey Madden fans!
Welcome back to our Gridiron Notes! Today, developers from our gameplay team are diving into all of the new features we have coming to our Core Gameplay system for Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation®5, and PC, including key updates to FieldSENSE™ , our brand new SAPIEN Technology, and Foundational Football in Madden NFL 24!
Note: FieldSENSE™ Gameplay System, SAPIEN Technology, and other associated gameplay features discussed below are not available in Xbox One and PlayStation®4 versions.
Last season, the response from players to the added control that FieldSENSE™ delivered in gameplay was extremely positive. Our team continues to focus on our core player in Madden NFL 24 especially in three key areas:
● Enhanced Realism with the next evolution of FieldSENSE™ .
● Smarter AI with dozens of improvements to Foundational Football especially in opposing QB’s, Run Blocking and Pass Coverage.
● Deeper Immersion through the introduction of new SAPIEN Technology and upgrades to Gameday Emotion.
Hit Everything 2.0
● Catch Tackles:
○ Expanding on our mid-air catch tackle system from Madden NFL 23 – We can now branch to swats, catch tackles, and hit sticks in all contested catch situations, not just jumping catches.
○ Players now have more control to defend curls routes, slants, and streaks with a variety of realistic outcomes. We also included new and amazing animations to compliment. It makes interactions between receivers and defenders look and feel more authentic.
● Tackling control and variety:
○ Greater differentiation of tackle types based on defender size and strength matchup. The New Defender Advantage formula chooses tackles more dynamically based on the players’ ratings, size, speed, and momentum. Which results in the following:
■ Getting rid of the concept of ‘Conservative Tackle’ A(On Xbox)/X (On Playstation) is now Wrap tackle and the outcomes are based on our Tackle Advantage Algorithm.
■ Smaller defenders will now take out the legs of bigger ball carriers.
■ Big Man Wrap tackles that wrap and drive the ball carrier back.
● Ex: Think of Vita Vea grabbing a running back trying to run up the middle.
■ All new scoop tackles are high-impact form tackles that pick the ball carrier off the ground.
■ We added and adjusted 1700+ tackle animations to hit everything!
○ The new AI system is built on counting defenders in the box and then matching up with each available blocker based on the blocking scheme, which means the most dangerous defenders to the desired point of attack will be accounted for before players further away, making it more difficult to manipulate blocking behavior and exploit defensive set ups.
○ We overhauled open field blocking by asking blockers in the open field to do LESS. This new AI system filters targets to give open field blockers less players to account for, and ultimately makes them lock on to a single target sooner in the play and stay locked on. This allows you as the ball carrier to confidently anticipate where they are going and make decisions without any unwelcome surprises.
○ We have implemented the Hit Everything technology into blocking, enabling a new level of versatility for blockers. With the ability to chip block, enter and exit double teams on the fly, blockers can seamlessly navigate through defenders and blocking interactions, preventing blockers from getting stuck on ongoing interactions or having to re-target away from their intended targets when colliding with an adjacent defender.
○ We’ve also extended the stand-up tackles system from Madden NFL 23 to the offense which now unlocks blockers’ ability to join in on a gang tackle and push the pile forward. This happens contextually by AI-controlled blockers when in the proper position to push the ball carrier forward relative to the position of the pile up.
○ Elite blockers will stand out more – highly rated blockers will be much more likely to throw dominating blocks when matched up with smaller defenders. Tip: Be cautious using sub defense formations with more DB’s on the field to stop the run with these elite blockers in action.
● Catching Improvements:
○ Madden NFL 24 introduces a revamped catching system designed to significantly reduce the frequency of missed catches and improve on areas like maintaining speed and momentum when catching the ball. In Madden NFL 24 players will be able to hit a receiver in stride and maintain speed, more easily catch and get loose coming across the middle, hit a player on a curl route, or a running back in the flats and get upfield.
○ Dive catches are back in full force so you can see players lay out for the ball when they can’t get otherwise make the catch. Tip: The best way to see dive catches in action is with Free Form passing and leading the receiver to the border or just outside of the ellipse. Note: We’ve added hundreds of new catch animations to the game this year to make Catching feel better than ever.
● Skill Based Passing 2.0:
○ Madden NFL 24 introduces an upgrade to our passing system. New Jump and Dive passes for players like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen to improvise when they need to get a clear passing lane.
