Madden 16 Catch-All


With OTA's in full effect, it feels like it is time to catch up on where Madden is. I personally found Madden 15 to be one of the best football games I've played in a long time. I ended up putting as much time into it as I did our NCAA Dynasties and APFB 2K8. It's not perfect, but it really was a fun game. I'm planning on getting a Madden 16 league going when it drops, as this year's game really does look to just be last year's game with some improvements, in particular to franchise play.

First Features Revealed
Battle for Air Supremacy
Total Control Passing – Place the ball where only your receiver can get it with body-relative throws including high-point, low-point, back-shoulder, and the ever-popular touch pass. Become the ultimate dual-threat and terrorize defenses with new pressure avoidance and QB scramble controls.

Receiver/Defender Controls – Dictate the outcome of each passing play while the ball is in the air for the first time ever in Madden. For receivers, go for the highlight reel with the ‘aggressive’ catch or move the chains with the ‘possession catch’. On defense, disrupt the outcome of each play using the new ‘play ball’ and ‘hit receiver’ mechanics. Receivers and defenders deliver the most authentic exchanges to date with new press and zone-chuck interactions, contextual hand-fighting, and a variety of 2-man interactions at the catch point including pass interference penalties, tip balls, knock outs and simultaneous possession catches.

Playmaker Broadcast
Integrated Broadcast Graphics – Your playmaker highlight reel has arrived with new player spotlights, dynamic goals and achievements, and innovative on-the-field cameras bringing you closer to the game than ever before. Making plays has never been this much fun and rewarding!

Game Modes
Connected Franchise – Whether playing solo or online with friends, your quest to build an NFL dynasty comes complete with a brand new scouting and draft system as well as all-new dynamic goals throughout each game. Develop players with Game Prep and build your teams’ confidence through performance and front office transactions. Balance keeping players’ confidence up, to increase abilities and build player XP.

Madden Ultimate Team – Build your ultimate team with your favorite NFL players from the past and present while dominating the opposition in head-to-head seasons, solo challenges, and more. Earn coins to buy packs through the online store, where you can trade and auction off items on the road to building the Ultimate Team. Engage with the NFL year round thanks to live content and service updates in the fastest growing mode in Madden.

Skills Trainer – With 60+ tutorials and drills, Skills Trainer focuses on teaching the strategy behind different passing and run concepts, as well as how to play Madden for new users to the series. Fan favorite Gauntlet mode returns with all-new Boss Battles, Extra Life challenges and opportunities to jump or fall levels in a single play.

Franchise Mode Improvements and Features
The Connected Franchise introduction flow has been reworked to get new players into the game faster. Getting started in Madden NFL 16 Connected Franchise has been streamlined to three easy steps.
1. Choose between Cloud and Offline. Cloud has faster week advances and gives players the ability to access their league online and invite friends. Offline still has the ability to create multiple offline characters, and saves the league locally.
2. Select your team
3. Customize your experience further or start playing immediately. Players will begin in the regular season by default, you can also begin with a Fantasy Draft, or in the preseason

Each new drive contains a Drive Goal that can be completed for bonus XP and/or Confidence.
Specific goals are tailored based on events in the current game to give players a unique challenge each and every game.
Dynamic Drive Goals truly influence the way you play. The more goals you complete, the faster your players improve.

The team listened to fan feedback and made it easier for players to see which goals have been completed in-game. This year, players will now see goal feedback throughout the mode.
XP and Confidence updates appear next to your player at the end of each play. A new ticker at the bottom of the screen tracks goal progress and shows updates to goals influenced that play.
Players will also notice new broadcast interface elements that celebrate completing goals. This adds up to a groundbreaking broadcast experience for Connected Franchise.

Weekly goals have been refactored from the ground up by implementing a new quest-like system that chains goals together week to week. These goals are assigned based on performance, position, and career status and are both team-based and individual.
For example, a “Breakout Running Back” goal may be triggered for rookie running backs that are having a great season.
As goals are completed or missed, player confidence will fluctuate. Some focus on negative stats such as fumbles and interceptions, and are tied to regression.

New goal loading screens allow players to maximize goal completion. Completing these goals during the game will give you additional XP and/or Confidence that helps players perform better on the field.

