If you’re a true NFL fan and at least the occasional gamer, you’ve likely owned a copy of one of the wildly popular EA Sports Madden games in your lifetime. Madden has been a fixture in my life ever since I was five-years-old and I have never stopped playing since. I’ve even won a few local tournaments in my area which I guess was something to take pride in.
Today though, I want to walk through some new features I would really love to be added to Madden 18, which should hit the shelves right before the NFL kicks off its preseason in August. Now, I will admit the majority of these suggestions will be in relation to Connected Franchise mode and just the general gameplay/graphics/presentation. I know other features such as Ultimate Team and Draft Champions are also very popular with gamers, but I don’t particularly have an interest in them so I can’t speak to what improvements could be made. However, feel free to leave a comment at the end of this article if you feel there is something in these modes you would like to see in next year’s game.
So without further ado, here is my Madden 18 wishlist.
I like that Madden has put an emphasis on keeping quarterbacks in the pocket and putting significant amounts of inaccuracies by constantly throwing on the run. However, I often times feel like they have overdone it a bit with trying to keep quarterbacks in the pocket. Even the most mobile quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and Marcus Mariota would seemingly only take off and run as a last resort.
It shouldn’t be like some of the older Madden games where I had to literally treat Michael Vick like he was a running back because he had more rushing attempts than passing attempts, but at least give some of the more mobile QBs a greater chance of getting out of the pocket and making something happen.
Fixing NFL Draft Scouting
This is may be the one part of Franchise mode that I absolutely hate the most. The scouting system that the game currently has in place is just awful and honestly, I thought they would have gotten rid of it by now.
As it stands, the way you scout players is by unlocking only their top 3 attributes. You are given a certain amount of scouting points each week to unlock these skills for college prospects. If you look a little deeper, there are even some storylines surrounding certain prospects that could give you some tips on who to scout and who not to.
I hate this scouting system because it is so limited. When real NFL teams scout rookies coming out of college, they are able to scout way more than just three skills a player has. Instead, I favor a different system kind of similar to the one in the NBA 2K games in which you have multiple scouts that you can send out to different schools during the college football season and after every visit, they will give you a preliminary scouting report of every prospect from those schools where a few attributes are unlocked. If you want to unlock more attributes, you can send one of your scouts back to that school for another week.
Editing and Sharing Draft Classes
Back when we still had the NCAA football video games, you had the convenient option of importing your college class into the Madden game of that year, which was pretty cool. But because college football games are a thing of the past, that’s no longer an option. I’d like to see Madden adopt a system like in 2K where you can edit a draft class before the season or download an online community draft class with the real prospects coming into the upcoming draft. I don’t see any reason why this would be unreasonable. I think it would be extremely popular among Franchise players.
Bring Back Create A Stadium
This used to be one of my favorite parts of Franchise mode. In previous years, if you wanted to rebuild your stadium, you had so many options. You could customize the walls around the field with different patterns and designs, choose between different types of jumbotrons, choose the amount of seats/luxury suites in your stadium, choose whether you wanted to play on grass or turf, and even upgrade amenities to fans like wifi, cup holders, arcades, specialty food items, and so much more. You could even name your stadium whatever you wanted or choose between a few sponsorships to for some extra revenue.
I seriously miss that part of Madden. You can still rebuild your stadium in the new games, but it has been DRAMATICALLY simplified. You only have the choice of choosing between eight stadiums that have already been made for you, but it’s really only like four, because the other options are literally the exact same stadiums, just with more seating. If Madden brings back anything, I pray it would be a more detailed stadium customization.
Fixing Man-To-Man Coverage
This last year, I was happy that Madden added some new adjustments in terms of zones to the pass defense. That part I am happy with. My main complaint when it comes to defense is the man-to-man coverage. I know that the modern NFL is super pass heavy and that receivers are more talented than ever but running man-to-man coverage in a game of Madden (especially online) is suicide. It is just too easy. For more advanced players like myself, I can usually read the defense before the snap and get a good idea of whether I’m going to get man coverage or zone coverage. Short routes like slants, drags, and curls will result in a completion 95% of the time against man coverage which is utterly absurd. And if you dare try and press up and jam a fast receiver, they will burn you over the top every single time. I can’t even tell you how many times I have seen a defense ready to press, sent T.Y. Hilton on a fly route, and ended up with a walk-in 80 yard touchdown because it’s so easy to beat your defender downfield off the line of scrimmage.
I’m not saying man coverage should be complete lockdown for receivers, but you shouldn’t constantly be afraid to run it because there’s not a single corner in the game that can consistently shutdown a receiver. In real life, many teams are scared to throw near Patrick Peterson. But in Madden, if I read that it’s man-to-man, I’ll burn him all game if I want to.
Another thing I hate is that for reasons I can’t understand, your best cornerback is never lined up against your opponents best receiver. So if you’re the Seahawks playing against the Texans, Richard Sherman wouldn’t be lined up against DeAndre Hopkins, but rather Will Fuller V.
That’s an issue because if you’re a team like Atlanta that doesn’t particularly have good corners, the other team’s best receiver will tear you to shreds. In the past, Madden has had match-up assignments that you could change in the middle of the game if you wanted to, but for whatever reason, that’s not an option anymore.
Another thing I would like to see is more movement on the defensive side before the snap. Like I said, for experienced players like myself, I can read a blitz, man, or zone coverage on nearly every play. Modern NFL defenses do a great job of giving different looks to quarterbacks and disguising their defense before the snap of the ball. I’d love to see that. Have linebackers and safeties look like they’re ready to blitz but then drop back into coverage. Have a corner start out in a flat zone, and then come off the edge to sack the QB. I’d love the challenge of trying to figure out the different looks a defense gives.