○ We added more no-look pass animations. On top of that, we’ve overhauled our pass animation system for better visuals and targeting. We’ve also done more work with our pass accuracy percentages to reflect real NFL accuracy rates.
○ We’ve modified the placement of slightly inaccurate passes so they aren’t so far out of range and have a chance to be
catchable with dives or tough catches. Dev Tip: While rare, the dive pass can lead to exciting moments for top tier stars like Patrick Mahomes. Players can attempt a dive pass when rolling out to the sideline and throwing down the field (short or medium throws) with a defender closely trailing. Our team is able to tweak and tailor these throws to ensure they only happen in proper situations. Jump passes happen when standing in the pocket and throwing short with a defender in front of you.
Alongside all of our gameplay improvements within FieldSENSE™ and all the Foundational Football improvements, we strive for the ultimate, immersive experience that you have come to expect. We are thrilled to showcase to you all of these features and this next feature making its debut in Madden NFL 24 will create a more authentic experience making Madden feel more real than ever!
Heading into Madden NFL 24, our team implemented our SAPIEN skeleton to make sure that the movement of our players on the field look and feel as real as possible. To achieve a new level of animation fidelity and smooth movement, we knew that our performance skeleton needed to be updated. So, we built a brand new skeleton from the ground up, delivering authenticity and ensuring our animations are true to life.
The SAPIEN skeleton ensures all the player models and NFL athlete data now performs fluidly once mapped. This scan data served as the basis for our unique in-game character models. In Madden NFL 24, we applied this scan data to the SAPIEN Skeleton, and the results were fantastic! Not only do all our new animations look great, but thousands of old animations were instantly upgraded. The result is that animations became more fluid for our players, especially in the run game. Visually, the characters’ bodies look much more realistic, especially in motion. Keep your eye on ankle and wrist joints which are especially improved. Across our multiple body types, you can really notice these improvements. Our
“heavy” type players like Trent Williams or Leonard Williams look incredible with their unique combination of size and athleticism.
Plus, there is another great thing about the SAPIEN skeleton! It is not just limited to athletes, we optimized it to work for non-players like coaches, fans and even female characters.
This allowed us to respond to fan feedback and bring back the officiating crew to the on field experience in Madden NFL 24. Our crew consists of seven officials, both male and female, and they all perform using the same SAPIEN Skeleton. We’re excited to hear your feedback during the Madden NFL 24 closed beta, especially around the smooth feel that our SAPIEN skeleton delivers.
● Defensive Back AI and coverage:
○ Madden NFL 24 makes some big strides in pass coverage. We’ve added new DB movement types called read steps. These are slower backpedals that allow them to evaluate the routes and attack the short pass game. Slants and short crossers have a higher chance of breakups or interceptions.
○ We’ve added crossover movement that allows the DB’s to move at high speeds and still see the ball to make a play on it, users also have the ability to control whether they strafe, crossover or sprint. Dev Tip: Strafe is LT/L2. Crossover is LT/L2+RT/R2. Sprint is RT/R2.
○ Based on player feedback, our team worked to eliminate cases where “psychic” db’s would sometimes break on balls they couldn’t see. Now, defenders need to see the ball to break on it. This was common in man coverage and is much improved. We call this “see ball, play ball” on the dev team!
○ Last, we have upped the break times so that defenders can shut down passes made into their zone by intercepting, swatting with more contextually appropriate animations, or be in position to land a big catch tackle to knock the ball out.
● Defensive AI Read and React:
○ Our run defense AI will now have the ability to read repeated plays ran by the offense and react in a more realistic manner. Run Defenses will start to key in on repetitive offensive run plays. If a team is running the same play out of the same formation, that is a tell to the defense. Once the defense keys in on this, defenders will play their run-fit and start hitting their gap as soon as the ball is snapped. This will not apply on a play-action run.
○ How quickly defenders begin to adjust will be dictated by the skill level the user is playing on. On Rookie difficulty, it may take the defense more time to catch on and predict what play is coming compared to our All-Madden difficulty where the defense will only need 1 play before they make effective adjustments.
○ Your players and ratings are still a huge factor here. An example of this would be that a Defensive Lineman with lower blockshed and strength ratings will still be to be outmatched by an Offensive Lineman with higher blocking ratings, resulting in still having a better chance at protecting the ball carrier in the run game.
○ The difference here is that the defense will not make the same mistakes as the offense runs what they have seen consistently. All of this will result with a more authentic experience as the defense responds just like how their real life counterparts would.
