Following up on its Dynamic Gameday deep dive trailer, EA is back with some Gridiron Notes detailing its newest feature for Madden 22. The notes also touch on some core gameplay such as catching, tackling, and blocking.
Check out all of the details below.
NOTE: ALL FRANCHISE MODE INFO BELOW COMES DIRECTLY FROM EA SPORTS MADDEN 22
Madden 22 Dynamic Gameday
- Momentum mechanics, where gamers can interact with the Momentum Meter and based on their on-field performance, can activate/deactivate M-Factors by swinging momentum
- NFL Teams playing on their own home field will have unique Home Field Advantage M-Factors celebrating their stadium, fan base and history
- Both Momentum and Home Field Advantage are customized to match the specific game mode you’re playing
- The crowd will be a factor in Madden NFL 22 Gameplay
- Sideline players and staff will react to the action on the field and momentum of the game
- All-New Gameday Conditions bring unique environment-based game modifiers to each game that can either help or hinder both teams
- All brought to life with a fresh, new presentation package
Next Gen-Star Driven A.I.
- Individual AI players’ behavior is driven by real world NFL Next Gen Stats to drive unique tendencies based on their play styles
- Foundational AI core improvements have been made to make playing against the AI more challenging and rewarding, while making each game feel unique
- AI-controlled teams will play more like themselves in terms of play calling and play style so there’s more diversity in weekly matchups
- Opponents’ stats and tendencies are surfaced so you can make strategic gameplan decisions before each game starts and adjustments can be made at halftime
Madden 22 Core Gameplay Enhancements
One of the biggest areas of emphasis in Madden NFL 21 was route data, and we’ve added a bunch of new play specific routes to Madden NFL 22. In addition to more routes, receivers will be using Signature cuts and releases off the line to gain space against the press and deliver more control when turning up the field after a catch, or near the sideline, for both user-controlled and AI-controlled receivers.
For more explosive player movement, you’ll see ball carriers and defenders alike showing maximum effort in their posture when sprinting and using new animations that explode faster through starts and cuts, which was a critical piece of feedback we received from the Madden NFL community last season. You’ll feel smooth and explosive control for QBs both inside and outside the pocket, and everything in between, as we’ve added more animation content and better transitions.
There’s also some changes to ball carrier controls. Users will have a few more tools in their arsenal this year with the return of Control Moves. In Madden NFL 22, your special moves like Juke, Spin, and Deadleg will have variants based on if the move is performed while holding down RT/R2 Acceleration Burst vs. letting go of the Acceleration button. These variants are focused on making the length of the moves shorter to get you back in control quicker, as long as you’re not trying to run at top speed when starting the move. Learning how to master this skill will give you more options as the ball carrier to get creative in navigating traffic, have more control in hitting run-lanes and more variety when faking out defenders.
- Touch-Player-Down Tackles, where defenders will show the awareness of a ball carrier giving himself up or falling down without being ruled down by touching the player on the ground, or shoving back to the ground as he gets up to get the play blown dead.
- Sideline Tackles will show defenders using the sideline to their advantage by triggering specific tackling content for interactions near the boundaries.
- Early Hurdle tackles will intelligently fill animation gaps in tackling right when the ball carrier starts a hurdle and ensure that the tackle interaction that takes place looks and feels appropriate for this specific situation.
- Concurrent Gang Tackles deliver more organic animations that can dynamically include anywhere from 2-4 players, all joining into these tackles at different times.
- New and Improved Broken Tackles will have a bigger impact on the game, as we now have quick broken tackles that leave the ball carrier in control during the interaction, and a more robust system for broken dive tackles that will occur more frequently based on player matchups.
- New Tackling Momentum logic will better detect the size, speed and traits of the players involved in the matchup so that base tackle physics of both the entry and outcome will match more appropriately. You’ll see bigger backs falling forward more in tackles, while smaller, more agile backs will get thrown backwards. AI controlled players are also aware of these matchups, so you’ll see smaller AI defenders taking the legs out from underneath bigger ball carriers, and big, bruising ball carriers seeking out contact by looking for more trucks and stiff arms, and all brought to life with new momentum-specific tackling animations.
