Yesterday, EA Sports dropped the first Deep Dive trailer for Madden 21, and it covered “innovative changes designed to deliver authenticity on both sides of the ball” in terms of gameplay. The video, which can be viewed below, was broken down into five key categories.
New Pass-Rush Control
This headlining feature is a welcome addition to Madden 21, as pass-rush moves will now be controlled via the right stick and triggers—giving users more complexity when getting after the quarterback. In previous games, you basically has to mash A/cross or X/square to do a finesse or power move, so those looking for more realism in terms of gameplay should be thrilled with a system that, it appears, will allow you to string moves together. Getting a sack with Aaron Donald on the interior or Nick Bosa on the edge should feel more rewarding with the upgraded controls.
Ball Carrier Skill Stick
There is also an overhaul for ball carriers in Madden 21, and again, the right stick being the focus of new controls should have users feeling more in command of what they want to do. The “linking” of moves as discussed in the Deep Dive should lead to the gameplay being much less animation heavy, and the new moves (side hurdle and dead leg) should create more excitement. Also, it’s notable that some moves will only be available to certain archetypes, which will hopefully separate the truly game-breaking players like Lamar Jackson and Saquon Barkley from everyone else.
Realistic Open Field Tackling
To keep up with the new moves for ball carriers, improved tackling should help balance the scales for users trying to contain some of the game’s best players in space. In particular, breaking down in the open field was upgraded to be more realistic—giving defenders a “much higher chance of successfully tackling the oncoming [ball carrier].” If users are able to accurately time a tackle, I think it will lead to big plays being less common and more true to life.
Multiple additions in this category should create a better simulation experience, but there are two that I am absolutely thrilled about. First, the new reach/dive animations will allow users to extend the ball with one hand to pick up a first down or score a touchdown (something we see all the time in real life). The other big change that I personally believe will stand out in terms of authenticity is the new “physics-based animations” for quarterbacks, which will take into account both momentum and pressure when making a throw.
Finally, after-the-play animations will give users a choice of various reactions (ex: dancing after a first down) by using the right stick, and the players in general will be much more aware of each other and their surroundings. The video says we will have “total control” in regards to celebrating, but I just hope that includes doing nothing if that’s what we want for a particular player; seeing soft-spoken stars like Nick Chubb or Larry Fitzgerald showboating personally takes away from the immersion for me.
‘Madden 21’ will be available on August 28 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.