Madden 21: New features and gameplay updates detailed

EA Sports
EA Sports /
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Four big features that’ll help improve Madden 21 gameplay.

In revealing Madden 21, EA specifically highlighted three new innovative features that’ll help improve the gameplay. These improvements applied to both sides of the ball and include updated pass-rush mechanics, a new Skill Stick ball-carrier system and more realistic open-field tackling. Following a lackluster gameplay trailer that didn’t really reveal much gameplay, EA has released a new video that provides more of a deep dive into these new gameplay systems.

Pass-Rush Control

The importance of a strong pass rush can’t be understated. Being able to get to the quarterback is pivotal in stopping opposing offenses in both real life and in Madden. In Madden 21, all-new defensive line mechanics are being introduced to make playing as a pass rusher “more responsive” and “more fun to play.”

All of the pass rush moves have now been assigned to the right stick and triggers. This will allow players to confidently pull off specific moves more consistently.

A new on-field trainer provides real-time feedback, showing the player how many moves or attempts are left on a given play. It will also indicate if the move was successful or not.

Ball Carrier Skill Stick

Whether it’s a juke or a spin move, the Madden franchise has always been about those flashy ball carrier plays. Madden 21 will add a new level of creativity on the field with the ball carrier skill stick.

"“The right stick acts as the main control point between you, the defender and the open field. All the moves can be linked together to create exciting skill moves at any moment.”"

There are specifically two new skill stick moves in Madden 21: the side hurdle and the dead leg. Additionally, specific animations will only be assigned to certain play archetypes so that the best ball carriers in the league actually feel like the best and stand out from among the rest.

Realistic Open Field Tackling

Let’s be honest, the Madden series isn’t exactly known for its intelligent AI on defense. EA is hoping to change that in Madden 21.

There are two major changes, one of them being how defenders get into position to make a play. Defensive players will “break down” and prepare for contact, eliminating the “guided missile” feeling of tackling as well as other “jarring” tackle moments seen in past games. Additionally, a well-timed break down tackle will provide a much higher chance of successfully tackling the player.

Authenticity Improvements

Beyond these gameplay improvements, Madden 21 will have some major authenticity improvements. The goal was to create a more realistic, immersive feeling. Players will maintain momentum as they run out of bounds, reach for extra effort first downs and dive for endzone pylons, like you would see in real life.

Quarterbacks will also have new physics-based animations to create more authentic moments when throwing under pressure and when being hit. These are contextual moments determined by defender positioning, the quarterback’s arm angle and the target of the pass.

And you know those jarring player animations after a play has ended? The ones where the player acts like a robot or completely ignores his surroundings? Well, that’s hopefully gone in Madden 21.

Next. Madden 21: Predicting the five best rated QBs. dark

Madden 21 takes the field on August 25, 2020 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. It will also be released on Xbox Series X and PS5 with a free upgrade via the Dual Entitlement program; however, we don’t yet have a release date for the next-gen version since these consoles don’t have launch dates yet.