Whenever a new console is launched inevitably one of the big titles, for the American market at least, is a new Madden NFL title, and this year is no exception with the launch of next-generation consoles bringing with it the release of Madden NFL 25. The franchise has always stood up as one of the pinnacle of sporting games (although some would argue that FIFA commands a bigger status these days), and this latest title looks like pushing the franchise to new heights in all aspects of the game.
As you would expect this game isn't one which features a "story" of sorts, but it will certainly contain all the game modes which one would expect from a sports game. It's not confirmed as yet but we would expect a Quick Match, Online Matches and a, now confirmed, Franchise mode in the game which allows to to deal with the entire aspect of operating an NFL team from playing the games, to setting ticket prices, food prices, and dealing with the media among other things. Perhaps most importantly Electronic Arts have confirmed that the next-generation version will include all the game modes from the current-gen release - so no half baked release like FIFA on the Wii U.
The Washington Redskins - in game form!
With the additional power of next-generation systems Madden NFL 25 steps the game up in almost all areas. Of course the visuals are vastly improved, and we'll talk about them a little later, but let's start by looking at the improved gameplay. EA Tiburon have included an all-new True Step which allows players to foot-plant, cut, and shift momentum in an authentic way, unlocking the agility and explosiveness of the NFL athlete. Indeed the games physics calculate at twice the rate allowing for the most organic, user-driven outcomes in franchise history and the game actually calculates every step which an athlete makes on the field and the impact on their movement and momentum.
The developers have also worked hard to improve the offensive and defensive play. Linemen are more than just physical, they are intelligent. Coupled with the ability to make 4x more decisions per second, 300 new blocking interactions create the most realistic running lanes for the ballcarrier and passing pockets for the Quarterback.
Player detail is quite astounding.
Offensive lineman will dynamically sort and shift assignments based on threats and angles, starting with intelligently identifying the center of the defense, the “Mike”, countering the over 3x new defensive line moves and the latest blitz packages. Authentic double teams, blitz pick-ups, and line shifts showcase line units working together as one, highlighting the most physical and intense battles in the NFL.
Another key innovation in this years game is the all-new Player Sense which sees the players scanning the entire field to anticipate situations before they arise, and act accordingly with their own instincts. Madden NFL 25 includes 50x as many contextual calculations in this area allowing players to leap over fallen players, blitzing linebackers sliding past teammates and much more.
As you can see in the surrounding screenshots, and certainly in the video below which shows the game running in the Ignite Engine (which not only handles the visuals but also the physics, audio, and AI in the game), this next-generation title really pushes next-gen visuals with a phenomenal level of detail on the players and fields in static shots, but it's the realism in the animation that is pushing this game to new heights.
Madden 25's menu (albeit shown on XBox).
In fact Electronic Arts have confirmed that Madden NFL 25 will include 10x the detail over previous titles in terms of players facial detail, equipment and clothing. Texture quality has been improved over 4x that in previous games on items such as stadiums, crowds and the field while animation has been given a major boost for added reality. Not confirmed, but we expect the PS4 version to run at full 1920 x 1080p resolution.
While NFL doesn't command a great amount of attention here in Australia (at least compared to other sports), the quality of this video game franchise has ensured a large fan base even here and this next-gen version looks like taking it to a whole new level. The current generation version of Madden NFL 25 is due out in August 2013, with this next-generation PS4 version due at launch on November 29.
Below is the first trailer for Madden NFL 25 showing the game running in EA's new Ignite engine. Impressive stuff.