For catching controls, Madden NFL players desired more control and more organic outcomes in the passing game. To fulfill that desire, we’ve made a lot of changes to significantly decrease the frequency of multiplayer catches. There will be no more ‘RAC’ (Run After Catch) multiplayer catches, no more contextually questionable short-yardage multiplayer catches, and less slowdowns by receivers with a step or two of separation. What you will see are more single player catching scenarios where both players are independently playing the ball or seamlessly playing the receiver with catch tackles, catch knockouts, and midair collisions. Specific to midairs, we added some functionality so that the intended outcome of the interaction will be respected on any tackle that takes place during the catch so you don’t have to rely on a specific animation to play to get the correct play outcome.
We’ve also improved sideline catching by adding logic for more accurate foot detection and added brand new sideline catch animations for more variety, in both core Madden NFL and The Yard. So now when catching near the boundaries, those toe drag catches will be more accurate and efficient.
Lastly, we’ve done some tuning to improve the catch height thresholds so that big receivers will have a larger catch radius, and defenders attempting to swat the ball will have a larger range to reach the ball to knock it away.
Just like with tackling, we are using our new Momentum Logic in blocking, and you’ll first notice this in the pocket. To respect the physics of pass rushers as they fire off into the line, you’ll see all-new animation content when blockers engage defenders; when they are battling towards the QB; and when they ultimately attempt to shed the block to get past the blocker. This results in a more organic and dynamic formation of the pocket that you’ll have to be aware of as the QB. The pass rush will be flying in from all angles and gamers will need good pocket presence to step up into the pocket from time to time.
Momentum will have an impact in run blocking as well, where we’ve added new blocking animations that better respect the speed and movement direction of the defender at the time of engagement so that moments, where you feel suction or loss of control as a defender, are reduced, and even added more content where defenders are getting penetration into the backfield as part of the engagement, to better balance the run game. Lastly, on offense, blockers will give more clear running lanes for the ball carrier to cut through as we’ve added new blocking content for blocks moving more laterally and backwards, and are now able to start blocking interactions from a wider variety of angles, which reduces the number of ‘head-up’ interactions on each play.
There are a few other details we’ve added to blocking that hopefully, you’ll notice beyond momentum and physics. We’ve done work on Screen Plays so that the linemen pulling will appropriately chip the pass rusher before releasing, and made some improvements to their speed, facing angle, and targeting logic while in the open field. We’ve also added in new impact block animations and tuning so that mismatches will be better reflected, especially when using smaller defenders inside the box to defend running plays.
Lastly, AI-controlled pass rushers will now have access to ‘non-engaged’ speed rush moves on the edge to bring them to parity with user-controlled rushers from Madden NFL 21. These moves definitely bring more pressure to the pocket, and they use a match-up formula of Pass Block Finesse (PBF) vs. Finesse Move (FMV) to both determine the defender’s likelihood of attempting a speed rush as well as his chance to be successful.
Madden 22 Core Improvements
- Increased ranges for Pass Lead and Pass Trajectory
- Decreased the effectiveness of the Overtop coverage adjustment when guarding routes with cuts
- Increased Get Off speed of Blitzing Defenders so they are faster to their gaps
- New Impact Blocks that respect player Momentum, with an emphasis on bigger offensive linemen dominating smaller defensive backs inside the tackle box
- Added multiplayer Scramble Sack interactions
- Reduced match distance on blocks from the rear and back shoulder
- Retuned High Throw Mechanic to make it more effective
- Major tuning to Multiplayer Catching to reduce the frequency, but also reduce warping when they are used
- Improved Pursuit logic to decrease the frequency of Over and Under Pursuit tackles
- Improved defender reaction time when in position to play the ball vs. pass
- After the whistle, teammates will now help the ball carrier up off the ground when in position to do so
Madden 22 Playbooks
- All 32 NFL team playbooks have been updated to reflect their real-world plays up through the end of last season, with a heavy emphasis on ensuring teams with new head coaches and/or offensive coordinators match that new personnel.