The Connected Franchise Hub is more streamlined, and players can find what they need faster than ever.
It all starts on the consolidated Things to Do screen, which brings all the information from last year’s Actions and Home to one convenient location. Players can see where they stand in the season timeline, and how far they are from the Playoffs.

One major overhaul this year is the all-new Visual Team Depth Chart, which allows players to easily see each side of the ball and make adjustments.
Your depth chart is the heart and soul of your team, which is why we brought it to the forefront with the Team Panel. Simply drag and drop players to reorder the depth chart.

Another big improvement is the new Player Card, which gives players an attribute breakdown without having to scroll left or right on a spreadsheet. This screen includes all the key position attributes for the player, and which attributes are being affected by Confidence.
Quickly perform actions such as spending XP, viewing goals, adding to trade block, and more.

Scouting has been reworked from the ground up in Madden NFL 16. Coaches and Owners will see a “Thing to Do” item in Week 3 that instructs how to Scout. The basic concept is that you’ll spend Scouting Points on a player, learn more about their abilities, and decide whether you want to select them in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Scouting Points unlock a player’s top three attributes, with the third unlock providing their true draft value. This true draft value will help teams find “Diamonds” and “Overvalued” players in the draft class.
Will you take a projected fifth-round pick with second-round skills in round two, or wait until later hoping that others don’t realize his potential? These are the types of decisions that come to life with the new true talent rating.

Players can now access Combine Reports during NFL Combine Week, which includes a Combine Grade and results from six Combine events: 40-yard Dash, Vertical Jump, Broad Jump, 3 Cone, 20-yard Shuttle, and Bench Press. These results can be seen without spending any Scouting Points.
Combine Reports not only include results, but also how players stack up compared to others at their position. Will you draft the fastest running back in the class, or look for a well-rounded player?

The Draft screen itself has received a visual overhaul, and now provides much-needed feedback right after selecting a player. You’ll immediately be able to see the player’s attributes and where he was ranked, which provides immediate feedback on whether or not you made a good pick.

New Members panels allow players to quickly interact with fellow league members in a Cloud Franchise. You can see their game status and whether they’re online.
Commissioners can toggle Auto Pilot, clear cap penalties, and remove them from the league.

League commissioners can influence wins by using the League Schedule. Sim-a-Win allows you to set the winning team for any game that has not been played.
This tool allows players to craft the season of their dreams, and also helps facilitate large multiplayer leagues.

Players voiced a desire to practice with their Franchise team, so the team went ahead and added Free Practice to Game Prep this year.
Coaches or Owners can take their team on the field to experiment by using Free Practice. When Game Prep is available during the week, Free Practice can also be used at no additional cost.
It’s is a great way to a look at how a team plays, and lets players stay ahead of the curve.

Confidence has been greatly tuned in Madden NFL 16. We’ve decreased the amount that confidence changes for every player, and also adjusted the ratings per position that can go up or down, and how confidence impacts them.
A new Game Prep activity has been added to the preseason, which allows teams to improve their low confidence before the season begins. We’ve also increased the amount of time each team has in Game Prep every week.

Small-market teams in older stadiums have more money to spend into the offseason every year.

I'm in if there is room.

There will be. I'm thinking about maybe getting in some "preseason" league play in Madden 15 this summer. My gut tells mw that gameplay wise, it wont change a lot, other than whatever the new WR/DB interaction is.

I've kind of come around to the idea of shorter games, versus the more SIM like long games I've, and others, have preferred in the past. I'd still like to try something like the MUT style games with 4 min quarters, but no accelerated clock.

I tend to get about 55-60 plays versus the 120 I normally shoot for. I think for league plays with friends, its nice to get in the shorter games, and there I still time to get plenty of game in But it I also nice that a bigger chunk of the game feels more urgent.

The key is limiting the use of "chew clock" to the fourth quarter, and maybe any time you have the ball inside your opponents 10. This seems to be sort of the unspoken rules in MUT play now.

I figure we can experiment with 15 now, if folks are interested. The game can be had now cheap, and is free with EA Access. Heck, someone can get a month of EA Access and play the game for $5.

*edit* One thing that might be fun for Madden 16 is the new Sim-a-Win, which would let the commish actually sim CPU/CPU games to give a win to the team with the worst record, which can provide an easier rather to the playoffs for everyone else.

It would be nice if EA would just let us create smaller leagues, but apparently that ship has sailed.

