Dynamic Gameday Deep Dive

EA Has Provided the community with even more Dynamic Game Day details check them out below.

Dynamic Gameday: Gameday Momentum

With Gameday Momentum, you will feel the highs and lows of the momentum swings in each game and feel the pressure of Gameday with the all-new Momentum Meter and its perks known as M-Factors (Momentum Factors).

As any football fan can tell you, feeling momentum build in an NFL game is a very real thing, and the Momentum Meter visualizes these momentum swings for gamers, which are all driven completely by the action on the field.

The momentum mechanic is a “Tug-of-War” style meter that flows toward the team currently controlling the game. As greater levels of momentum are reached, M-Factors are unlocked or taken away as the tangible impact to capturing momentum. M-Factors are team-wide effects that vary between boosting a team’s performance and providing additional challenges to overcome throughout the course of a game. For example: a kicker always kicking in the ‘Iced’ state, receivers missing their receiver icons or making hot-routes more difficult to perform. 

The flow of the meter is driven purely by the action on the field, where big plays like touchdowns, turnovers, and sacks will grab more momentum than smaller plays. Because we have different ways to play, the meter used in Tournaments, Online Ranked Head-to-Head, and some Ultimate Team modes will be tuned differently than the base way to play, so that skillful user-play will be far more important in swinging momentum than play outcomes. 

When M-Factors are unlocked, they will light up in the meter, and you’ll also see them in coach cam, with full descriptions telling you exactly what they do and when they are active. There’s no hidden stat boosts, no ‘under-the-hood’ gameflow modifications – only the M-Factors unlocked by in-game performance. The M-Factors that are available in each game will always vary, based on where the game is played or what the elements are so that each game will feel like a different experience.

That’s not all. A modernized blast from EA’s football past known as Home Field Advantage. Each NFL team is equipped with one extra unique M-Factor that will only be available when that team is defending its own home turf. For teams playing at home, their Home Field Advantage allows them one extra M-Factor to unlock via momentum, but also will be the first to be disabled if the road team captures the momentum first. These unique perks have been specifically designed to celebrate the fandom of each team’s unique personalities, such as teams visiting the Mile High City of Denver having lower stamina reserves, or hard-to-see play-art when playing in front of the historically-loud crowd in Seattle.

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And just like with the different tuning sets for different modes, any game played in a neutral site environment will not be equipped with any Home Field Advantage, since there is no Home Team. So when you’re playing the Super Bowl in Franchise, or in a MCS stadium on the Competitive Ladder, you won’t have to contend with a Home Field Advantage M-Factor.

To quickly summarize, Gameday Momentum introduces:

  • Momentum mechanics, where gamers can interact with the Momentum Meter and based on their on-field performance, can activate/deactivate M-Factors by swinging momentum
  • NFL Teams playing on their own home field will have unique Home Field Advantage M-Factors celebrating their stadium, fan base and history
  • Both Momentum and Home Field Advantage are customized to match the specific game mode you’re playing

Dynamic Gameday: Gameday Atmosphere

The second component of Dynamic Gameday is Gameday Atmosphere. This is where the atmosphere, broadcast, and presentation all bring Dynamic Gameday to life. 

Gameday Atmosphere delivers the scale, experience, and impact of BIG moments that can change the game, and presents itself via the unique characteristics and personality of each NFL Stadium. All of this is wrapped in an updated broadcast package that sets the stage for each game to tell its own story.

One of these unique characteristics you’ll notice first is the crowd. We have brand new crowd animations and created super fan characters for every team in the league to give each team a 12th Man. Through working directly with NFL teams, we’ve remastered our real world crowd audio recordings and added more authentic sound elements for every stadium to HEAR what each stadium sounds like on gameday. Not only is there more variety in the sound, but we’ve also pumped up the volume and intensity of the crowd so you’ll feel the key moments of the game. For example, a loud crowd might make it tougher for your QB to hear a call or make an audible at the line.

The sidelines will also react to the action on the field. You’ll see players and coaches on the sideline react to the momentum of the game, pump up the crowd and sometimes interact with the players on the field. And even the players on the field will have momentum-based reactions for more organic displays of emotion after the whistle blows.

