John Madden rolls in his grave as virtual Patrick Mahomes rolls to his left and delivers a 99-yard strike off his backfoot using a $200 boost that was purchased in Madden Ultimate Team. Madden memes might make dollars, but make zero sense to simulation seekers and older fans accustomed to previous editions of the game that were grounded in more realistic gridiron features.
EA Sports has declared the next Madden a make-or-break effort for the franchise. One way to make it would be to restore some much-loved features from previous iterations of the game. Here’s a list of 24 to start.
Getting Derrick Henry into space against weak side linebackers without pads on concocts the perfect blend of evil and entertainment. Tracking deep balls with Tyreek Hill rapidly and randomly hurled from a JUGS Machine sounds like a grand time!
Ever wonder if the 1985 Bears’ defense would transfer its dominance to today’s aerial playstyle? EA begs for money while gamers beg the question. Ultimate Team locks historical players behind a paywall, leaving zero free teams from the past available for play anymore.
Madden deprives current players of the ability to not just have historical teams, but create user-generated teams that stick outside of franchise mode as well. Custom logos, uniforms, roster builds, and cities combined into a staple of previous Maddens. The feature left several years ago and took a strong replayability hook with it.
Doesn’t it seem goofy that Zack Willson reads the cougars — I mean cornerbacks — as clearly as Patrick Mahomes? Madden 2006’s quarterback cones addressed the flaw. The area of play quarterbacks viewed unobstructed depended upon individual awareness ratings.
Peyton Manning enjoyed a clear view, whereas JP Losman morphed into JP Lossman. The vision cone distinguishes the good from the great and factors into forming new strategies to win other than spamming aerial attacks to a favorite target.
Madden cards thrilled parties back when performance presided over profitability. Unlimited passing range for one play answered the virtual prayers for an unforgettable Hail Mary. Fumblitis increased fumble chances by up to 75%. Extra Credit even awarded bonus points for sacks and turnovers.
Madden offered chances to wager them against friends so games meant more than bragging rights and belly laughs.
Speaking of features fit for wholesome parties, previous Maddens embraced in-house tournaments through quickly customizable brackets. “March Madness” stops with the NCAA nowadays. The NBA 2K series realizes few want to perform this tedious task by hand.
Fluid running animations
Developers revamped running mechanics to factor in weight and momentum. The realistic push carried the unintended consequences of running animations that don’t always register with the ground properly. Madden 23 Glitches gift many touchdowns from zombified runners contorting through downed contact.
Kevin Stefanski’s Philadelphia Eagles innovated quarterback sneak possibilities in 2023, so why can’t players create something new within gridiron guidelines? Madden 2003 nods its head in agreement, but sequels left player-driven playbooks in the past.
Madden 2005 permitted players to make fans with different skin colors, body shapes, props, jerseys, and face paint. Not having to trek to the garage to make fans in 2023 brings cheer.
Playing Every Position in Superstar Mode
Repressed athletes yearn to translate overweight girth into overpowered gaming as loyal linemen clearing pesky peasants in “King Henry”s ‘Titanic’ path. Gamers not tall for ball might wish to vicariously live through Justin Tucker’s laser-like leg action.
Madden denies a full positional plate Madden 2006 and outside of special teams Madden 2007 allowed. Today’s Face of the Franchise menu offers the choice of quarterback, wide receiver, halfback, linebacker, and cornerback.
Choosing Created Player’s Parents
Superstar Mode sprinted to superstardom if gamers chose a Hall of Fame father and an Olympic mother. Becoming the son of a plumber paid homage to Dusty Rhodes. Hard times fall upon maximizing fun in today’s stripped Face of the Franchise remodel.
Starring in Movies
No game turns Tom Brady into Tom Cruise. Regardless, Madden 2006 lovers can’t handle the truth about not being able to make movies in Madden anymore. Superstar Mode casted players in roles depending on the created player’s league visibility and agent.
