Madden NFL 23 will be released on August 16 on multiple platforms (PS4, PS5, XB1, XB Series S/X, Google Stadia and PC) for EA Play subscribers, but worldwide on August 19. Prior to release, EA launched and extended a closed beta to gather feedback on the pre-retail version in an effort to showcase the potential launch of bets.
Earlier this week, EA released their findings and responses to the feedback collected during the closed beta. According to EA’s Gridiron Notes, gamers didn’t want the final version to change “drasically” from the beta in the form of “coverage/response time”. This comment has been shared 670 times.
Here’s EA’s response:
“The number one feedback topic we received! Rest assured Madden community, our vision of game balance is consistent with yours and the gameplay you experienced in the Closed Beta is what you will be playing on launch day. Improvements and bugs from player feedback have been made to make it even better, but the overall experience will be like you played in the Closed Beta.”
The gameplay in the beta, while pretty similar to the Madden we’re used to on some key points, felt a bit more polished and organic. However, the more hardcore fans probably enjoyed the defensive responsiveness during passes.
Fans asked umpires to return to the in-game action from a visual standpoint. According to EA, “While refs returning to the field during live gameplay isn’t something we’ll be able to achieve in Madden 23, it’s something we want to get as much as our players; we want to make sure that when refs return, they return in a state where the visual quality is on par with the rest of the characters on the field; refs is very high on our future roadmap.”
As a Madden gamer throughout the franchise’s life, I have never missed or appreciated the officials’ presence on the field. I can imagine a slight bump in visual authenticity, but it’s not high on my list of things to add from a presentation standpoint. Still, nearly 300 people voted to add the virtual zebras to the game.
According to EA, several adjustments will be made before launch to balance the gameplay. “Insta-shed” was an issue with what felt like an overwhelming pass rush during the beta.
EA tweaked the offensive-defensive lineup to hopefully create a more realistic situation for quarterbacks who often ran for their digital lives during the beta.
Also, there has been some alignment to reduce the number of fumbles. Four bullet-point fixes have been implemented to resolve this issue.
- Tuning to significantly reduce the chance of fumbles on QB hits in the pocket
- Tuning to significantly reduce the chance of fumbles on QB hits in the early part of the roll
- Tune to reduce fumbles by non-QB ball carriers on hit sticks and strip ball attempts
- Significant reduction in punch-out fumbles by AI-powered defenders during competitive play style stand-up tackles
This sounds like good approximations, but I’ve never liked the concept of balancing running quarterbacks by having them fumble an unrealistic number of times. Fatigue and/or injuries are the real check-and-balance for this in the NFL, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be the same in Madden.
Injuries won’t be too much of a problem in Ultimate Team, which has a lot of online play in the Madden universe. That’s more of a balance for franchise mode matches. However, a fatigue system that forces a substitution or drastically compromised game from a QB who has scrambled too many times seems more realistic than letting them fumble with hits that wouldn’t normally lead to a potential turnover.
According to the Gridiron Notes, EA added 27 new hit-stick animations for the game’s launch, which should add some needed variety to this favorite part of the game.
Franchise mode saw several balances impacting free agency, the concept, and other areas. Community communication and awareness are encouraging, but we’ll have to wait just under two weeks to determine if the launch result reflects the efforts to deliver the best Madden experience.