I havent touched 15 since before Christmas. Definitely rusty. I was doing pretty well with random pubbies, but life kind of pulled me away. Retiring, new job etc... I think 15 was one of my favorite versions as well. I'm really interested in the touch passing controls they are going to introduce in 16. Hopefully they dont introduce some horrid mechanic like the QB cone again.

So, there is quite the info dump at EA Sports about what all improvements we should see in Madden 16. It's pretty significant, and surprisingly realism-based. If all of this can be trusted (and well EA, blah, blah, blah...), Madden 16 will be a significantly different gameplay wise. That could be awesome or terrible.

Here is the first of three articles detailing the improvements.

Madden NFL 16 Gameplay #1: Air Supremacy
Madden NFL 16 is the culmination of fan feedback, and years of technological advancements.

At the top of the list was WR/DB interaction, which has been blown out into a collection of features called “Air Supremacy.”

Air Supremacy revolutionizes passing and catching on both sides of the ball with new user and AI mechanics. There is also a new multiplayer catch interaction system with more than 400 new two-player catch animations with a wide variety of outcomes.


Air Supremacy starts with the quarterback. We started from the snap, with an all-new handoff system that includes a large variety of new content and much tighter timing between handoff and blocking.

Each play type has a uniquely captured handoff specifically designed for the given play, resulting in hundreds of animations. This system also includes all new fake handoffs for the Play Action game, which ties in perfectly for the shot plays. More on those later.


The team completely re-worked QB pocket, scramble and rollout locomotion. Simply tap the RT/R2 button in the QB’s drop back, or when standing in the pocket. This allows players to “roll to pass,” and includes a completely reworked back shoulder roll out. These new mechanics work brilliantly with our boot and roll out plays.

One of the big benefits of roll out is that players don’t suffer the same accuracy penalties as “throw on the run.” The team also re-worked scramble (Hold RT/R2) to be more responsive, and allows players to toggle between pocket, rollout or scramble loco at the touch of a button. You can also branch out of any drop back instantly by tapping the LT button after the snap.

Finally, we made it a priority to ensure that all the new QB loco mechanics are utilized by the CPU AI. Expect QB’s like Marcus Mariota and Cam Newton to offer a substantial threat on the ground this year.


For many players, the most requested change for Madden NFL 16 was an overhaul to the CPU QB AI. We spent several years developing a new AI architecture called “Behavior Coordinator,” which allows us to create a more granular set of behaviors to a given situation.

This not only helps deliver the most challenging CPU QB’s to date, but also creates a clear distinction between different types of QB’s. The game you get from Tom Brady (pocket passer) is dramatically different than the behavior you will see from dual threats like Mariota or Newton. Each style of QB will now react to situations differently, based on their traits.

This new QB AI also represents improvements to Robo QB, Dink-and-Dunk offense, pressure awareness, play calling and situational game management.


One of the big additions in Madden NFL 16 is the “body relative” throw, which allows players to throw a high jump ball (like on a fade or streak route) or a low throw where only the receiver can make a play on the ball.

We have also re-worked the new touch pass (now double tap receiver icon) for easier execution of dropping the ball behind linebackers and in front of safeties.


The most revolutionary addition this year is the new catching system. Previously, players had just one option (Y/Triangle button) to catch the ball. In Madden NFL 16, there are three different catches types to choose from.

The mechanics work by HOLDING the catch button as soon as the QB makes the pass. You no longer need to hit B, as catch control is now automatic on the intended receiver. However, it’s still possible to have more control by clicking on with B and steering the receiver with the left stick.

Here is a break down each of the new catches, the risks and rewards and situational applications:


A RAC (run after catch) is a catch where the receiver turns up field during the catch with the intent to gain yards. RAC catches drive the receiver up field, to catch the ball in stride.

Players perform the RAC catch by holding X/Square once the pass is released. RAC’s have a higher drop and knockout chance, and are susceptible to interceptions when the pass is thrown into traffic.

RAC’s are primarily used when a receiver is open in space or has several steps on a DB with a vertical route.


The aggressive catch, or high-point catch, drives the receiver back to the ball to go up and catch it at the highest point possible. They can be used to fight back to the ball and challenge a defensive back going for an interception.

