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INTERVIEW: Clint Oldenburg Talks Lack of Stunts, Refs in Madden 22

One of the benefits to giving interviews to developers is that we get to ask for questions from the SGO Community. Often, different players have different questions that we might not have come up with. We reached out for questions about Madden 22 on Twitter and through our official Discord. Then, we posed them to Madden NFL Gameplay Producer Clint Oldenburg. In the interview, Clint Oldenburg talks about some fan-requested features that will be missing from Madden 22, and why.

One common question is about lineman moves. Specifically, defensive lineman stunts and twists. Oldenburg says it would have been very easy to make it look like a pair of defenders were performing a twist. In reality, it would be just a visual trick. Oldenburg says that the team wants to put twists and stunts in a functional manner. He admits the Madden team isn’t sure how to implement functional defensive twists in-game.

Interview with Clint Oldenburg: What Happened to Defensive Twists?

The Natural: Moving kind of back to the line, as far as d-line. Are there stunts and twists in the game, and if not, what’s kind of the struggle… to get that implemented?

Clint Oldenburg: I’m glad you brought that up. We just recorded our Making Madden podcast and I brought this up in that podcast. We wanna do it right for our players. It would be really easy for us to just tell one d-lineman to go one direction and another d-lineman to go the other direction and loop around him, and that would just be a visual treatment. We could say, “oh we checked the box, we have stunts and twists.” But that’s not what out players want. They want them functional, and to serve the purpose that they serve in the real-life NFL, and it’s just such a massive undertaking,

Honestly, we don’t even have a great design of how to pull it off, right? Because there’s… it touches blocking AI, it touches defensive AI, defensive run fits, um… and animation coverage for all of those things, and then… what happens? You know, we offer so much customization in pre-play. You can move your linemen anywhere you way, you can move your linebackers anywhere you want. What happens to a TE stunt if you stack the gap in between him with multiple linebackers? There’s a lot of things we have to figure out to make it really good. That’s not to say it’s not on our radar, and that’s not to say that a lot of people here don’t want to implement it, uh, but we want to implement it when we can do it the right way.

Where Are Madden 22’s Referees?

interview clint oldenburg

A lot of players have been missing the absence of on-field referees in modern Madden titles. Oldenburg says the team just doesn’t have the resources to make on-field refs look as good as the 22 players. He points out that referees will not be back on-field in Madden 22. However, he adds to never say never.

The Natural: As far as the referees… [laughs] this is something that I don’t have a problem with, and I kinda understand the reasons behind it, but some people are still upset or not happy that referees were removed from the game. Do you expect them to return, or what were the reasons kinda behind the referees being removed as far as on-field you seeing them, not just, you know, calling up the penalty.

Clint Oldenburg: Yeah, I can address this, I think. We removed them from on-field because they had become detractors. Based on the visual look of everything else going on in the game and the movement—really, that’s even bigger, the movement of our players—the movement of the refs and the visual fidelity of the refs was not up to par, and… it was, we couldn’t afford to give the refs the same visual quality. So we had to make the tough call of, do we want them to continue to be detractors or not? And we didn’t. So we took them out.

That’s not to say we aren’t gonna bring ‘em back. They’re still not gonna be back on the field for 22, but I think that they will be back very soon, because now that we have next-gen player movement and we’ve made some headway there, I think eventually we are gonna have the time to get those guys up to the same visual quality as everyone else on the field.


Want more of our interview with Clint Oldenburg? Check us out on Youtube to hear Oldenburg talk about catches and animations, or improvements to the offensive line. If you like the work we do here at SGO, consider supporting us by becoming an SGO Insider.

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