During E3 this year, EA held their own event called EA Play, where they showcased a number of their own titles including sports games and core games. Madden 17 had a huge presence, and we were able to grab an interview with Madden 17 Creative Director Rex Dickson.
The interview was broken down into a total of 3 videos, each with a different topic. To start, we asked about some of the challenges the team faced when redesigning some of the mechanics going from Madden 16 to Madden 17. That led to a discussion on balance, where Dickson spoke about how they’re improving the game this year to allow for more realistic and fair gameplay.
“We’ve known we wanted to get to gaps, zones, and special teams for quite some time. The implementation is a bit of a different story … What took the most time was getting the feel right and balancing it. As you know from last year, even one feature like the aggressive catch can become slightly unbalanced and become the narrative of the whole year, so we want to avoid that.”
Speaking on the aggressive catch, Dickson admits that the aggressive catch was not balanced as well as it could have been. This year, he says that there will be a lot more focus on making sure everything is balanced.
“I’ll own my own mistakes when I make them, and I think the way that was tuned was a bit too offensive, and you saw the impact of that. So this year, a lot more focus [is] on making sure that everything is balanced and one thing isn’t overtuned or too powerful.”
For the second part of the interview which you can see below, we asked Dickson about CFM and the new commentary, an aspect which he says is his favorite improvement in Madden 17.
When asked what additions to CFM fans of the franchise will be happy to see in Madden 17, Dickson says a lot has changed, and that’s something fans will be excited about.
“It feels like when you go in there, almost everything [has been] touched … for me, not one big thing jumps out as being changed, everywhere you go in [CFM] things are easier, they flow better, it’s easier to manage, it’s not [as much of a grind], there’s a lot of new content.”
Interestingly, the new commentary will also be noticeable in CFM. Dickson explains, “We have this concept called presentation that focuses on you, so if you’re playing as a coach or a player you’re going to hear more lines that are referenced, decisions you made, stories about your character and the stats you have.” CFM will also receive commentary updates post-launch.
Lastly, for the final piece of the interview, we asked Dickson about the impact on eSports now that Madden has become a big player in that scene.
“I’d love it if next year we saw that people couldn’t run the same concepts over and over. That people couldn’t rely on the aggressive catch mechanic to win in desperation situations. That stuff isn’t on the competitors, they’re playing for $50,000, they’ll use whatever tools are available to them. Those outcomes are kind of on the dev team.”
That clearly plays into the idea of balance, and it’s part of the reason why the team wanted to focus on balance with Madden 17. Madden is never perfect, but the developers behind the franchise are always working to ensure that it’s as good as it can be.
Of course, this article doesn’t include all of the talking points in the videos. If you want to check out the full interview, I recommend watching the videos above. It’s definitely worth it if you want to know more about Madden 17. For more Madden videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and be sure to stay tuned to SGO for more Madden news.