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Wars, the evil empire always wins – it’s that a single good season is never good enough. Madden NFL 17 injected freshness into the series after years of malaise. But fans are already looking towards next season, and ways in which the wily veteran can once more be made to feel young again. Here, then, are 11 improvements which would take Madden 18 to the next level.
1. Unlimited relocation choices
Relocation features has been Limited from Madden 17. And Toupal got some very simple ways to upgrad option, including the city, name and colours, stadium and uniforms; expansion teams; and the ability to upload and download logo designs’,especially important for anyone who uses Jaguars in franchise mode, in order to presciently transform them into the London Big Bens come 2021.
2. True home-field advantage
The Chiefs’ Arrowhead stadium holds the world record for crowd noise at 142.2 dbA; little wonder Kansas City has only lost six regular season home games in three years. Seattle’s CenturyLink Field is similarly intimidating. Home-field advantage has more bearing in the NFL than any other sport, with away sides often unable to hear audibles and snap counts beneath the din of the crowd. Yet in Madden: nothing.
3. Improved clock management
This year’s Super Bowl was won and lost on clock management, with Atlanta repeatedly – and stupidly – gifting New England more time by snapping the ball with :20 still on the play clock. And towards the end of games, Madden’s AI teams are just as unfathomable in this area as the fallen Falcons.
4. Off-the-ball injuries
Often the worst possible kind of injuries in the NFL – such as knee ligament tears, or ruptured achilles tendons – are caused off the ball (and therefore, to the fan at home, off camera), but such knacks are seldom seen in Madden. That might add to the sense of fairness online, yet it detracts from the authenticity of franchise mode, where even the occasional accidental career-ender should rear its ugly, straight-to-the-CAT-scanner head.
5. Steal the best bits of Split Second: Velocity (really)
Writing piece looking towards Madden 18. Anything you NFL diehards want added/tweaked for next season, aside from a ‘nuke Patriots’ option? Time slowdown when the ball is in the air so I can finally learn how to play SS on defense. On easier settings only, like. And a Split/Second rewind mechanic I can use three times a game to wind back shit passes.
6. A whole new ball game via Frostbite
The switch to Battlefield’s Frostbite engine and confirmed during EA’s January conference call to investors, is unlikely to transform the game on a genetic level. Yet from a visual standpoint it has the potential to comprehensively enhance the just-like-being-there experience. Madden’s running animations have never quite looked natural, which is an immersion killer: that should change with the switch to an engine built on authentic cosmetics. Improved weather effects, more life in players and coaches on the sideline, and better material dynamics – in MLB The Show numbers truly look like they’ve been printed onto jerseys, and that’s the benchmark EA should be striving for – are all tantalising possibilities with the switch to Frostbite.
7. Editable draft classes
EA’s partnership with the NCAA was punted into oblivion by way of a 2015 lawsuit regarding player likenesses, meaning we’re stuck with fictional draft classes for the foreseeable future. That’s a shame, but it shouldn’t be unsalvageable. If you give the ability for people to create prospects and build draft classes, and allow the user to download it before the season starts, it would make franchise that much more fun. It would be amazing to do a 49ers franchise and build my team around DeShone Kizer, instead of random generated QB out of Stanford.”
8. Running back committees
It’s very rare in the modern NFL that any team uses one running back throughout the majority of any given match, but Madden still utilises that antiquated approach. It means there’s no simple way to emulate. Operation Sports has potentially found a neat way to resolve this. Basically, give each HB a sub % and have the game auto-sub based on that, instead of fatigue. Even if they don’t get a carry, they get plays on the field. Let’s say you set it to ‘HB1: 60, HB2: 30, HB3: 10’. HB1 gets six plays straight, then HB2 gets three, then HB3 gets a play.
9. Additional franchise details
Writing piece looking towards Madden 18. Anything you NFL diehards want added/tweaked for next season, aside from a ‘nuke Patriots’ option? Why can’t commentary updates be built into franchise? Bring back less than full stadiums. Update generic sideline players. Better options for contracts (front/backload) in Franchise mode. Ability to man-align CBs to a set WR pre-game or in-game.
10. Retro Madden mode
Last year GR+ based an entire feature on the Madden whambulance. Really. And while the series tiptoes closer to reality with each passing year, it’s still the flourish this team misses most from the Mega Drive/Genesis days. Clearly you feel the same way.