I feel like every year Madden claims that they have fixed this but I just don’t buy it. They always say that they have put a premium on quarterback accuracy so that guys like Blaine Gabbert or Brian Hoyer don’t end up with stat lines that show 27-29 attempts and 350+ yards passing but it still happens all the time. The few incompletions I do force are usually because I either hit the quarterback as he throws, the receiver drops it due to a big hit, or the quarterback just throws it away out of play but that’s really about it. Very rarely will a quarterback overthrow or underthrow a receiver no matter who’s throwing the ball. It doesn’t matter what kind of defense you run, a perfect throw will beat any defense and unfortunately, there are a LOT of perfect throws by guys who are notoriously less-than-perfect quarterbacks. Maybe a slant route is thrown behind a receiver and he can’t hang on, or a deep post route is way over the receiver’s head because these things do happen in actual NFL games. It may be slightly annoying for players, but it adds more realism. There’s no reason Cody Kessler should be as accurate as Tom Brady.
Free agency needs to be a little more in depth for me. As it stands, free agency is just a straight up bidding war. Whoever offers up the most money is where the player will sign. But with any sport, there are plenty of other factors that could influence a player’s choice on where to play. Money is a big part of it and it should be, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that impacts their decision. Location, team success, coach prestige, and local fan support could all play a role in contract negotiations.
Another thing that was in some of the older Madden games but has since been removed was an unpredictable coaching carousel. Offensive and defensive coordinators would land head coaching jobs, mimicking real life. The newer Madden games have gotten rid of coordinators altogether, which is upsetting to me. Instead, the same coaches fired from previous jobs just rotate around the league to different teams which makes things significantly less interesting. They have a few fictional coaches in there but not to where you really notice much difference.
Personally, I’d like to see even specific position coaches added (WR, OL, DB, etc.) but maybe that’s too much for some people but at least bring back the coordinators, even if they’re fictional.
Fix The Preseason
Nobody likes preseason. Literally no one. The only time people even watch preseason games is because it’s the first time football has been on in six months and they need their fix. Madden knows this too, because the game even recommends you skip the preseason when starting a new Franchise, which is kind of depressing.
So here’s my idea: make preseason games actually mean something for the development of players. Based on how they perform in the preseason, give younger players slight permanent attribute boosts and/or a larger amount of XP for those games. This would only apply to players who are practice squad eligible and would only count if the user actually played the games rather than simulating them.
Running Back by Committee
Even if it’s not this year, I think this will still inevitably be added to Madden at some point. The majority of the NFL doesn’t feed one running back the ball 25-30 times a game. Instead, they usually have two runners who split carries. The closest thing Madden has ever had to this is the option to have a 3rd down running back which isn’t quite the same thing.
There has to be a way to do a committee system and one way I came up with which I think would work is having your secondary back come into the game every two plays. So for example, if you’re the Falcons, DeVonta Freeman would be in the game for two plays and on the third play of the drive, Tevin Coleman would enter in his place. Of course this would be optional and there needs to be the ability to override it if you really want to keep Freeman in for a certain play. Another option would be inserting Coleman once Freeman’s stamina gets below a certain point.
I have been playing Madden for over a decade and not once have I ever seen an offensive lineman get injured. The only time a player is injured is when they are part of a tackle animation.
That’s not realistic because linemen get hurt all the time. I’ve seen offensive linemen trip over other players, maybe that’s an animation that could cause someone to twist an ankle or fall hard on an elbow. Maybe a linebacker or a corner gets laid out by a big block and they’re slow to get up. Injuries shouldn’t be limited to just tackling.
Storyline For Career Mode
Madden basically has no career mode at all. You can create a player, put him on whatever team you want, and earn XP but there’s no storyline. It doesn’t even have to be super deep, but it’d be pretty cool to do some things off the field. I could see you starting your career at the combine and that would determine your draft position. You hire an agent, earn endorsement deals for XP, have relationships with a trainer or coach at practices and such.
True Home Field Advantage
The NCAA football games had their own version of this where if you were on the road, all your pre-play art before the snap would be distorted and shaky due to the crowd noise. I wouldn’t mind seeing that or something similar. Maybe all the road team’s players have a slight attribute dip for that game. Whatever the solution is, I think it’s important for Madden to create some sort of home field advantage.
I have yet to find a sports game with a good halftime show. It would be great if there was a way to get highlights from other games going on in the league during halftime or at the very least, just updated scores/standings so that players can be updated on things like playoff positioning or division games.
This is more of a nitpicking deal on my end but it would be nice if there were your actual players on the sidelines rather than just random players in uniform.
Also, Madden emphasized animations that showed emotion of the coaches on the sideline. Maybe tone that down a notch. Literally after every play, the camera would cut to the coach who, depending on the outcome of the play, either acted like the world was caving in or that he just won the Super Bowl. I’m not saying coaches can’t show emotion, just maybe dial the frequency back a bit.
Ability To Coach
Lots of Madden fans like myself sometimes just want to watch a game. You don’t have this feature in the new Madden. Not only would I bring back the ability to watch a team play, I would add like a coaching mode of sorts to where you still pick the plays, but the players would be controlled entirely by the CPU. It would add another demographic to the game.
What To Expect
We’re not going to see all or even probably most of these changes in Madden 18. However, no Madden game is the same and there are new wrinkles added every year. This year, Madden is being produced by Frostbite so do expect to see some significant presentation changes.