Players perform aggressive catches by holding the Y/Triangle button once the pass is thrown. Aggressive Catches are best utilized in combination with the high throw mechanic.

Aggressive catches have lower catch chances and higher knockout chances, but can be a formidable weapon when thrown to an elite high point receiver like Dez Bryant or Calvin Johnson.


The possession catch is where the receiver protects the ball with his body and secures the catch at the expense of looking to gain yards after the catch. Possession catches are best utilized in traffic, and can also be used to force receivers to perform “get the feet down” catches near the sideline or back of end zone.

You can perform a possession catch by holding the A/X button once the pass is thrown. They are most effective with the low throw mechanic, and when thrown to slot/possession trait receivers.

They come at the expense of RAC yards, as receivers frequently go down immediately after the catch.


Each WR has a new series of traits that determine which types of catches they look for when under AI control. This includes the RAC, Aggressive, and Possession traits. Throwing the right route to the right receiver and using catch mechanics linked to traits is a critical strategic component in Madden NFL 16.


The Multiplayer Catch System is based on technology in development for more than two years, and allows receivers and defenders to go up for a catch simultaneously and battle for the ball in the air while using ratings, mechanics and positioning to deliver the appropriate outcome

The team added more than 400 new multiplayer catch outcomes, which includes knockouts, tip ball, simultaneous possession catches, offensive/defensive PI, interceptions and more.

The system also account for double coverage situations. We have spent countless hours tuning and balancing this system extensively to ensure players cannot exploit the system.


The team also added hundreds of new receiver/defender interaction animations, including new press interactions, zone chuck interactions and hand fighting during route running.

This includes a complete overhaul to our defensive pre-play alignment system, as defenders now align to the inside or outside of the receiver based on the coverage and where they want to force them.


Working in concert with Madden NFL 16’s Air Supremacy theme, we met with legendary coach Tom Moore to work on a new addition to our playbooks, authentic NFL “Shot Plays.”

In the real world, a shot play is primarily play-action based and usually keeps backs and tight ends in to block, while receivers go deep.

We have added more than 100 new shot plays (600 new plays overall), including team-specific shot plays in each team playbook.


Building off the success of Madden NFL 15’s pass rush and tackling feedback, the team created a new feedback system around passing and catching.

Pass feedback tells players if the pass was under pressure, on the run, or off the back foot in order to provide context as to why the pass came out the way it did.

Once the pass has been released, the catch UI displays the catch that the AI is looking for. The user can override this choice at any time by tapping or holding down one of the three catch buttons.

Finally, after the catch is made, we will display the type of catch the receiver performed.


The passing game isn’t the only thing that got love. We added two mechanics to help move through the line as a ball carrier. The first is “get skinny” (hold RB) when running through the line, as well as context sensitive ‘cut step’ juke (LS left/right) performed behind the LOS to cut off blocks.

Ball Carrier AI has been completely overhauled with new “hit the hole logic,” resulting in a real and tangible running game from the CPU. Ball carrier locomotion and True Step have also been revisited to ensure responsive controls that are still grounded in the realm of authenticity.

Contextual Awareness has been revisited with several new animations and much tighter registration with other players

New extra point rules are in! After scoring a TD, players can kick the PAT from the 15-yard line, or attempt the two-point conversion from the 2. The new rules also allow the defense to score two points on returns. Penalties are fully supported on these plays, so teams can change their decision if a penalty occurs.

Here is the second article, about defense.

Madden NFL 16 Gameplay #2: Defense

We’ve touched on all the improvements made to the passing game with all-new Air Supremacy, so it’s time to show the defense some love.

Here are some of the improvements made to the defensive side of the ball in Madden NFL 16.


Play Ball (Ball Hawk) is back and has been heavily revised to ensure the most aggressive path possible to the ball. As with past years, the user plays the ball by holding the Y/Triangle button as soon as the pass is released.

Play Ball is the best way to challenge the receiver for the catch, but comes at the risk of triggering a catch animation behind the receiver and giving up a big play.


New this year is the Play Receiver DB mechanic. Hold the A/X button once the pass is thrown to play the receiver. This drives you towards the receiver as opposed to driving you to a catch point.

Hit receiver can be used to dislodge the ball during the catch, but comes at the expense of not being able to trigger interceptions.


