Madden 17: EA Play Breakdown – E3 2016


EA kicked off 2016’s E3 week with its new EA Play event and sports games played a major part of the conference. Madden and Fifa 17 scored much of the presenters’ time and for good reason. Both franchises are two of Electronic Arts’ biggest money makers. Madden has had its ups and downs over the years, but Madden 16 overcame great strides with new modes like Draft Champions and gameplay changes with juke moves – all of this taking advantage of the brand new Frostbite engine. Here’s the full breakdown of all of the modes and features within Madden 17 that we know so far.

Franchise Mode

Play The Moment

EA is starting to understand that players want to play more competitively within the Madden series. They also get that some players just want to play big moments in game. The beloved Connected Franchise mode will now feature an option to play only select moments within the season. This feature shows up in Ultimate Team and in the solo mode when thrown into certain situations on defense or offense. For instance, a player can experience situations like an opening drive, some key third down plays, or a pivotal red zone 4th quarter comeback drives.

  • A full game using this option should take 15 to 20 minutes.
    Users can choose different feed styles for the plays that are simmed. “Quick” takes you to directly to the next user-controlled play, “normal” shows more play-by-play, and the third option is for real-time.
  • There are options to play offense or defense only.
  • The simmed plays will be geared toward a 120-play count in terms of tabulating stats, etc. This is regardless of the length of your quarters.

Simulation Speed & Super Sim

  • There are three different options this time around in Madden 17 while the actual game is looking for the next key moment. In default, players will be able to use it during the play by play option.
  • There will be lines drawn on the field with a quick recap of each play as it’s being simulated. You can also jump to the next moment very quickly by selecting the fast option. The next option, which was voted on by the community, will let players slow down the game so players can watch each play on the field in live action using broadcast camera.

Super Sim

  • Super Sim engine is the backbone of this feature so we’ve adjusted it to take into account the quarter length you choose.  It doesn’t matter if you play using 6-minute or 12-minute quarters; the engine will balance itself to try and get close to the 120 play per game NFL average.  This change will help ensure Play the Moment games have very similar score and stats when compared to the other Franchise games around the league.  Since we’re talking about Super Sim, you’ll still be able to jump to the next play, next possession, next quarter, or to the end of game like you could in last year’s game.


  • The last tier of events is simply called EA Major Events and are major events run “on a global scale,” featuring the top players of each game. This feature will replace the Madden Gameprep feature, but it will still retain some of the same elements.
  • The computer analyzes what the upcoming opponent does and does not do well, and gives you a gameplan with drills to counter that.
  • Perform well in a gameplan drill (like cover 2, for instance) and your players will get a boost when you call cover 2 plays that week. Plays that are a part of that week’s gameplan will be highlighted during playcalling.
  • If you get a gold medal in a drill, you can sim that drill going forward and get the boost so you don’t have to repeat it.
  •  There are situational gameplans such as working on your red zone defense.
  •  You can practice a gameplan simply to boost players you want rather than scheme against an opponent.
  • There are more drills in skills trainer and they will earn XP for all players at that position.
  • Free practice is still included.
  • You can choose three players to undergo focus training, which is not drills-based. The three you pick are saved and remembered from week to week. Even if you don’t use focus training, players will still earn XP.
  • Confidence is no longer a part of the weekly training. It’s now tied more to the team’s overall win/loss record. Individual game time confidence modifiers still exist, but they’re not as big of a deal this year.
  • Drive goals are less granular and are more based on that player’s career or season milestones. However, drive goals’ context should be more appropriate this year.
  • Coaches’ XP packages are now tied to overall position groups (like offensive line) than specific positions (like guards, centers, etc.). Big-name coaches will start with fewer packages this year.

Practice Squads

Madden fans have been asking for these for years. The practice squad is a separate part of the roster where teams stash developmental players. They can be signed to the team’s active roster, but the catch is that any team can sign another team’s practice squad players to their active roster. It will be interesting to see how aware the CPU is of how practice squad players are developing and how active they are in poaching talent.

  • Players are put onto the 10-man squad before the regular season.
  • Practice squad players develop through regular week-to-week training and can be chosen for focus training (see above).
  • They appear in your normal depth chart screen and you can filter to see the practice squad of other teams.
  • Players eligible for the practice squad will be designated as such in the free agent screen. 

Big Decisions

The developer says it wants to highlight and streamline some of the decisions you make about your team. While this could mean a variety of things, one of the examples of Madden 17’s so-called Big Decisions is injuries. In years past, you could make a real-time decision whether you wanted a just-injured player to return to the lineup or not. Now that decision will become amplified.

  • Players can be brought off of injury lists sooner than expected.
  • If you decide to play them early, they have a greater chance of being re-injured. If that happens they will be out for even longer.
  • Injuries are related to your practice squad in that a depleted roster could force you to sign from your or another team’s practice squad.

In-Game Boost

• At the beginning of each game players will get a notification for active boost from gameplan screen.

• For example, if you choose the Vertical Passing offensive gameplan, then your players will have ratings impacted any time you call a Vertical pass play during that week’s game.  It’s the same for defense.  If you choose the Cover 2 defensive gameplan, then your players will have ratings impacted any time you call a Cover 2 play during the game.
• When a play is boosted it will be highlighted in green play call. Players will be able to see the active boost in the previous play widget.

The Draft, Free Agency, & The Off-Season

Regression has been smoothed out so attributes drop more across the board instead of there being a large drop in one attribute. The team says the average drop should be a few points per attribute per season.

  • Player regression will surface in the CFM “Things to Do” main menu as well as an added “Progression History” tab onto players’ cards.
  • The trade and resigning logic has been retuned.
  • Free agency hasn’t been overhauled or reimagined, unfortunately, but it’s easier to access information like your depth chart during the process.
  • No fifth-year options, RFAs, or more extensive contract options.
  • More busts and gems have been added to the draft.
  • Players’ development trait is now dynamic, so if a player busts out and gets Rookie of the Year, for instance, their development trait will level up

Madden 17 E-Sports Events

This year with Madden 17, EA spoke on new ways for players to be more competitive. So by popular demand from the community, EA has decided to do three types of events that would appeal to certain types of players.

  • Challenger Events are designed to allow players to host their own events.
  • Premier Events are described as “large-scale events” that EA hosts with selected partners.
  • The last tier of events is simply called “EA Major Event’s” and are major events run “on a global scale,” featuring the top players of each game.

In Conclusion

So far it seems the Madden team is finally starting to listen to its community adding needed changes. From the community events to key changes in franchise mode, its safe to say the Madden team is on a mission to show fans and critics alike why they make the best sports game on the market. From my opinoion, what EA has been showing through blog posts and trailers, Madden 17 might just be one of the best sports games to drop this year. What are your thoughts on all the new changes and what are some things that you feel haven’t been addressed yet?

Sound off in the comment section below and for more E3 coverage make sure to check back in with!