One of the biggest changes is for AI behaviors, with CPU quarterbacks using the Skill-Based Passing system and defensive backs sporting a faster reaction time when the ball is in the air. Madden NFL 24 will also benefit from reworked animations and something known as Sapien technology that will bring more variety to player size and athleticism, and it should result in a more realistic in-game experience. Plus, Madden 24 will support cross-play for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC, which is a first for the series. Toss in the usual suite of graphical updates and performance tweaks, and Madden NFL 24 sounds like it could move the franchise forward in some welcome ways.
The regular edition of the game just has Allen, while the Deluxe Edition features the iconic photo of Allen jumping into the stands of Highmark Stadium to celebrate with fans. This marks the first time a Bills player has ever been a cover athlete for Madden, and the fourth time in five years a quarterback was on the cover — with Madden 23 being the only departure, with the game being a memorial to John Madden himself.
In addition to being the first Bills player, the 2024 cover marks the first time in the history of Madden that fans are being featured prominently. In the past we’ve seen crowd shots behind players, but they are always blurred or desaturated. This edition puts the die-hard Bills fans front-and-center, adding to the legacy of football in Buffalo.
“There’s a little bit of setup narrative through the timeline, but it’s really just about setting up the experience,” Dougan said. “But we now have tiered abilities, we now have real-time player grading, the stuff that you would expect in other sports games, the moment-to-moment feedback.”
It will more directly address players’ desire to play as a single, stud performer (at all positions other than offensive line or special teams), without storyline contrivances that never got any traction among the community and often interfered with the game-to-game action they really wanted.
“It’s really about you, with two friends, getting together and playing some quick, fast-performing, avatar-based gameplay experiences as you build up your character,” Dougan said.
In addition to Superstar Showdown, EA Orlando is leaning back into minigames, both as a means of progressing players in both Franchise and Superstar, and simply because they are fun on their own. Dougan specifically cited Rushing Attack, a mode introduced in Madden NFL 2005’s “Mini-Camp” suite, but soon disappeared for reasons unknown.
“We’ve added dynamic double teaming and chip blocks,” Dougan said — basically meaning more sophisticated blocking behavior where the players do more than just hit an assigned guy on the other side. “On top of that, we’ve also overhauled our open-field targeting system; we’ve also done a new system for pre-snap targeting, which is really there to make it more dynamic and stop exploits.”
More or less, Dougan is talking about offensive line and run blockers behaving more realistically, which is a constantly iterated promise in the Madden franchise. “In past Maddens, you might have seen your offensive lineman kind of changing their mind, or the receiver not making that block that you would expect them to make,” Dougan said. “That’s why we had to overhaul that system.”
Growing up, Allen said that he and his brother would have nightly battles playing each other in Madden and it helped him fall in love with football.
“I think learning the game at a young age and using Madden as that platform to understand the rules and the ins and outs of football,” Allen.
Allen has solidified himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league over the last several seasons. In the 2022 season, he set the NFL record for most combined TDs (passing + rushing + receiving) in a player’s first five seasons. He finished second in the league in total TDs (46) and came in third in MVP voting.
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