We’ve covered a lot of Madden 21 deep dives including Thursday’s title update which brought new changes and tools to Franchise mode. This serious coverage is part of the reason I am so excited for Madden 21’s latest deep dive: Under the Sea. The latest addition to The Yard brings gear and game modes inspired by Spongebob and his pals to Madden 21.

Players booting up The Yard in Madden 21 will be able to play games on the SpongeBob Reef-Top. The field is patterned like a classic Spongebob title card. The Spongebob Squarepants logo adorns midfield. Every drive, the Nickelodeon blimp and a giant Spongebob balloon watch over you. The bright colors and over-the-top graphics are the latest part of Madden 21’s push to make The Yard feel like games as a service.

Players can participate in special game modes to unlock Spongebob gear. First, The Flying Dutchman’s Ghostly Grab awards extra points for long touchdowns. Second, Sandy’s Rocket Arm Rally lets QBs throw upwards of 80 yards. Finally, In the Goo Lagoon Bowl, players will move like molasses. Your reward? Back pads patterned with Patrick Star’s face. Despite the cartoon’s long standing popularity, this announcement did not thrill the Madden community.

Madden 21 SpongeBob Yard
These Spongebob trunks hit just right, in my opinion. Screenshot via the Madden NFL Twitter Account

Community Backlash

To many, EA’s announcement was disappointing. Twitter accounts, most notably sports Youtuber Urinating Tree, responded directly to the Tweet. Several threads on the front page of r/Madden are also critical of the event.

Community members are frustrated that highly requested new features are not a higher priority. To them, the Spongebob collab is yet another example of disinterest.

Even the Spongebob Facts twitter account had something to say.

In some ways, this just isn’t how game development works. Usually, the same people aren’t split between two tasks. There are people working on fixing Madden’s ailing franchise mode. There are also people working on crossover gear. It’s more likely that this event has been in the works for a few months. Especially considering that this new gear is coinciding with Nickelodeon’s first NFL Wild Card broadcast.

The fact remains, however, that fans have been waiting for improvements for a long time. Any additions to Madden 21 that aren’t at least transparent about these improvements (or lack thereof) will be upsetting to fans who are looking for a specific football experience.


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