Madden NFL 20

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Sports
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Tiburon
Release Date: Aug. 2, 2019


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Madden NFL 20'

by Redmond Carolipio on July 3, 2019 @ 3:20 a.m. PDT

Feel like a Superstar in Madden NFL 20, featuring an all-new career campaign empowering players to take the Superstar journey and become the Face of the Franchise: QB1.

Pre-order Madden NFL 20

I usually anticipate every Madden release for the same reasons as everyone else: new features, the chance to play and see how EA has improved its representation of the national pastime, and also, you know, because football.

After all these years, I'm looking forward to the August 2 drop of Madden NFL 20 for a slightly different reason: It has a chance to satisfy my role-playing itch, a facet of my gamer id that typically stays dormant where sports games are concerned. That's because the new Madden will introduce (or rather, remix and re-introduce) a superstar-centric mode called Face of the Franchise. This mode asks players to create their own college star quarterback and stay in his cleats from the College Football Playoff all the way through his career in the NFL, which includes being drafted. What's cool for football diehards is that 10 schools from the four power conferences have offered a piece of their licensing souls to EA, which means your created QB1 can suit up for:

  • Florida State University
  • University of Florida
  • University of Miami (The U)
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Oregon
  • Texas Tech University
  • University of Texas
  • University of Southern California (USC)
  • Louisiana State University (LSU)
  • Clemson University

It's a start. There are some real power programs in there, but I'm from the Buckeye State (O-H-I-O), and I can only imagine fans of the University of Alabama might be slightly miffed that Roll Tide in this mode will have to wait. As for your quarterback avatar, after the College Football Playoff game, you have to participate in the NFL combine, get drafted and forge your career through playing games, making a variety of decisions and working through a multitude of scenarios. Creating, building and guiding a player in a sports game is far from a new idea — MLB The Show and NBA 2K invest quite a bit in having you do this — but to see it fleshed out even further in a football game makes this edition of Madden more intriguing than ones in the past.

Of course, it's still all about what happens on the field, and the little bit of the game I got to sample at E3 2019 reflected the changing tempo in football. Without getting too into the minutiae, the playbooks feel more "modern" with how both offenses and defenses offer much more flexible options to exploit matchups. Offenses have that more "spread-out" look, with run-pass options and the ball flying all over the place. The game will cater more to the NFL star-system, specifically the "Superstar X-Factor" system, which gifts certain name-brand ballers with special abilities once they get into a "zone" of performance after certain goals are met. That doesn't mean star players will start glowing or turn into the avengers, but a railgun-armed QB like Patrick Mahomes might gain the ability to throw 15 yards past his max distance. Or, Khalil Mack or Aaron Donald might become even more unblockable than usual en route to blowing up the backfield. Where this concept could get more interesting is seeing how certain players with specific X factors will match up against similarly X-factored counterparts.

As a football fan, I'm anxious to see how this new package of Madden comes together. Thankfully, we won't have to wait long for Madden NFL 20.

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