It’s the NFL Draft! TODAY! Excitement is bursting from my pants (not really), and in addition to this awesome day for football fans all across the country, we also get our first look at the cover for Madden NFL 25 and some first details. Coincidence? I think not.
As seen up top, Barry Sanders has been selected as the cover athlete of Madden NFL 25; fitting, considering he is easily the most electrifying running back to ever grace the gridiron. In addition to the cover athlete, we also get our first two playbooks: “Run Free” and “Infinity Engine 2.”
“Run Free” looks at ball carrier control:
Leading off the list of Madden NFL 25’s new features is the precision modifier, which allows for both the execution of new moves, as well as some important refinements to old favorites. Tapping the precision modifier button (LT/L2) causes a quick stutter step, which is sometimes all you need to move a defender out of position and blow right by. Holding the button slows your player down, allowing for more precise moves that will leave the defense flailing at empty space….
Run Free and the precision modifiers reach into all elements of running the ball, even offering variations on dives and hurdles. Furthermore, players with high attribute ratings (over 90) will be able to unleash even more nuanced moves, making them even more difficult to bring down.
Combo moves have also been added, which sound a bit like the right stick “combos” that were available in NFL 2K5.
“Infinity Engine 2” look at the next evolution of the Infinity physic engine introduced in last year’s game:
One of the biggest points of emphasis this year was tuning the Infinity Engine to account for the strength and power of players. This is how Force Impact was born. Football is a game of collisions and that will be reflected in how players interact when they hit each other. Force Impact allows the game to account for the size and strength of players to render realistic results when impact occurs. So (deleted words) if you use the Truck Stick to make a big, bruising running back like Marshawn Lynch lower his shoulder when a smaller player is trying to make a tackle, the Force Impact system will accurately calculate the outcome and render a result. Spoiler alert: there’s a good chance he’s going to run right over the smaller player. This was first demonstrated last year, but now it has been finely tuned to be even more realistic….
Another new mechanic this year is the stumble recovery. Players will have a chance to break out of a stumble, regain their feet and continue down the field. There will be a small window during a stumble where flicking the right stick back will allow you to keep your feet and continue moving forward. Conversely, if a player is about to get lit up by a defender, flicking the right stick forward will cause him to dive for as many yards as possible while keeping a firm grip on the pigskin….
With a renewed emphasis on the running game, serious attention was paid to blocking assignments. So this year, former NFL offensive lineman and current Madden NFL designer Clint Oldenburg took a look at every single offensive and defensive front in the game in order to script proper blocking assignments. Clint’s work results in guards and tackles now taking on the correct defenders and behaving more realistically during plays. Lead blockers will now seek out actual threats instead of peeling off to take on a linebacker that is already out of the play. The improvements are most apparent on screen plays where guards, wide receivers and others will do a much better job of creating space….
A small but significant defensive upgrade comes in the “breakdown” animations seen in the open field. To counter all the precision modifier moves, defenders will now slow down and get into position to make a play rather than charging full-speed ahead. Defenders caught out of position will also be able to make a hard cut and get back into the play, so will still be able to recover and make something happen. Last but not least, defensive pursuit angles have been tuned so that defenders are smarter about tracking down ball carriers. Combined that with the breakdown animation and recovery ability, defensive-minded players will have plenty of moves to choose from.