EA Sports has released the first gameplay footage of Madden NFL 21 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and it looks very good. The developer also offered more details on how Madden NFL 21 will take advantage of the new consoles beyond just better graphics.
EA says the next-gen edition of Madden NFL 21 will deliver a “new standard of realism and authenticity.” As you can see in the trailer below, the game definitely looks better: player models, weather effects, and even the grass on the field appear to be more faithful to the real thing. But what might be more exciting about the next-gen editions of Madden 21 is how they’re using new player data from the real league.
For years now, NFL players have been wearing RFID chips in their jerseys to capture data about their performance, and now this is being shared with EA. The developer is using this data to make the in-game character models and their related animations appear more life-like.
“This data, called Next Gen Stats, is fed into Madden NFL 21 to drive fluid animation selection based on how players actually move when running, cutting, and changing direction on the field creating the most realistic player movement in franchise history,” EA said. “Next Gen Player Movement comes to life on both sides of the ball, with elite route runners running their actual routes logged by Next Gen Stats and showcasing explosive first steps and direction changes, while elite defenders will react more realistically to opposing routes and runs.”
Madden 21 on next-gen consoles will also include a new replay system that uses the player data to show you things like how quickly in seconds the quarterback released the ball or the distance of a completed pass. The idea is that, with these more granular numbers, players can make better decisions in the future about play-calling.
And speaking of play-calling, there is a new play-calling menu in Madden 21 that appears to prioritize star plays and lets you more easily involve them in key plays.
The new-gen editions of Madden 21 also boast faster loading times; EA said players can expect to get into games “in seconds,” while the developer said environments will load “with unprecedented speed.”
In addition, EA has added new “cloth animation” to make jerseys look more life-like with wrinkles that emerge during games based on how players move on the field. There is also now location-based audio to make the game feel as if the player is reacting to the sound coming from whatever direction they are looking.
On PS5, Madden 21 uses the DualSense controller to allow people to “feel the impact of passes, catches, tackles, hits, and kicks.”
Everyone who buys or has already purchased Madden 21 on Xbox One or PS4 can upgrade to their next-gen edition within the same console family for free until the release of Madden NFL 22 in 2021. All progress will carry forward from Madden Ultimate team, The Yard, and Franchise mode.
EA is also releasing a $70 “NXT LVL” edition of Madden 21 specifically for Xbox Series X and PS5. This appears to be EA’s first game that carries a higher price tag on next-gen. The game comes with “additional high value” content for Ultimate Team.
Madden 21’s PS5 and Xbox Series X editions launch on December 4, which is the same day that FIFA 21 comes to next-gen.