In addition to M-Factors brought on by momentum, Gameday Atmosphere introduces some similar environmental traits. Gameday Conditions are persistent modifications to gameplay that will impact both teams equally for the entire game. These conditions aren’t driven at all by momentum, but instead by the environment. The weather, quality of the turf, rivalry games, and even the fanbase are used to determine Gameday Conditions, which can be either beneficial or detrimental to both teams. Some examples of these are increased ball flight in high altitude, like Denver, or decreased change-of-direction ratings for all players on the field when playing on slippery surfaces.

Lastly, the Broadcast Package will bring all of this to life with a new pregame presentation to set the stage. Expect more NFL Next-Gen Stats packages and overlays, new stat banners and wipes, cutscenes, various new camera angles, new Super Bowl presentation, and more!

To summarize Gameday Atmosphere: 

  • The crowd will be a factor in Madden NFL 22 Gameplay
  • Sideline players and staff will react to the action on the field and momentum of the game
  • All-New Gameday Conditions bring unique environment-based game modifiers to each game that can either help or hinder both teams
  • All brought to life with a fresh, new presentation package

Dynamic Gameday: Next Gen-Star Driven A.I.

The final piece of Dynamic Gameday is Next Gen Stats: Star-Driven AI. Over the last two years, the vast majority of all games played in Madden NFL have been against AI opponents. But frankly, we had not been investing in those experiences as much as head-to-head games. Next Gen Stats: Star-Driven AI in Madden NFL 22 will deliver a step-change in AI  so that single player games will feel just as fun, fresh, and meaningful as playing against other humans.

In Madden NFL 21, we introduced NFL Next Gen Stats into Gameplay by utilizing the data to drive our player movement. While that effort continues in Madden NFL 22, we are now also using Next Gen Stats data to drive AI behaviors and tendencies at both a player level and team level. The access we have to these stats through our partnership with NFL’s Next Gen Stats delivers a level of realism sports gamers can only find in Madden NFL.

For individual AI players, Next Gen Stats are now used to drive deeper player tendencies. Based on the data we have for each player, certain thresholds are in place that will automatically assign certain player traits that drive specific behaviors, such as QB decision making while under pressure; QB passing aggressiveness and tight window throws; QB pass success on the run; and even ball carrier tendencies around breaking and/or evading tackles.

To lay down a solid foundation for these stat-driven behaviors, we also did a lot of work to improve our core foundational AI. You’ll see these improvements in ball carrier open-field pathfinding, QB read progressions, QB scramble logic, and more awareness of star teammates and Superstar X-Factor abilities so that AI players will utilize their abilities and mismatches just as you do.

That’s not all. Both in Play Now and in Franchise, these player tendencies will evolve all season long as stats change and gameplans evolve, either in the real world via frequent Next Gen Stat imports; or within your Franchise sim, so that each game will feel as exciting as each week in the NFL season. 

For team AI, our goal is for every game to present a unique puzzle to solve. Each team will have its own personality, play calling style and team tendencies.  Again, all driven by Next Gen Stats we’re importing straight from NFL fields. 

Playing against a defense like the Pittsburgh Steelers who lead the league in blitzing will challenge your pocket presence on offense. Playing against a run-heavy team like the Baltimore Ravens will be a completely different experience than playing the pass-heavy Buffalo Bills. 

All of this data about your opponent will be surfaced to you in different ways depending on the mode you are playing, and you’ll be able to make strategic gameplan decisions about how you want to counter their strengths or lean more heavily into your own. You’ll be able to make gameplan decisions either in pregame of Play Now games, during your weekly practice schedule in Franchise, and for the first time in Madden NFL, at halftime of every game.

Halftime adjustments will be wrapped in the previously mentioned presentation packages, allowing you to adjust your strategy at the halfway-point just like your real-world NFL Coach counterparts. You’ll see how your opponent’s tendencies have evolved over the course of the first half so you can decide if you want to change course or stay with what got you there. You will now control your own destiny no matter how you like to play. 

To close out the AI section, let’s quickly review what we went over with Next Gen Stats: Star-Driven AI:

  • Individual AI players’ behavior is driven by real world NFL Next Gen Stats to drive unique tendencies based on their play styles
  • Foundational AI core improvements have been made to make playing against the AI more challenging and rewarding, while making each game feel unique 
  • AI-controlled teams will play more like themselves in terms of play calling and play style so there’s more diversity in weekly matchups
  • Opponents’ stats and tendencies are surfaced so you can make strategic gameplan decisions before each game starts and adjustments can be made at halftime

Core Gameplay Enhancements

Moving on to core gameplay, we want to quickly touch on the importance of feedback from you, our players, and how many of your ideas we try to get into the game each year. Feedback from our players is so valuable to us and we try to take action on as much of it as we can, because ultimately Madden NFL is your game and we want you to have as much fun playing it as we do developing it.  In Madden NFL 22, based on your feedback, we’ve made a variety of core innovations to these areas: blocking, tackling, catching, player movement, and much, much more. 