Superstardom afforded blockbuster opportunities, while newcomers attempted low-budget indies. A mini-game prompted players to read the script and try to deliver the right lines quickly and accurately to land a role. Nowadays, it’s light effort, no cameras, action!
Situation Mode/Madden Moments
Want the Falcons to fly on the right side of 28-3 history? Think a user-controlled Marshawn Lynch seals the Super deal by keeping the ball on the ground? EA advises dreamers to think again. Old Maddens and even NFL Quarterback Club 1997 championed situational football, but it’s gone in 2023.
Franchise Mode Radio Show
Former ESPN Radio personality Tony Bruno hosted a radio show covering league happenings, roasting poor play, and conducting real-life interview segments in franchise mode. The well-received feature meshes perfectly with today’s podcast popularity. ChatGPT boosts scripting possibilities.
Every team used to have unique newspapers highlighting stellar player performances, game results, and league wide trades/statistical leaders. Constant 24/7 consumption killed the newspaper model, but reviving team publications would be a great detail for player immersion.
It’d be dreamy if every franchise player rejoiced with his team every year. Reality dictates that a lack of money, powerful production opportunities, and/or respect causes nightmarish trouble in paradise. Older Maddens attached dynamic morales and contract holdouts to mirror real-life riffs.
Wannabe general managers watched AI performances in the Senior Bowl and scouted entire draft classes for player comparisons, intangibles, and personality traits. Bidding wars won the services of top scouts. If it’s good enough for PS2 hardware, the PS5 should be able to handle the heavily immersive and realistic worldbuilding.
Few players care to see yellow laundry sully a skillful battle. Returning the people who throw them to viewers’ behest every Sunday adds a basic level of legitimacy missing in Madden since 2019.
Fighting for Fumbles
Officials, players, and fans recognize the grimy nature of fumble piles that produce equal amounts of dirtiness and excitement. Madden 10 facilitated human dog fights by introducing button mashes in tug-of-war fashion to recover fumbles. Today’s pixelated pigskin bounces as cleanly as a pampered poodle.
Helmets Flying After Hits
Despite Roger Goodell’s best efforts, hard hits resulting in dislodged helmets still happen. Many sent helmets into digital orbit, especially in Madden 2005 with the hit stick and defensive emphasis. Today’s safety emphasis values technique over thwacking. However, Madden 24 is just a video game and would be a better one if big hits left a realistic imprint.
Prominent Rock Music
Nothing screams intense experiences like the torrid drum intro of Painkiller, followed by a screeching riff and Rob Halford’s soaring vocals intersecting Banshee and Banal Boulevard. Ozzy Osbourne, Foo Fighters, Avenged Sevenfold, and a host of other popular rock acts lent a helping hand to the game’s decibel dial. Today’s rap-centric soundtrack fails to synchronize with the rush of creating 300-pound defensive linemen’s hit stick highlights.
Madden curated a thorough record book for years, kept new benchmarks, and alerted players when one was broken in a game ie: passing yards. The feature adds a simple incentive to experiment with different strategies and adds meaning to mundane modes.
EA Sports Player Promos
“It’s in the game!” Not anymore, but we’d love the nostalgic EA Sports promos from popular players to nestle in our ears again. Ensure that Russell Wilson stays home, though!
We save the best coach for last. Admittedly, this one isn’t EA’s fault. Infamously introverted icon Bill Belichick hasn’t been a member of the NFL Coaches’ Association since 2005. Maybe a new year translates into a new Bill and we’ll see the familiar hoodie and scowl grace the game, filling a virtual void that makes the overall roster seem incomplete each year.
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Stuart Stalter is a lot better at writing articles about playing video games than writing in agony while playing Dark Souls. However, he did graduate from the College of Winterhold and holds a bachelor's degree in business administration in real life. You can find him on social media complaining about the Chicago Cubs @StuartStalter"