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Revisiting Our 2K Football Series: What Has ‘Madden 18’ Accomplished?

Last year, we had an expansive, five-part series about a hypothetical NFL video game: “What Would a 2K Football Game Look Like?”. Of course, EA Sports has the exclusive license to make an NFL football game, but that doesn’t mean people can’t dream of the day 2K Sports is allowed to become a competitor again.


Unfortunately, the new Frostbite engine didn’t really do much to improve things in Madden 18, so almost exactly one year since we kicked off our in-depth series (January 13, 2016), it’s time to revisit it with a part-by-part recap with the hopes that EA Sports can see it and make some changes… Or that NFL 2K eventually returns.



Part I: Players

What’s been accomplished in ‘Madden 18’

– Arm sleeves that end on the bicep


What’s not been accomplished:

– Accurate ratings (ex: MIN CB Xaiver Rhodes is only a 90 OVR)

– Ratings overhaul (throw velocity, pocket mobility, patience, etc.)

– Forearm sleeves (like Philip Rivers wears)

– Rainy conditions impacting gear (particularly gloves)

– “Badges” to help differentiate between players (we came up with 28 for quarterbacks alone)



Part II: Presentation

What’s been accomplished:

– Slightly improved weather


What’s not been accomplished:

– Dynamic weather (snow to no snow, light snow to heavy snow, cloudy to rainy, etc.)

– Various broadcast teams (or at least networks)

– Studio show for halftime highlights (ESPN NFL 2K5 had that with Chris Berman)

– Realistic presentation leading up to the game and to introduce starting lineups (stats, key matchups, etc.)

– In-game animations for pre-play, post-play, pre-game, and post-game (Tom Brady screaming “Let’s go!” before a big game)

– Appropriate celebrations/actions for particular players (ex: Larry Fitzgerald isn’t going to dance after a touchdown)

– Holiday presentations (special Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas graphics)

– Accurate start times (9:30, 12:30, 3:05, 4:25, etc. unlike Madden 18, which has 4:15 as an option, which is never a kickoff time)

– Different officiating crews

– Tri-fold camera for challenges and reviews

– Should feel significance for players making first start or breaking a career/season milestone

– Coaches should act like themselves

– Get rid of on-field XP

– Post-game interview



Part III: Franchise Mode

What’s been accomplished:

– In-season commentary updates

– Ability to start mid-season

– Can pick what you wear as a coach

– Formation subs

– Defensive assignments (but they can’t be exact)

– “Simcast” type feature

– Total control passing (but it’s been a bust)


What’s not been accomplished

– Can’t be a general manager, coordinator, or position coach (limited to owner/player/coach)

– Can’t hire real-life coordinators

– Can’t hire/fire coordinators in general (because they don’t exist in the game)

– Draft class creation

– Pre-draft interviews, better backstories, and scouting combine for the NFL Draft

– Weekly game plans

– Limited options when choosing look of coach; can’t choose look of owner (it should be like NBA 2K used to do where you can buy suits, jackets, pants, shoes, ties, etc.)

– Office for coach (something that was in ESPN NFL 2K5)

– Revamped trade system (can’t do more than three-for-three trades; draft pick and player value is way off)

– Revamped free agency (currently broken and messy in general)

– Scripting play to start a game

– Big decisions have seemingly no impact

– Press conferences seemingly have no impact

– Stronger relocation progress (fully customizable stadium, uniforms, logo, etc.)

– Realistic, 15-minute quarter games (even if time goes a little faster like NHL and FIFA games)



Part IV: Career Mode

What’s been accomplished:

– Nothing


What’s not been accomplished:

– Getting rid of pre-set attributes (ex: mobile quarterbacks automatically have a cannon)

– NFL Draft and pre-draft process (still have to choose your team and whether you are an early pick, late pick, or undrafted)

– Ability to spend points whatever way you want (if you want to be really fast as a quarterback, you’d have to sacrifice throwing attributes at the start of your career until you gain more XP points)

– Badges

– Different gear for different situations (home/away, rain/shine, day/night, etc.)

– Buying number you want from a player who has it (if it’s not a star player)

– Not calling plays, controlling time outs, deciding to go no huddle at every position (that should only come as an expert quarterback or linebacker… a wide receiver or defensive tackle shouldn’t be calling plays)

– More responsibility as career progresses

– Consequences for failing to stick to assignment

– In-depth contract negotiations

– Deeper trade and/or release requests

– Drama in general (not over the top, but there should be some kind of heart to the game)

– Hiring/firing an agent

– Personality for your character (shaped by decisions, like whether or not you go to the draft or celebrate after a score)

– “The Crib” (should be able to have a house where you can choose how it looks from the floor color to having a home theater)

– Post-career options (going into coaching, management, or ownership if you made enough money in your career)



Part V: “Ultimate Team” Mode

What’s been accomplished:

– Power-up cards (like dynamic ratings, but not close to how it should be)

– MUT Squads

– Fantasy packs


What’s not been accomplished:

– Good dynamic ratings (base cards should go up and down in overall in accordance with their real-life performance, which makes it like playing the stock market to reward those who know more about the NFL)

– Prime cards and rookie cards

– Improved holiday cards (they took a big step backwards in Madden 18)

– Improved legend cards (ex: Ed Reed should be a 98 or 99, not a 93; he could also have a rookie card or another card to be affordable for those who can’t get the best card)

– In-depth customization (ability to upload logo, create unique uniforms, build stadium, etc.)

– Choice of team name when it comes to announcing (someone wearing a Ravens jersey is automatically called the Baltimore Ravens)

– Longer team names (“Winterfell Wolves” doesn’t fit)

– Ability to use a 3-4 end and 4-3 DT, 4-3 end at 3-4 OLB, etc. without losing chemistry

– Improved sets (collect 53 cards for a certain team to get a legend, flashback, prime, etc., which would keep the market value high and allow the company to still make money)

– More limited cards (everyone shouldn’t have Deion Sanders)

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the z manmaddengamerGregRavensNationAvon Barksdale Recent comment authors
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Nothing. The Game is terrible

Avon Barksdale
Avon Barksdale

They don’t make em like they used to…


Great stuff.


All those were very fun reads. Wish Madden would take even half these ideas..


as ive been saying its about time madden takes a hint and gets it together..

the z man
the z man

madden is about the worst game out there


Are you sure you want to stop your Fantasy Consigliere from auto-renewal?