Forget everything you remember about Pro-Tak. Madden NFL 16 delivers the most dramatic tackles in franchise history with a fully organic, physics-based gang tackling system. We now have fully realized momentum-based organic interactions on tackles that support a limitless number of defenders attaching to the ball carrier.

The system is complemented by new dynamic gang tackle animations that can “go organic” based on additional defenders in proximity.

We also worked on the stat-tracking side – Assisted Tackles and Half-sacks are now being tracked appropriately in the stats screen. It all adds up to the most authentic tackles ever seen in Madden NFL. Gang tackling is back!


While most players raved about the changes to tackling in Madden NFL 15, some users complained about feeling too much “suction” in the conservative tackle system. The team took this feedback to heart and tuned both the tackle cone and match distance to eliminate warping (or suction) from the tackling system without sacrificing control or responsiveness.

Aggressive tackles were also improved so that defenders always dive towards the ball carrier instead of just at his facing direction.


Defensive quick adjustments give users the ability to adjust any of their defenders on the field without having to manually switch to the defender. Simply select the group (DL, LB, DB), choose individual adjustment, select the defender and set the assignment.

This addresses a long-standing legacy issue that put the defense at a disadvantage when it came to pre-play adjustments.


Madden NFL 16 also includes a few key defensive improvements demanded by the community. A few of the highlights include:

* QB Spy logic has been updated to be more effective at stopping rushing QB’s
* Contain Defenses and logic have been improved to help counter the new rollout and scramble mechanics
* New mechanic where users can now make their defenders in spy assignment abandon the spy and chase the QB at any point in the play. This is done by clicking in R3 once he ball has been snapped.
* Resolved an issue where users would not have time to audible to onside kick recovery when their opponents caught them in normal return vs. onside kick.
* The offense can no longer use no huddle to consistently cause AI defenders to be called offsides.

Finally, this is the third article explaining the gameplay improvements.

Madden NFL 16 Gameplay #3: AI Improvements and Penalties


Our hardcore simulation fans have been demanding realistic penalties for years. The team finally made this a point of emphasis in Madden NFL 16, and penalties will play a bigger factor than ever before.

In addition to several new penalties being added, we have updated all pre-existing penalties and built a system to control penalty frequency.

Every player is assigned a Penalty trait based on real-world NFL data, which determines how likely they are to commit a penalty; an undisciplined player has a far greater chance of committing a penalty than a disciplined player.

Players’ in-game strategy has an impact on penalties as well. For example, pressing cornerbacks are more likely to commit a defensive holding penalty, while goalline and max protect calls make offensive holding penalties more likely. Mistiming the “Off the Line” mechanic can easily draw a neutral zone infraction or encroachment penalty.

Finally, all penalty sliders have been updated to allow players to fully customize the experience to their liking. The Default slider setting is based on NFL penalty averages over the last five seasons to make both penalty type and frequency as authentic as possible.

The list of new and updated penalties includes:

Encroachment, False Start, Offensive Holding, Facemask, Defensive Pass Interference, Illegal Block in the Back, Neutral Zone Infraction, Defensive Holding, Illegal Forward Pass, Illegal Touching, Delay of Game, Kick Catch Interference Running into the Kicker, Unnecessary Roughness and Roughing the Passer.


As the Madden NFL franchise moves forward with its “Player Sense” theme, one of the biggest detractors was a lack of true head tracking for all players across all situations.

Madden NFL 16 includes added logic for QBs, RBs, WRs and defenders so that each head and eye track (the ball and players around them) uniquely based on their position.

Quarterbacks will scan the field for open receivers, ball carriers will alternate their gaze between incoming defenders, and players will track other players around them after the play. You may even see players looking up at the scoreboard on a breakaway run.


The quality of player motion has been a primary point of emphasis for the Madden NFL team for several years now. This year, we made huge strides in pre, post and during play motion quality. This touches several major systems like huddle break, walk to line, pile get up logic, pile avoidance, post play path finding and more. When it comes to in-game animation quality improvements, the list is endless.

Players can expect a dramatic reduction in pops, warps, slides, and other issues in Madden NFL 16. This will continue to be a focal point for us as we strive towards our goal of animation quality.


In addition to all the new features being added, the team continue to address the feedback and concerns of our community.

