Madden Creative Director Kolbe Launchbaugh stopped by reddit to answer a few questions about the incoming Madden 16 Patch, game development and Madden 16 in general.

I’m trying to provide some context to the process as there seems to be some confusion around how things (aka making console games) work. Here is a simplified version of a typical release and patch cycle:

  1. We finish the game and validate through internal QA.
  2. We pass it off to Sony and Microsoft for approval. This timeline is long before we hit the street.
  3. The entire team goes into “play the game mode” on a more full time basis. Our goal is to find as many things as possible and get them in the launch day patch (which we delivered for early access this year).
  4. Once the game is released to the masses, we scour reviews, twitter, Reddit and other forums looking for every piece of feedback we can find. We compile all of it (and start fixing the most important ones right away). A point I’d like ot make here – You, our fans, due to the nature of Madden’s scale, play more games in a single launch night that we can possibly get in a full year of testing.
  5. Next, two things happen simultaneously.
  • We can get some immediate fixes via server/data/tuning, but not everything can be fixed like that. I say immediate, but even server changes take a lot of testing before we can release it.
  • Some things can’t be fixed with a server update so we need to prepare and test what most people think of as a patch. These changes have to go through the Sony/Microsoft approval process again, which takes a lot of time. Because of that we tend to group up changes and submit them all at once.

How hard is it to balance progression and regression in this game, and what steps might we see to balance it this year in a patch? It seems like last year was way too far on the progression side and this year is way too much regression and not enough progression, which essential kills the CFM for a lot of us.

Balancing progression in CFM is amazingly complex. The littlest thing, for example – DT’s getting a ~1 additional sac per year from the left side in the simulator, will dramatically increase how quickly a LG regresses. In CFM MANY systems are related and often refer back to each other for information. It makes for a very dynamic and emergent behavior, but the side effect are some of the things you’re seeing.

Is CFM mode still a focus for you or will Madden eventually just become a MUT/H2H arcade football experience?

Contrary to what people believe, we spent more dev time on CFM than MUT this year. CFM will not be abandoned or left to die… nothing even remotely close.

There’s one question I’m curious if you are able to answer – while there are some more obvious issues to try to address with a first patch, is there any attention being paid to the current state of Game Prep and player XP progression in general?

All I can really say is that we understand the feeling behind the current state of Game Prep and have some ideas. Unfortunately, I can’t commit to any kind of timeline.

Have you had any discussions on your CFM connect site? It would be very beneficial to leagues to have more remote abilities. For example, Auto users from the website. Sometimes someone needs put on auto and no commish is available to get on console to auto a user. Ability to scout or even just view players you scouted from the site. Or perhaps you could work with daddyleagues and let them have the ability to enable things like this from their site.

Yes. We talk about the CFM website often – we have some big ideas but very uncertain as to the timing of said ideas.

Why no scrimmage option between users within a league? The h2h blocks are already in place in the game so isn’t easy to let users play meaningless games for practice or fun in a league? Or at least let is export our team so we could do this outside of CFM.

You are correct, we can play a H2H game in CFM. But giving this option isnt a “free” feature, I’d love to do this at some point – I just don’t know when that would be.

Was wondering if there has been discussions on fixing an issue where when you are in your binder and you sort your bing and you go to a certain player and press LB it goes into auction just fine, but when I back out it goes back to default sorting! 

We’re aware of this and looking into our options. It’s not a simple fix.

It’s awesome you guys are doing all of the things to improve the game and get the fixes out. At this time have any server side fixes been applied? If so, are they any of the major issues that the community is seeing?

We’ve put out server fixes multiple times since launch. Most of these are for stability or monitoring, but a few bug fixes as well. I believe a tuning file went out yesterday as well.

 

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Curtis Knight
A fan of sports game since his first EA sports title Madden 93. "The Natural" has been an active member of the Sports Gaming community since joining the MWS in 2003. Having participated and won in the Madden challenge and countless other tournaments earlier in his career he has moved on to more of a sim style over the years. He is always looking to do what he can to push simulation style gaming forward.