As part of our continuous coverage of what we think would be the best content possible in a game that could use a few ideas, we wanted to cover more things on our Madden 17 wishlist. This time around, we’re dedicating time to completely new features such as an opponent scouting system and a possible practice still feature, among other things.
Scouting an Opponent
What would be nice would be to open Madden and receive an immediate on-screen “Scouting Report,” if you will, of your upcoming opponent. This report should include that opponent’s play styles, common situational play calls, possible personnel mismatches or exploits, and overviews of their behavior in key plays. There are a variety of tidbits the game could tell you right off the bat, such as if they prefer to run or pass the ball or if they have a more aggressive, blitz-happy defensive style. This information would be determined through their plays. Therefore, your plays and practice would have to adapt to different styles.
Right now, many of these pieces of information can be uncovered or inferred by digging around the game’s menus. Sure, I could look at my opponent’s depth chart to see if their QB is mobile or if they have any particularly dangerous star players. In previous versions of the game, I could even look up the play-calling strategy for any given CPU team; though, I think this feature isn’t available anymore since the play-calling strategy for 16 is cloud-based and not locally accessible.
I could dig through game and season stats and box scores to see who their preferred receivers and sack leaders are. But I shouldn’t have to. It could be streamlined and more intuitive because that’s what should be on my mind. Tabulating little but important information is a great place to start.
CFM Online Resume
In Madden’s offline mode you have the ability to resume an unfinished game. While I”m sure there are technical reasons why this exact feature is not available for online play I don’t see why something similar could not be implemented in the future. After each quarter locally or on the servers the time remaining, down, distance and score should be saved. So if a game is ever disconnected you would be presented with a RESUME option that would simply take this automatically saved data, recreate the scenario and reconnect both players. This would avoid players having to start every disconnected game completely over.
An intriguing (and under-utilized) feature of the play-calling screen is a small widget in the corner that shows the previous play including both the offensive and defensive play calls. The outcome and average success rate of that play are displayed based on global user stats. This is actually a really useful piece of information to have, and it’s available on every play! The game’s “Highlights” menu in the pause screen also includes a list of every play that’s been run, including replays for some of those plays. The downside is that none of this gets saved or recorded for your review later. Every play of a game is logged, so why not save this log for review in the next week’s “Game Prep”?
These elements could be expanded. This information could be saved and recorded to a log. During the game prep for the following week, you could then review your plays from the previous game. Madden could even combine the results of repeated play calls to show you the average, best and worst outcomes alongside the respective play calls by the opponent. This would be an effective simulation of watching “game film”. You can look at your plays that went well; examine why they were successful; and you could look at your plays that went poorly and examine why they failed. Then, it would be a matter of if those plays are worth keeping in your playbook.
If saving every play isn’t feasible for technical reasons or whatever, then EA could alternatively provide an option for the user to tag a specific play for film review. This could include reviewing an interception to find out what mistake you made while reading the defense, or a failed blitz that left a huge hole for the opposing running back. You can review what play you called, what play the opponent called, how you were so open and be better able to recognize a similar opportunity in the future.
Previous versions of Madden actually had drills and workouts that improved only
specific sets of skills, but this could be improved. An alternative could be for such drills to provide temporary boosts to the relevant skills.
Using the tackling drill, for example, would provide general experience that can be used for any attribute, but would also provide +1 to the player’s tackling skill for some duration. This duration could be as short as one day or it could last for several weeks. Getting a higher rank in the drill could perhaps increase that boost or lengthen the amount of weeks that the bonus applies, and more drills would provide different bonuses. You could also drill to level up certain attributes faster through experience boosts.
These are just a few ideas was to what we could expect to see in an ever-evolving franchise that is still filled with potential. Advancements such as these could make the game great even if it does take a few development cycles to implement. Be sure to stay tuned for part 2 of our Madden 17 New Features Wish List here at SGO.