A number of legacy issues have been addressed in Madden NFL 16, mostly around exploited mechanics or solidifying features meant to counter those exploits. Here are some highlights:

* QB Spy logic updated (QB swerves the spy exploit)
* Flip the Play to speed up huddle break issue has been addressed
* Out of position subs causing exploitable routes has been addressed
* Rocket Catching / Mossing / DB Glitches have been significantly reduced and/or eliminated
* A large percentage of the known “nano-blitzes” have been removed
* The PA End Around exploit play has been addressed.
* Route swapping exploits have also been resolved.
* A variety of ‘money plays’ have been revised or altered.
* Resolved the friendly quit glitch for Madden NFL 16

Who knows if all of this stuff will work as claimed, or if these even constitute improvements. But as a collection (all three articles were posted at 2pm yesterday) it's pretty obvious EA is at least trying to make the game more realistic. E3 concentrated less on gameplay, and more on modes like MUT and the new Draft Champions Mode, which I think looks kind of awesome. All of this would have made for a boring segment to most of the folks watching EA's presser, but for anyone wanting a sim type of football game, I think this begs for at least an honest look at how the game plays.

Whelp, you beat me to it. I was getting ready to post all of those updates as well. It could be one of the best updates to Madden in a long time. I also saw that EA has received an extension to their exclusivity which will likely kill all enthusiasm for Joe Montana Football.

SpyNavy wrote:

Whelp, you beat me to it. I was getting ready to post all of those updates as well. It could be one of the best updates to Madden in a long time. I also saw that EA has received an extension to their exclusivity which will likely kill all enthusiasm for Joe Montana Football.

Oh, you don't even know...

And yeah, I think Madden 15 was a great base of a game for them to build off. All of those improvements were things that the game needed, but it was still fun to play. I just don't feel like With Madden 25 and earlier, they had the same kind of base to work off of.

I may be completely wrong, but it's how feel about where the series is.

I will say, though, that every time I really like a sports game, I kind of dread what gets broken when they try to improve the game. Rarely do my favorite versions get improved upon, and often I'm feeling let down.

I very much enjoyed M15, probably my favorite of the series to date. I will be a day one Early Access and then purchaser for M16. I'm looking forward to the changes they have said they are implementing. If they have truly removed the glitches I will be doing the Snoopy Happy dance as that was continually frustrating year to year. Maybe someday we will see a college football game again with these new mechanics and then I can die a happy man.

Here is some off-screen footage of Madden 16.

I saw that they added 600 new plays to include a new fake field goal play.

That's a nice list, we'll see how much they live up to it.

Watching that video reminded me of a couple of things that annoy me. Hot routing receivers should really be limited. It's very obnoxious the way a player will come to the line and flurry-of-button-presses hot route every back and receiver on the field faster than an actual QB could even yell at one of them. Same with defense, and that's part of where a lot of the nano blitz exploiting comes from. Sometimes constraint is a good thing.

*Legion* wrote:

That's a nice list, we'll see how much they live up to it.

Watching that video reminded me of a couple of things that annoy me. Hot routing receivers should really be limited. It's very obnoxious the way a player will come to the line and flurry-of-button-presses hot route every back and receiver on the field faster than an actual QB could even yell at one of them. Same with defense, and that's part of where a lot of the nano blitz exploiting comes from. Sometimes constraint is a good thing.

I agree completely. I think in general, on defense, if you at least avoid physically moving players before the snap, you can avoid the nano blitz stuff. Personally, I never hot route receivers. I will audible to a different play or change my protection, but I tend to just go with the routes as they were drawn up.

This works perfectly in solo games and leagues with friends where folks can agree on house rules. This fail completely in any online play versus randoms.

I dont move defenders, but I do love hot routed receivers (I typically only hot route one) and hot routing defenders to either blitz, spy or drop into zone. This probably comes from playing so much pubbie games, but given some of the crap AI at times (especially zone defenders) that you had to either reblitz or rezone for the defensive play to actually work. Unfortunately, many of the Madden offensive plays seem to always have a throwaway route that is pointless so hot routes actually make that player viable again. That being said - I've enjoyed house rule leagues that limit moving defenders and certain defensive/offensive adjustments. Plus, I just dont have the finger dexterity to make all those adjustments before the play clock expires :).

Ok so Madden is due out in a few weeks. I can't believe we arent going to have a league, especially since there wont be a college game again this year. Arise thread, arise. Let's get a league together.