Player Movement

To continue our journey with Next Gen Stats driving our player movement to more authentic levels, we’ve continued relying on this data to add even more movement nuance and athleticism to this year’s game.

One of the biggest areas of emphasis in Madden NFL 21 was route data, and we’ve added a bunch of new play specific routes to Madden NFL 22. In addition to more routes, receivers will be using Signature cuts and releases off the line to gain space against the press and deliver more control when turning up the field after a catch, or near the sideline, for both user-controlled and AI-controlled receivers.

For more explosive player movement, you’ll see ball carriers and defenders alike showing maximum effort in their posture when sprinting and using new animations that explode faster through starts and cuts, which was a critical piece of feedback we received from the Madden NFL community last season. You’ll feel smooth and explosive control for QBs both inside and outside the pocket, and everything in between, as we’ve added more animation content and better transitions.

There’s also some changes to ball carrier controls. Users will  have a few more tools in their arsenal this year with the return of Control Moves. In Madden NFL 22, your special moves like Juke, Spin, and Deadleg will have variants based on if the move is performed while holding down RT/R2 Acceleration Burst vs. letting go of the Acceleration button. These variants are focused on making the length of the moves shorter to get you back in control quicker, as long as you’re not trying to run at top speed when starting the move. Learning how to master this skill will give you more options as the ball carrier to get creative in navigating traffic, have more control in hitting run-lanes and more variety when faking out defenders.

Tackling

Tackling got a significant upgrade across the board. These upgrades include a complete refresh of the most used tackles from years past, with a focus on new interactions that are more appropriate to specific situations and aim to pay off the size and strength of the players in the tackle to better respect physics and user control.

Some of the new tackle content and situations you’ll see in Madden NFL 22 are: 

  • Touch-Player-Down Tackles, where defenders will show the awareness of a ball carrier giving himself up or falling down without being ruled down by touching the player on the ground, or shoving back to the ground as he gets up to get the play blown dead.
  • Sideline Tackles will show defenders using the sideline to their advantage by triggering specific tackling content for interactions near the boundaries.
  • Early Hurdle tackles will intelligently fill animation gaps in tackling right when the ball carrier starts a hurdle and ensure that the tackle interaction that takes place looks and feels appropriate for this specific situation.
  • Concurrent Gang Tackles deliver more organic animations that can dynamically include anywhere from 2-4 players, all joining into these tackles at different times.
  • New and Improved Broken Tackles will have a bigger impact on the game, as we now have quick broken tackles that leave the ball carrier in control during the interaction, and a more robust system for broken dive tackles that will occur more frequently based on player matchups.
  • New Tackling Momentum logic will better detect the size, speed and traits of the players involved in the matchup so that base tackle physics of both the entry and outcome will match more appropriately. You’ll see bigger backs falling forward more in tackles, while smaller, more agile backs will get thrown backwards. AI controlled players are also aware of these matchups, so you’ll see smaller AI defenders taking the legs out from underneath bigger ball carriers, and big, bruising ball carriers seeking out contact by looking for more trucks and stiff arms, and all brought to life with new momentum-specific tackling animations.

Catching

For catching controls, Madden NFL players desired more control and more organic outcomes in the passing game. To fulfill that desire, we’ve made a lot of changes to significantly decrease the frequency of multiplayer catches. There will be no more ‘RAC’ (Run After Catch) multiplayer catches, no more contextually questionable short-yardage multiplayer catches, and less slowdowns by receivers with a step or two of separation. What you will see are more single player catching scenarios where both players are independently playing the ball or seamlessly playing the receiver with catch tackles, catch knockouts, and midair collisions. Specific to midairs, we added some functionality so that the intended outcome of the interaction will be respected on any tackle that takes place during the catch so you don’t have to rely on a specific animation to play to get the correct play outcome.

also improved sideline catching by adding logic for more accurate foot detection and added brand new sideline catch animations for more variety, in both core Madden NFL and The Yard. So now when catching near the boundaries, those toe drag catches will be more accurate and efficient. 

