Madden NFL 23 will launch on multiple platforms (PS4, PS5, XB1, XB Series S/X, Google Stadia and PC) on August 16 for EA Play subscribers, but globally on August 19. Ahead of the release, EA launched and extended a closed beta to gather feedback on the pre-retail version in an effort to showcase potential bets.
Earlier this week, EA released its findings and responses to feedback collected during the closed beta. According EA’s Gridiron Notes, players didn’t want to see the final version change “drastically” from the beta in terms of “coverage/reaction time”. This answer has been shared 670 times.
Here’s EA’s response:
“The number one feedback topic we received! Rest assured in the Madden community, our vision for game balance is consistent with yours, and the game you experienced in Closed Beta is what you’ll be playing on launch day. Added polish and bug fixes from player feedback to make it even better, but the overall experience will be as you played in Closed Beta.”
The gameplay in the beta, while quite similar in some key ways to the Madden we’ve come to expect, was a bit more polished and organic. However, more die-hard fans likely enjoyed the level of responsiveness on defense during passing plays.
Fans have called for referees to return to in-game action from a visual standpoint. According to EA: “While referees returning to the field during live play isn’t something we’ll be able to offer in Madden 23, it’s something we want to get as bad as our players. We want to make sure that when the referees come back, they come back to a state where the visual quality is the same as the rest of the characters on the field. Referees are very high on our future roadmap.”
As a lifelong Madden gamer of the franchise, I’ve never missed or appreciated the presence of officials on the field. I could imagine a slight hit to visual authenticity, but it’s not high on my list of things to add in terms of presentation. However, nearly 300 people voted to add virtual zebras to the game.
Various tweaks will be made before release to balance the game, per EA. “Insta-shed” was an issue with what seemed like over-passing during the beta.
EA has tweaked the offensive-defensive line game to hopefully create a more realistic situation for quarterbacks who were often running for their digital lives during the beta.
Also, some adjustment has been made to reduce the number of games. Four bulleted fixes have been applied to address this issue.
- Tuned to greatly reduce the chance of shearing on QB hits inside the pocket
- Tune to greatly reduce the chance of error on QB hits while on the first part of the throw
- Tuning to reduce hits by non-QB ball carriers on hits and strip-ball attempts
- Significant reduction in punch-outs by AI-controlled defenders during stand-up tackles in competitive playstyle
These approaches sound like good approaches, but I’ve never liked the idea of balancing running players, making them cheat too many times. Fatigue and/or injury is the real check and balance for that in the NFL, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be the same in Madden.
Injuries won’t be as big in Ultimate Team where a ton of online play takes place in the Madden universe. This is more of a balance for franchise operation competitions. However, a fatigue system that forces a replacement or drastic game compromise from a QB who has been fumbled too often seems more realistic than making him dig on hits that normally wouldn’t lead to a potential turnover.
According to Gridiron Notes, EA has added 27 new hit-stick animations for the game’s launch, which should add some much-needed variety to this fan-favorite part of the game.
The franchise operation featured several balances that will affect free agency, the draft and other areas. Community communication and awareness is encouraging, but we’ll have to wait a little less than two weeks to determine if the outcome of the release reflects the efforts to deliver the best Madden experience.