- For both offense and defense, we focused on making sure play call percentages and tendencies are as accurate as possible to ensure they closely match the play calling of their real-world counterparts when controlled by the AI.
- Some Defense examples: Based on stats from last season, the Miami Dolphins will be more aggressive in blitzing, whereas the Seattle Seahawks are a team that relies heavily on playing Cover 3.
- Some Offense examples: The Baltimore Ravens ran Pistol formations more than any other team, while also being very run-heavy, which will be reflected in Madden NFL 22. The Kansas City Chiefs will primarily focus on using shotgun formations and mixing in RPOs and a vertical passing game utilizing their team speed.
- We added new formations and nearly 300 new plays, many of which are new concepts added to the game.
- New Formations:
- Gun Bunch Y-Flex (TE aligned in a tight split opposite the bunch receivers)
- Gun Empty Quads
- Gun Normal Y Off
- Gun Normal Y Off Close
- Gun Normal Y Off Wk
- Gun Open Flex Wk
- Gun Tight Y Off
- Gun Tight Y Off Wk
- Gun Wing HB Wk
- Pistol Open Flex Close
- Singleback Deuce Y-Flex (Makes a return to the game)
- Singleback Bunch X Nasty
- Strong Jumbo (Goal line look with the Fullback aligned strong in the backfield)
- Nickel 1-5-5 Double A Gap
- New Formations:
Here is a breakdown of the areas of focus to make improvements to our pass coverages:
Backpedal/Turn-and-Run Transition: We made improvements to the way defenders drop to their zone landmarks, which is the first step in getting them in position to play their assignments. Defenders will do a better job of getting to the proper depth and using the correct facing direction. This is especially helpful to our deep zone defenders in Cover 2 and Cover 3 to be in a better position to make a play on the ball against deep routes in top pass plays.
Proper Leverage: We made improvements to the way defenders leverage receivers based on the route. Once we got our defenders to the proper landmarks, the key then was for us to make sure they were able to maintain the proper leverage on receivers, especially on deeper vertical routes. These improvements will keep defenders in a better position to contest passes to their targets.
Vertical Crossing Routes: A key component of the top five pass plays is they all contain some form of vertical crossing route. A vertical crossing route is a route that starts on one side of the field and gains depth as the receiver runs to the other side of the field. The work done with backpedal transitions and leverage will put our defenders in a better position to play these routes. But we also are improving the AI here so that defenders recognize formations and route combinations better to make them more alert to potential vertical threats.
Rallying to the Flats: A significant update was made to the way our Curl-Flat and Cloud-Flat defenders are able to play crossing and drag routes as they come across the field. One issue we’ve solved is defenders were not dropping at the right angle towards their receiver, which caused them to be in a bad position once the ball was caught. Receivers were able to easily catch the ball and turn upfield for big yards. But in Madden NFL 22, defenders will do a much better job of maintaining horizontal leverage on those routes, with the intent of limiting the yards available after the catch.
Redzone Awareness: We’ve improved the logic for defenders inside the Red Zone and End Zone, especially the deeper coverage players defending routes in the back of the end zone. Previously, defenders were stopping about five yards short in the end zone, trying to rally deep, but now you’ll see them leverage the back boundary earlier in the play.
Animation Improvements: Besides all the coverage logic, there’s a variety of new animations we added to Madden NFL 22 as well. There are new Press and Chuck interactions, with improved selection criteria specific to Cover 0, Cover 1, and Cover 2 Man plays; we’ve tuned the timing of all the presses to get the receivers out of them sooner to better respect acceleration, and we’ve also done work to preserve the momentum of the receiver when entering press interactions to avoid sudden losses of speed and momentum.