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Madden NFL 17 Gameplay Improvements: Special Team, Catch Outcomes and Ball Physics

Madden NFL 17 on Xbox One and PlayStation®4 is the culmination of community feedback and years of technological advancements. In our previous articles, we detailed the lead feature in the ground game. Today, we will cover updates within special teams and a top community request, pass defense. We are also excited to be introducing game changing ball physics. 

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

 

special teams

 

Special Teams. The third phase of the game. This is an area that hasn't changed much in Madden for quite some time. To be honest, special teams in Madden was largely a non-factor. Kicks were too easy and blocks were almost impossible without exploits. We felt pretty strongly that this was not representative of what we are seeing in the NFL. Our goals in this area were to add strategy, risk and reward elements, and the potential for game deciding plays in special teams.

 

New Kick Meter

 

new kick meter

 

When we reviewed game tape of the 2015 NFL season, we came to the realization that it was far past time to make kicking in Madden ‘less automatic'. We felt like we needed more of a challenge than just flicking the stick up. We also felt that kicker ratings needed to have a much bigger impact on the game. After reviewing other sports titles, we quickly adopted a 3 button approach, very similar to what you would see in a golf or baseball game. You click the button once to start the kick, click again at the top of the meter to set power and finally again at the bottom of the meter to set accuracy. The harder you try and kick it, the more difficult it will be to hit the accuracy window. We have also restored the squib kick mechanic based on community response and new to M17 are ‘sky punt' and ‘backspin' options for situational strategies in the kicking game.

 

Trick Plays

 

One aspect of special teams we knew we had to get into Madden NFL 17 is trick plays. Some of the most exciting and unforgettable highlights in football are of those rare trick plays that have the potential to change the outcome of any game with a single play. Who could forget Seattle's trick field goal for a touchdown vs. the Packers in the playoffs! While Madden has had special team trick plays for years, we have not opened up the playbook to some of the modern takes we see in today's NFL. Offenses will now have several trick play options (both run and pass) from Field goal and Punt formations. These generally will only have a chance of working against all out block formations so pick your moments carefully!

 

Kick Blocks

 

kick blocks

 

Speaking of all out block formations, at long last we have a designed system for blocking kicks. Gone are the days of user created exploit kick blocks, now replaced by a system that has very tight control over frequency and success chances. When you call one of several punt or kick block formations, the players who are designated as "kick blockers" are marked with a B icon in pre play. Select one of these players and use the jump the snap mechanic to have a small chance at breaking through the line and driving in for a kick block. The win chance is only the beginning, successfully steering yourself in for a block and timing the block attempt are all necessary to achieve one of the most dynamic and exciting plays in football. Rest assured there are cap systems in place to ensure users do not exploit this new implementation of kick blocks. 

 

SWAT Mechanic


The lack of control options on defense to effectively defend the aggressive catch became a major point of contention throughout the year. We spent a lot of time discussing this specific issue with the community and decided that the right way to attack the problem was not to nerf the aggressive catch, but rather build an effective counter mechanic on defense. Thus, the new SWAT mechanic was born for Madden NFL 17. Defenders now have 3 options when the ball is in the air. Play Ball, Play Receiver or Swat. If you are willing to give up the chance for an interception in order to stop the shot play, the swat mechanic is for you. It has been custom designed as the counter to the aggressive catch on defense.

 

 

Ball Physics

 

madden ball physics

 

The integration of physics into Madden has been an extended multi-year process. One of the biggest outliers was ‘the ball' which was running what we refer to as "legacy physics" from the Gen 3 era. With Madden NFL 17, the ball has been fully integrated into our Ignite physics engine and the results are game changing. This feature will have a significant impact on several major systems throughout the game.

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