I'm game.

I've been a big fan of the Ultimate Team modes EA has been doing, but there is a decent downside to that. They do have elements of "pay to win" and are designed to extract cash from your pocket.

The answer to this is the new Draft Champions Mode. This may be my new jam in Madden. It has the elements of building a team that I liked in APFB 2K8, but with some of the elements of MUT, but without the microtansactions.

I think this could be a fantastic way for many of us to play if we can't find the numbers for a proper season. I think it looks like pure fun. I think even Legion would approve. I can't gaunt him the gameplay, but here is a mode that loses the "realism" of franchise, but turns building a team into a fun strategy game itself.

From EA:


Having identified the challenges, we asked ourselves “What is the core fun of Fantasy Football that will work for Madden?” It is pretty obvious: Making the pick. Choosing the player that is going to carry your team. Draft night is the best part of Fantasy Football. The goal of Draft Champions was giving players draft night over and over again.

Draft Champions adds to the Fantasy Football experience by paying off draft night immediately. As soon as the draft is over, players can take the new squad onto the field. The result? A very tight draft experience that distills the best parts of Fantasy Football, and combining it with an exciting Madden event that can be completed in an evening.

Anyone who gets through a head-to -head gauntlet will truly be worthy of the title “Draft Champion.”


The team had four goals with the creation of Madden NFL 16 Draft Champions: Always on the Clock. Every Pick Matters. Keep it Tight. Replayable.

Draft Champions begins by picking from one of three coaches, which helps ensures each draft will be different and the pace remains high. Coaches determine a team’s offensive and defensive playbooks, and also defines two default “Styles,” typically one offensive and one defensive. Your team’s uniform is determined by your favorite team. Simply update the team choice to change uniforms.

A base team is then generated, which is playable but relatively low-rated. There is a group of players that are available for base team rosters.

While OVR ratings are similar, there will be some variety in the types of players that show up. Over time, Draft Champion players realize which players should stay, and which should be upgraded.


Now comes the heart of the experience, drafting players to upgrade your team. Players have the choice of three players in each round, and with a limited number of rounds, each pick matters.

Every draft will be different; there may be a number of highly-rated wide receivers and half backs in one draft, and a number of safeties or linebackers in another. Every pick will be an upgrade over the base team, and Draft Champions will give players tough decisions in every round.

Unlike a typical draft, the quality of players to choose from rises and falls from round to round. One draft may create a defensive juggernaut, while another could create a power running game behind a dominant offensive line.

Let’s look at a couple sample rounds:

1. Which position is most important to me right now, CB, SS or TE?

2. Do I go for depth at WR or strengthen my line?

3. Which legend do I want to focus my team around?

4. Do I go for the higher rated player, or take a player to help my style rating?

A typical draft consists of 15 player rounds; the limited number of rounds mean that you are always on the clock and every pick is crucial. Experienced players will be able to move through the draft quickly, but Draft Champions includes tools to take a deeper look at players before making a selection.

The limited number of rounds and players per round also mean that every draft will be different. Players competing in Draft Champions can play repeatedly without ever building and/or facing the same team.


After the draft, it’s time to take the new squad onto the field. Choosing a Solo Draft gives players up to three games against AI opponents. With each victory, the quality of the competition will increase until the championship game in the brand new Draft Champions Stadium.

Players looking for a real challenge can jump into a Head-to-Head draft. While drafts happen independently, taking on the best players in Madden NFL 16 will provide the ultimate test for your drafting skills. Win four games in a row to become a true Draft Champion!

The number of games in each event are relatively low in order to preserve the “Madden Fantasy in a Night” feel for Draft Champions. Even if you get knocked out, you get to jump right back in and draft another team.

We couldn’t be more excited to get Draft Champions into your hands to see how we answered the question, “What does Madden do with Fantasy Football?”

Your Draft. Your Team. Your Championship.

I already have a hard enough time finding 40min to play a single game on 5min quarters. How long does, "Play Madden in a night" like they're talking about take?

That highly personal concern aside, this looks like a really neat way to do things. I especially like it for casual Madden players but hardcore NFL fans. Would probably go over well at pre game tailgates.

Top_Shelf wrote:

I already have a hard enough time finding 40min to play a single game on 5min quarters. How long does, "Play Madden in a night" like they're talking about take?