Lastly, some tuning to improve the catch height thresholds so that big receivers will have a larger catch radius, and defenders attempting to swat the ball will have a larger range to reach the ball to knock it away.

Blocking

As much as we’ve discussed all the cool things happening with the skill players, we know how much you like the trenches too. We’ve made enhancements to both pass and run blocking to improve animation quality and control in these interactions.

Just like with tackling, we are using our new Momentum Logic in blocking, and you’ll first notice this in the pocket. To respect the physics of pass rushers as they fire off into the line, you’ll see all-new animation content when blockers engage defenders; when they are battling towards the QB; and when they ultimately attempt to shed the block to get past the blocker.  This results in a more organic and dynamic formation of the pocket that you’ll have to be aware of as the QB. The pass rush will be flying in from all angles and gamers will need good pocket presence to step up into the pocket from time to time.

Momentum will have an impact in run blocking as well, where we’ve added new blocking animations that better respect the speed and movement direction of the defender at the time of engagement so that moments, where you feel suction or loss of control as a defender, are reduced, and even added more content where defenders are getting penetration into the backfield as part of the engagement, to better balance the run game. Lastly, on offense, blockers will give more clear running lanes for the ball carrier to cut through as we’ve added new blocking content for blocks moving more laterally and backwards, and are now able to start blocking interactions from a wider variety of angles, which reduces the number of ‘head-up’ interactions on each play.

There are a few other details we’ve added to blocking that hopefully, you’ll notice beyond momentum and physics. We’ve done work on Screen Plays so that the linemen pulling will appropriately chip the pass rusher before releasing, and made some improvements to their speed, facing angle, and targeting logic while in the open field. We’ve also added in new impact block animations and tuning so that mismatches will be better reflected, especially when using smaller defenders inside the box to defend running plays. 

Lastly, AI-controlled pass rushers will now have access to ‘non-engaged’ speed rush moves on the edge to bring them to parity with user-controlled rushers from Madden NFL 21. These moves definitely bring more pressure to the pocket, and they use a match-up formula of Pass Block Finesse (PBF) vs. Finesse Move (FMV) to both determine the defender’s likelihood of attempting a speed rush as well as his chance to be successful.

Core Improvements

We didn’t stop with just core system improvements in catching, blocking, tackling, and player movement. There’s a bunch of other changes coming in for Madden NFL 22 that we want to tell you all about, so here’s just a quick hit list of those:

  • Increased ranges for Pass Lead and Pass Trajectory
  • Decreased the effectiveness of the Overtop coverage adjustment when guarding routes with cuts
  • Increased Get Off speed of Blitzing Defenders so they are faster to their gaps
  • New Impact Blocks that respect player Momentum, with an emphasis on bigger offensive linemen dominating smaller defensive backs inside the tackle box
  • Added multiplayer Scramble Sack interactions
  • Reduced match distance on blocks from the rear and back shoulder
  • Retuned High Throw Mechanic to make it more effective
  • Major tuning to Multiplayer Catching to reduce the frequency, but also reduce warping when they are used
  • Improved Pursuit logic to decrease the frequency of Over and Under Pursuit tackles
  • Improved defender reaction time when in position to play the ball vs. pass
  • After the whistle, teammates will now help the ball carrier up off the ground when in position to do so

Playbooks

Each year our goal is to make meaningful updates to our team playbooks to surprise and delight players, and this year is no exception. We’ve placed a greater emphasis on our team playbooks from the standpoint of our new Tendency and Gameplan features.  We will likely do a more detailed blog devoted strictly to playbooks a bit later, but here are some of the highlights you can look forward to in Madden NFL 22. 

