Madden NFL is EA Sports’ long-running football franchise, and like clockwork, another one is headed our way with new features and improvements from last year’s game.
Madden NFL 20 is almost certainly shipping later in 2019 with a few tweaks to the time-tested formula. Here’s what the new game might bring to the table after last year’s much-loved entry in the series.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The latest entry in EA Sports’ long-running football simulation series
- When can I play it? August 2 is the release date, but early access starts on July 31
- What can I play it on? Again, no official word from EA yet, but we would expect it to be playable on PS4, Xbox One and PC
Madden NFL 20 release date and special editions
Madden NFL 20 will officially be released on August 2, 2019, and will retail for $59. Pre-ordering will grant buyers five Gold Team Fantasy Packs as well as their pick of one out of 32 Core Elite Players from your favorite NFL team.
There will indeed be not one but two special editions. The first, Madden NFL 20 Superstar Edition, costs $79. For that extra cash, you get 12 Gold Team Fantasy Packs and one small Training Quicksell Pack in Madden Ultimate Team. Buyers also get early access to play the game on July 31, 2019, a full three days ahead of the standard launch date.
The $99 Ultimate Superstar Edition of Madden NFL 20 starts players off with 15 Gold Team Fantasy Packs, one large Training Quicksell pack in Madden Ultimate Team, one Past and Present Elite Player Pack, one Madden Championship Series Pack in Madden Ultimate Team, and your choice of one unique Legend Superstar Ability for your created player in Face of the Franchise: QB1.
Madden NFL 20 trailers
Madden NFL 20 news and rumors
EA Sports has already revealed a lot of the new features coming to Madden NFL 20.
Face of the Franchise: QB1 is the big new single-player mode: craft your player, pick their college, guide them through a draft and begin their big career. Thereafter, Madden’s new Scenario Engine generates personalized playable scenarios, events, and dynamic challenges, per the game’s website.
The regular Franchise mode is back, and features the return of Pro Bowl. The whole mode has been refined with new scenarios and tweaks all around, from ratings spread to player progression.
There’s also a new category for elite players: Superstars. 50 players in the game will fit the bill, and at certain points of play, they’ll enter “the zone” and get bonus Superstar X-Factor abilities. These aren’t ratings boosts or modifications, the game’s site clarifies: “These are behaviors, characteristics, and situational outcomes, aspects of football, and it will be very clear to our players what impact they are having on the game by complimenting the player ratings, not modifying them.”
The popular Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) mode returns as well, and it’s got a couple new features. Missions is a new feature that acts more like guidelines than a task-and-reward system. “Think of it as a roadmap to upgrading your squad with the items you want, with a clearly laid out path of how to earn those items or rewards,” explains the game’s website.
In MUT, Solo challenges have been replaced by Ultimate Challenges, and the Superstar abilities and X-Factors are also supported. Only some chemistries have been brought over from Madden 19 to Madden 20, though new ones have been added. The mode will include player archetypes, a reorganization that clarifies player strengths with their roles on the field, and a return of House Rules.
We’re also curious how the game will change given this is the first in the series without creative director Max Dickson, who left six months before the release of Madden NFL 19.
Madden 20 will be the third in the franchise running the Frostbite engine, and given the smoother action in last year’s entry with Real Player Motion, we’re keeping an eye out for how this version has been tweaked.
What we want to see from Madden NFL 20
Madden NFL 20 for Nintendo Switch
We’ve put this on our wish list for years, and we’re still hoping the next Madden game comes to the Nintendo’s fantastic hybrid console.
EA has released a Switch version of the past couple FIFA games, and while they haven’t had the full list of features and modes that are present in their PS4 and Xbox One counterparts, owners of the Nintendo console did get to play a mostly intact port. We’re hoping Madden NFL players get to do the same.
Perhaps Madden 19’s next chapter of the single-player mode introduced in Madden 18, Longshot: Homecoming, was underwhelming. But it was still a favorite experience when it appeared two years ago, and we’re hoping EA Sports has course-corrected to tell better chapters in the stories of underdogs Cruz and Colt. Or maybe just start from scratch and give us a couple (or handful) of new characters to invest in.
Alas, Face of the Franchise: QB1 seems like the single-player story/campaign mode that’s set to take Longshot’s spot, but as the internet wisdom goes, ‘Why not both?’
Okay, this is a bit greedy given EA only announced its cloud-based, stream-to-any-device service Project Atlas last October. But we’d love to see this Google Stadia-before-Stadia-was-announced service start showing up somewhere, somehow in Madden NFL 20.
How could it help? All that compute could give players much more context to their plays. In a Medium blog post introducing Atlas and explaining AI applications, EA CTO Ken Moss explained it this way:
“Imagine that you’re playing Madden, and you’ve just thrown your second interception of the game against the same cover 2 defense that caused the first turnover. Instead of the commentator simply stating that you threw a pick, the AI enables contextual, real-time commentary to reference the fact that you’re throwing to the sideline against a cover 2 defense and should have thrown against the weak zone over the middle to your tight end, who was open on the route.
“This would certainly push the game into a greater level of contextual and experiential realism. The AI is working with your gameplay. It’s responding to your needs as a player.”
- Here’s everything we’re looking forward to at E3 2019