Hit the Pass

Sports games of today, yesterday and tomorrow

The Conference Room

What do you hope Madden 16 delivers this year?

By on @richgrisham

EA’s Madden NFL 16 hits North America today. Frankly, we’re all really happy about that around here, as the arrival of Madden means a lot of things. At the top of the list, it signals the kickoff of the probably-gonna-be-great fall sports video game season. It also means the renewal of our rowdy and ever-growing Press Row Podcast online league, entering its third year (and the spiritual successor to the infamous 4th String leagues).  Best of all, there’s an entire season’s worth of interesting things to talk and write about. That starts with this week’s Conference Room. We asked our contributors what they personally were hoping for from Madden NFL 16.

What do you hope Madden delivers this year?

Dr. Ken Parker

I hope Madden delivers an interesting single player franchise mode. The NFL has so many awesome, evolving story lines. Can the Bills defense overcome their quarterback? What is the Broncos’ plan to replace Manning? Can the Seahawks continue to dominate and stay under the cap? When will the Patriots dynasty end?

I play Madden to see how these story lines could play out. In the third year of my single player franchise mode in Madden 15, free agent Andrew Luck signed with the Giants, Ryan Tannehill became the Broncos QB and Johnny Football was crowned league MVP.

I hope Madden presents these types of story lines in an engaging fashion to capture the action and intrigue off the field.

Ryan Lewis

Football is, by far, my favorite sport. So, by default, Madden should be my favorite game, but it hasn’t been for a while. That doesn’t stop me from hoping it will be every year, though. When E3 rolls around, I book a First Class ticket aboard the EA hype train and I ride the ever loving sh*t out of it until it arrives at it’s destination: milquetoast island…it sounds more delicious than it is.

Don’t get me wrong: I will sink more time into Madden this year than I will into practically any other video game. But over the past two years, I am playing it less and less. While games like The Show and NBA 2K are consistently consuming more of my available time for video games, I am holding out hope that this year, Madden will be great again and I won’t even think about 2K and The Show.

Because of the way games are marketed these days, we pretty much know everything about the game well over a month before it releases. And while I won’t know how I feel about the game until I actually play it, I know that it won’t be exactly what I want…and that’s OK, because it can still be a great game.

Maybe I’m alone, but my favorite things about sports (and sometimes sports video games) are the emotions and the story lines. I love rivalries and the drama of a 4th quarter comeback. Some of the best games I’ve ever played are ones that I lost (or sometimes won) in the last minute of an Online Franchise game. But that NEVER happens against the CPU and, even against human opponents, Madden does a horrible job of selling the drama. Whether it’s the through the commentary, presentation and even the gameplay, I never feel the importance of the moment and there are no stakes.

Again, I’m excited for this year’s game and I look forward to the Receiver-DB interactions, the cleaned up UI and even Draft Champions, but the early feedback I’ve heard and the fact that I’m already overly-excited about NBA 2K, already have me tempering my excitement. In fact, if I’m being honest, I kind of feel like I’m going through the motions buying Madden again this year already, which is not good. But, it’s still possible I might love this game…I hope.

Kahlief Adams

Draft Champions is totally the reason why I’m getting Madden this year. I’m in a very interesting position because I’m a huge football fan but don’t have super minute player recognition past the big name player from respective teams. DC will give me a better all around understanding of players plus I won’t have the frustration of hoping to snag a good player like you often do in MUT.

I’m super excited for this new fun addition and can’t wait to have that initial first “Oh no who do I pick moment”

Pete Skerritt

I am (probably foolishly) hoping for better presentation, including more better replay angles, more pertinent pre-play/post-play stat lines, and sharper commentary. I’m waiting for EA to outdo Visual Concepts’ work on NFL 2K5, and there’s no reason why it can’t. It’s been two console generations and 11 years since 2K5, and EA either has now or has had partnerships with both ESPN, CBS Sports, and NBC Sports Network at some point since. In fact, what EA did with NCAA Basketball 10 and incorporating two separate presentation packages was outstanding to me… but we’re still waiting for Madden to find its sweet spot for presentation.

If a game ends 49-0, it’s not a “game we’ll all remember”… and Jim Nantz would never say such a thing in the booth. If my team is leading in time of possession according to the halftime stat summary, don’t tell me that I need to catch up in time of possession. When you’re showing a replay of a 40-yard pass catch-and-run, don’t position the replay camera directly on the sideline behind the a bunch of people so that the action is obscured.

I’m probably asking for too much, since presentation isn’t that much of a priority, but I’ve seen flashes of brilliance in this area from sports games of the past, running on less powerful hardware. Of course, how Madden 16 ultimately plays will be important in formulating my overall opinion of the game when I get it… but presentation values are important to me, as well. If you can make me feel like I’m interacting with an authentic NFL game broadcast, I get drawn in even more. The pieces are in place with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in the booth and with many parts of the presentation package, but there’s still work that can– and hopefully will– be done.

Cicero Holmes

The beauty of this current generation’s Madden is its variety. It is almost every game for every pro football gamer. The list of ways to play increase this year with the addition of the Draft Champions mode but for me it’s all about Connected Franchise.

Thanks to EA Access I’ve already played a little bit of Madden NFL 16 already and the theatrical nature of the opening sequence, though ostentatious, was truly a sight to behold. It would be great if we could see more moments like that during a season but instead I’ll just settle for realism.

Despite what some people here at Hit The Pass think, I find that the inclusion of penalties in this year’s game adds to feeling that you’re playing football instead of just a video game. In just two games of so far I’ve already witnessed close to a dozen penalties and only 2 or 3 were false starts. There’s the new inclusion of defensive holding and even pass interference, never seen in any of my several hundred game sessions of Madden 15.

So bring on the flags! Even the ones that seem excessive. If there’s a randomness in officiating crews the same way MLB: The Show’s umpires vary their respective strike zones, all the better. Can’t wait for the Deflategate DLC!

T.J. Lauerman

Personally, I’m really hoping that Madden 16’s Online CFM can keep me wanting to play. Last year, with “aging” receivers losing speed at an unbelievable pace, and issues with progression, after two or three season I was was ready to throw in the towel.

I’d like to see this new progression system help change that, and make me want to utilize the players on my team to get them to grow. Changes like that will make me want to keep playing deep into my Online CFMs, and deep into the football season.

Gus Ramsey

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” – Andy Dufresne

I hope Madden ’16 doesn’t have the 1-play that is 95% unstoppable regardless of the rankings of the players executing and trying to stop said play.

I hope Madden ’16 includes authentic cutaways of assistant coaches, not just head coaches. I really want to see Wade Phillips on the Broncos sidelines.

I hope Madden ’16’s intent to amke the DB/WR interaction more realistic comes true.

I hope Madden ’16’s on-line franchise mode has eliminated the random “can’t join game” deal that prevents some users from being able to play league games against each other.

I hope Madden ’16 has given Adam Schefter a bigger role because he’s not nearly busy enough.

I hope Madden ’16 brings joy and happiness to all who play it, because lord knows we could all use more of that in our lives.

Happy Maddenoliday!

Some thoughts from the community on the subject