That highly personal concern aside, this looks like a really neat way to do things. I especially like it for casual Madden players but hardcore NFL fans. Would probably go over well at pre game tailgates.

Agreed, sounds fun, but not sure I have that kind of time to commit. I'll certainly dabble with this, but my 17 year old will be all over this. He loves building franchises from the ground up. He's definitely front office material, I'm more the strength and conditioning coach.

I don't think you will need to play all four games one after the other. At least the way MUT works is that you can play your season games whenever, taking weeks or months in between. When tou play the game just finds you an opponent from the people playing at the time.

My real curiosity is if you can play head-to-head with a friend, each of you going through the draft process before starting games. It seems like an awesome way to play even teams, but still have them represent what you want in a roster.

Is early access going to start this weekend through EA Access?

Nevermind apparently it's out now.

I'll just leave this here...

tanstaafl wrote:

I'll just leave this here...

I'm so confused.

If you saw the vast number of times this video has been shared by people all over the internet in various forums, I don't thin you would be confused. It's pretty much whether did last year, too. Honestly, I found last year's to be funnier and more of a spectacle.

That said, from some very brief time with the Early Access game, I like it a lot. Hopefully we can get a mass of folks playing this year like we used to have with NCAA. I thought last year's was excellent, but so far, it looks like they did the rare thing in sports games and just made improvements without sacrificing what was good about the previous entry.

I wish NCAA was still a thing, but in many, many ways, this is the NFL game we always wanted.

Yeah its pretty good so far. Still seeing some magic linebacker play,but overall they did a good job.

It's pretty clear that Draft Champions is designed to lure folks over to MUT. All of the rewards you get for winning are used in MUT. Plus the short quarters and All-Star teams in pro uniforms (Tom Brady in a Jets uniform was actually kind of hilarious) is what you get in MUT. It's not sim, but it is a fun, strategic experience.

One thing I can say for MUT this year is that they really increased and improved the solo play experience even more. If you are patient and don't require a team of stars to have fun, there is a ton of fun to be had.

Right now, my team, The Phog, is has a 73 OVR, and bank of about 9K Gold to spend, and just a couple of guys to try and build around. My HB is 84 OVR Reggie Bush, who is the true definition of a poor man's Jamal Charles. My QB is 69 OVR Drew Stanton, so I need to lean on Bush. But my OL is a gaggle of 60+ OVR guards and tackles with a lucky draw of an 88 OVR center as an anchor. I probably need to sell him for a speedy guard that can pull in front of Bush, or sell Bush for a HB that can run up the middle. Right now my team is based on Speed Run, but I also have a lot of Short Pass guys. Eventually I will have to start concentrating on one of the other. My defense is mostly a mess.

Last year I was a Ground and Pound and Run Stuff team with a 93 OVR. I did spend on packs from time to time, when EA put certain premium packs on sale. I still spent more than I wish I had, and I got was a team that got creamed in the 4th level instead of the 2nd or 3rd. All you get by "spending to win" is a team that plays others spend to win teams. Honestly, it's more interesting and fun to play the high 70s, low 80s OVR teams with your own high 70s, low 80s OVR team. That's where you work to protect your weaknesses and exploit those of your opponents.

The key here is patience. I'm plugging way at the solo challenges and saving my Gold, and slowly opening reward packs to add players. The other key concept to be mindful of, and this really relates to patience, is that you will have to consume contracts at a rate of 24 a game, I believe. Right now, I have 90 in contracts in my bank. Most of my guys still have 13-15 contracts left, so I still have time to earn more. You can spend Gold to buy contracts, but if you splurge in the auctions, you may have to spend cash, although they are much cheaper than packs, and feel much less like paying to win.

I'm down to just 4 hours left (I played to 4:30 am last night because I'm an idiot), so I plan to spend that time in Play Now or CFM and wait for the full game to continue Draft Champions and MUT.

I never really got into MUT, but it definitely has its hooks into lots of folks.

Just wrapped up my 10 hours of early access. The game is a significant upgrade over Madden 15, which I liked a lot. And they were able to do this without breaking other parts of the game.

I have to wait for midnight to lay now. This makes me sad.

Who's in for XB1?

If only I had an XB1, I would be all over this, loved playing Madden with GWJ lot back in the day, even if I was the token Brit who got beat in every game.