Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Madden 2010 - Preview Week 1

by: Ryan Romano

Hey guys, below is the first guest post from regular commenter Ryan. Since Madden has become such a huge part of the NFL season (like it or not), I asked Ryan to contribute a weekly preview article focusing on the new game and, in coming weeks, focusing on how the Seahawks can be expected to perform given the new game and the new roster. Enjoy!

What’s up my fellow Addicts? You have probably seen me around the SA site posting about Madden from time to time. Chris has been nice enough to let me do a few actual Madden posts as a guest writer for SA. I am guessing so I will stop hijacking his real life Seahawks topics. Where to begin as so much information has already been released since January?

There have been three big announcements so far this year regarding new additions to the game:

  • ProTak Interactive Physics System
  • Full Online Franchise
  • Procedural Awareness
These three, more than any other new additions to the game, will alter Madden game play. Click on to

The new ProTak system is basically a new way for the computer to generate realistic looking tackles. In Madden 09 you could tackle a running back with one to three players at a time. In Madden 10 you will be able to tackle someone with up to 9 players on a given play. You will have the ability to “steer” your tackle meaning you will be able to direct the player you are tackling toward a teammate so that he can help you make the tackle. You will also be able to hit stick a ball carrier after he is engaged with a defender, causing more fumbles. Not having played the game it is tough to tell which teams this will benefit most. I would guess that smaller faster defenses would have an advantage in getting numbers to the ball carrier quickly. Hopefully this translates well for the Seahawks defense which has been known for being undersized and fast. ProTak is the system for implementing a “fight for every yard” type football game. Running backs will be able to fight for extra yards when being solo tackled. Defenses will be able to force a player backwards till the whistle which happens all the time in real games.

Full Online Franchise was another big announcement that was released at the last E3 convention. This will allow gamers to play in 32 team full season leagues. Most have described it as similar to NCAA’s version of online franchise. There are enough options in this mode to take an entire blog post, but here are a few of the features. There can be up to 32 players in the league. You can start the league with existing teams or do a 53 round fantasy draft. The leagues go for 10 seasons. I can’t imagine a situation that would call for more as 10 seasons at 16 games a season is 160 games. The leagues I play in now usually get to about game 3 or 4 before falling apart. Leagues operate on the real schedule for next year. I will post more on Online Franchise later in the summer.

The procedural awareness updates the Madden 10 team have been working on should help the game become more realistic and give the team great base programs to build on in the future. Here is an example of what procedural awareness is trying to improve. Have you ever thrown a pass to what seems like a wide open WR, when out of nowhere a CB that had his head turned the other way, some how sees the ball through the back of his helmet, turns around in .02 seconds and picks the ball off? Me too. It is enough to make a guy go through countless broken controllers, numerous claims to never play the game again, and a generally bad feeling of getting screwed.

This is what the Madden 10 team means when they announced improvements to the player’s procedural awareness. They are improving the little things that make the game more realistic. Examples include improvements to QB play such as new QB short, mid, and deep pass accuracy ratings, slower pass speed so passes take longer to get to the WR, and a decreased effectiveness of the QB sneak. (Anyone else hate losing on a QB sneak that is basically unstoppable?) The deep ball was never a big part of the game plan when playing with Hass before, but with his low deep accuracy rating, think twice before you throw deep. True to form, the WCO short controlled passing game will be the key to winning with the Seahawks in Madden10. Our 32nd ranked running back core might play into that as well.

On the WR side of things, players will now be more aware of the side line and be more apt to drag their feet to stay inbounds. Route running has also undergone some renovation along with changes to the WR CB interaction. There have also been some improvements to the offensive and defensive line. The creation of a pocket is one of the things I am looking forward to most. Good players in the 09 game routinely roll out of the pocket to allow routes to develop and WR’s to get open. The creation of a pocket should limit player’s ability to routinely roll out.

Player momentum is a feature that should change the way running backs operate in the game. The new game will take a players speed and mass/weight into account when playing the game. I don’t even want to know what that calculation looks like, but I am sure it is complicated. Don’t let players like Brandon Jacobs get a head of steam; bigger players will be tough to tackle once they get going.

I don’t think it falls under procedural awareness but the Madden team also adjusted the finesse move/power move in Madden 10. Instead of having two buttons, one for each move, there will now be only one button for a defensive juke move. The computer will automatically pick the move that your player is best at. So when you’re rushing the QB with Curry, he will automatically do a finesse move because he has a rating of 85 fin, 76 power. Kerney on the other hand will do power moves because he has a 90 power, 79 fin.

There are a few other button changes and hopefully we will have time to go over them before the game comes out Aug 14. You can actually play the game before that by pre ordering your game at Game Stop. You then use an access code on the receipt to play a one game demo. The demo is available in late July. It is a recreation of a game we all want to forget about, SB XLIII. If you can deal with playing with one of those two teams, you can play Madden 10 a few weeks before the game comes out.