● Fumble Recoveries and Onside Kicks
○ Fumble recoveries have been improved with hundreds of new fumble recovery animations, more realistic reaction times based and the addition of City VS Country fumble AI.
○ City fumbles are crowded piles-ups where people will dive on the ball to gain possession vs country fumbles are where players can look to scoop and score. Players can also recover the ball from the ground, so you’ll now see cases where players can dive and miss or get tackled and then get that ball from the ground.
○ Country fumbles are fumbles that have a live ball in an unpopulated area so that the recovering player can scoop it up and run with it.
○ We’ve also improved our tip ball physics and reaction times.
○ We’ve also added new special team formations and overhauled onside kicks to get more realistic ball physics and recoveries.
● Quarterback AI
○ Al Quarterback logic has been completely overhauled to make the QB’s play like their real-life counterparts as well as making it a real challenge to compete against.
○ All Quarterbacks now use Skill Based Passing, but the new Decision Making Trait realistically determines how each QB leverages it
■ Historically: QB’s only had 3 pass lead points to choose from. Now, there are 12 possible points a QB will evaluate to make the big play.
■ Conservative Trait: Will throw to partially covered receivers if it’s a Star Wide Receiver, they’re down multiple possessions or a receiver who isn’t far downfield. They may also throw short of the sticks or check down in 3rd and long situations.
■ Ideal trait: This archetype knows exactly when to try and fit a tight window. Tailored logic for if the WR is in the end zone, they’re backed up on their own side of the field, or they are up multiple possessions.
■ Aggressive Trait: These gunslingers are going to push the ball in ways that haven’t been seen before. Just like real life, this also means they might try to force a pass that they shouldn’t.
○ Plus, all QB’s now use the new pathfinding technology covered in the Ball Carrier AI section below for evading pressure and in the open field. This means mobile QB’s like Justin Fields are more true to life than ever before.
○ Adaptive AI Additions
■ ‘Alert’ Logic. This is a new concept where if the CPU has a run play called, but the defense has the box loaded, the AI
might audible to a Pass in appropriate game scenarios. They may also change to a pass play against a Weak Box.
■ For players who like to repeatedly call the same play type, you’ll see the AI audible against Zone, or Hot Route vs. Man Coverage.
○ Quick Game Overhaul – New logic for QB’s to speed up their progressions, and low throw if it’s a tight window on plays such as Quick Slants, or RPO.
○ Back Shoulder Throws – When a Shot Play or Goalline fade is dialed up, QB’s will be using a new throw location to get the ball to their playmakers
● Ball Carrier AI
○ We have implemented Frostbite Navigation Grid capabilities for better assessment of the playing field and threats, resulting in more appropriate Ball Carrier movement through the chaos of the play and a better ability to run to green grass, make smart cutbacks at the line of scrimmage and avoid the sideline.
○ Logical improvements to decision-making when special moves are appropriate for the specific ball carrier, making AI ball carriers play to their strengths more effectively.
○ To top off the AI ball carrier improvements, they can now take advantage of the 360° Cuts feature to methodically plant a foot and hit the run gap.
For Madden NFL 24, we’ve added 70+ new offensive formations that contain 500+ new plays across all 32 NFL teams playbooks to bring more variety and identity. You’ll find formations and plays that are not only authentic to each NFL team’s offensive scheme, but also a unique component to every NFL team’s offensive playbook specifically tailored to take advantage of all the gameplay improvements we have shared today.
NFL players are coming to life between the whistles in Madden NFL 24. By overhauling our post-play engine and adding thousands of new animations, you’ll notice every player on the field reacting to the play in a true-to-life manner.
Did your cornerback give up a crucial catch on 4th down? Expect to see the opposing receiver let you know he got that first down, while your cornerback shows frustration and disbelief during the post-play. Whether they’re tossing the ball back to the referee after a short gain, talking some trash to their opponent on the way back to the huddle, or teammates organically joining in on the touchdown celebration, you’ll feel the energy and emotion in every moment.
Madden NFL 24 launches worldwide on August 18, 2023. Pre-order the Madden NFL 24 Deluxe Edition and play early. Conditions and restrictions apply. See disclaimers for details. Stay in the conversation by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Answers HQ. Sign up for the Newsletter today to receive updates on Madden, and other EA news, products, and events, all season long.
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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.