Madden NFL 23 will release across multiple platforms (PS4, PS5, XB1, XB Series S/X, Google Stadia and PC) on August 16 for EA Play subscribers, but worldwide on August 19. Prior to the release, EA launched and extended a closed beta to gather feedback on the pre-retail version in an effort to present the bets possible launch.
Earlier this week, EA released their findings and responses to the feedback collected during the closed beta. According to EA’s Gridiron Notes, gamers didn’t want to see the final version “drastically” changed from the beta in the way of “coverage/reaction time.” This response was shared 670 times.
Here is EA’s response:
“The number one feedback topic we received! Rest assured Madden community, our vision of game balance is consistent with yours and the gameplay you experienced in the Closed Beta is what you’ll be playing on launch day. There has been polish added and bugs fixed from players’ feedback to make it even better, but the overall experience will be as you played in the Closed Beta.”
The gameplay in the beta, though pretty similar in some core ways to the Madden we’ve come to expect, did feel a little more polished and organic. However, the more hardcore fans likely enjoyed the level of responsiveness on defense during passing plays.
Fans asked for referees to return to the in-game action from a visual standpoint. According to EA: “While referees returning to the field during live gameplay is not something we will be able to deliver in Madden 23, it is something that we want to get as badly as our players; we want to make sure that when refs do return, they return in a state where visual quality is on par with the rest of the characters on the field; refs is very high on our future roadmap.”
As a Madden gamer for the entire life of the franchise, I’ve never missed or appreciated the presence of the officials on the field. I could imagine a slight bump in visual authenticity, but it’s not high on my list of things to add from a presentation standpoint. Still, Nearly 300 people voted to have the virtual zebras added to the game.
A variety of tweaks will be made ahead of launch to balance gameplay, per EA. “Insta-shed” were an issue with what felt like an overpowered pass rush during the beta.
EA has tuned the offensive-defensive line play to hopefully create a more realistic situation for quarterbacks who were often running for their digital lives during the beta.
Also, there has been some tuning to reduce the number of fumbles. Four bullet-pointed fixes have been implemented to address this issue.
These sound like good approaches, but I’ve never liked the concept of balancing running quarterbacks by making them fumble an unrealistic amount of times. Fatigue and/or injury is the real check and balance for this in the NFL, and there is no reason it shouldn’t be the same in Madden.
Injuries won’t be as big of a deal in Ultimate Team where a ton of online play takes place in the Madden universe. That’s more of a balance for franchise mode contests. However, a fatigue system that forces a substitution or drastically compromised play from a QB who has scrambled too often seems more realistic than making them fumble on hits that wouldn’t normally result in a potential turnover.
According to the Gridiron Notes, EA has added 27 new hit-stick animations for the game’s launch which should add some needed variety for this fan-favorite portion of the game.
Franchise mode saw several balances that will impact free agency, the draft and other areas. The communication and community awareness is encouraging, but we’ll have to wait a little less than two weeks to determine if the launch result reflects the efforts to deliver the best Madden experience.