  • All 32 NFL team playbooks have been updated to reflect their real-world plays up through the end of last season, with a heavy emphasis on ensuring teams with new head coaches and/or offensive coordinators match that new personnel. 
  • For both offense and defense, we focused on making sure play call percentages and tendencies are as accurate as possible to ensure they closely match the play calling of their real-world counterparts when controlled by the AI. 
    • Some Defense examples: Based on stats from last season, the Miami Dolphins will be more aggressive in blitzing, whereas the Seattle Seahawks are a team that relies heavily on playing Cover 3.
    • Some Offense examples: The Baltimore Ravens ran Pistol formations more than any other team, while also being very run-heavy, which will be reflected in Madden NFL 22.  The Kansas City Chiefs will primarily focus on using shotgun formations and mixing in RPOs and a vertical passing game utilizing their team speed.
  • We added new formations and nearly 300 new plays, many of which are new concepts added to the game.   
    • New Formations:
      • Gun Bunch Y-Flex (TE aligned in a tight split opposite the bunch receivers)
      •  Gun Empty Quads
      • Gun Normal Y Off
      •  Gun Normal Y Off Close
      • Gun Normal Y Off Wk
      • Gun Open Flex Wk
      • Gun Tight Y Off
      • Gun Tight Y Off Wk
      • Gun Wing HB Wk
      • Pistol Open Flex Close
      • Singleback Deuce Y-Flex (Makes a return to the game)
      • Singleback Bunch X Nasty
      • Strong Jumbo (Goal line look with the Fullback aligned strong in the backfield)
      • Nickel 1-5-5 Double A Gap

Pass Coverage

For Madden NFL 22, our focus is to improve the way pass coverage reacts and carries out assignments vs. the most effective and most frequently called pass plays. Our decision-making was driven by data that showed us which pass plays are called the most by players, and which have the highest yards-per-completion rate.  We tested each of our defensive coverage concepts against those plays to identify issues with how we defended them in Madden NFL 21 and got to work to improve defending them.

The top five pass plays we identified:

  • Gun Trey Y-Flex Dagger
  • Gun Empty Base Flex Verticals
  • Gun Trey Y-Flex PA Crossers
  • Singleback Wing Pair TE Attack
  • Gun Bunch Mesh Spot

As we went through each play, trends started to emerge regarding why these plays were effective against our various coverage concepts.  We categorized each of those trends and were able to get focused work done in a specific area to ensure we achieved our goals to improve our coverages against these plays. The high-level idea behind that thinking is if we can get our pass coverages to respond appropriately against these top plays, then the gameplay all around will be better balanced for a deeper experience.

Here is a breakdown of the areas of focus to make improvements to our pass coverages:

Backpedal/Turn-and-Run Transition:  We made improvements to the way defenders drop to their zone landmarks, which is the first step in getting them in position to play their assignments. Defenders will do a better job of getting to the proper depth and using the correct facing direction.   This is especially helpful to our deep zone defenders in Cover 2 and Cover 3 to be in a better position to make a play on the ball against deep routes in top pass plays.  

Proper Leverage: We made improvements to the way defenders leverage receivers based on the route.  Once we got our defenders to the proper landmarks, the key then was for us to make sure they were able to maintain the proper leverage on receivers, especially on deeper vertical routes. These improvements will keep defenders in a better position to contest passes to their targets.

Vertical Crossing Routes: A key component of the top five pass plays is they all contain some form of vertical crossing route. A vertical crossing route is a route that starts on one side of the field and gains depth as the receiver runs to the other side of the field.  The work done with backpedal transitions and leverage will put our defenders in a better position to play these routes.  But we also are improving the AI here so that defenders recognize formations and route combinations better to make them more alert to potential vertical threats.

Rallying to the Flats:  A significant update was made to the way our Curl-Flat and Cloud-Flat defenders are able to play crossing and drag routes as they come across the field. One issue we’ve solved is defenders were not dropping at the right angle towards their receiver, which caused them to be in a bad position once the ball was caught. Receivers were able to easily catch the ball and turn upfield for big yards. But in Madden NFL 22, defenders will do a much better job of maintaining horizontal leverage on those routes, with the intent of limiting the yards available after the catch.

Redzone Awareness:  We’ve improved the logic for defenders inside the Red Zone and End Zone, especially the deeper coverage players defending routes in the back of the end zone. Previously, defenders were stopping about five yards short in the end zone, trying to rally deep, but now you’ll see them leverage the back boundary earlier in the play.

Animation Improvements: Besides all the coverage logic, there’s a variety of new animations we added to Madden NFL 22 as well. There are new Press and Chuck interactions, with improved selection criteria specific to Cover 0, Cover 1, and Cover 2 Man plays; we’ve tuned the timing of all the presses to get the receivers out of them sooner to better respect acceleration, and we’ve also done work to preserve the momentum of the receiver when entering press interactions to avoid sudden losses of speed and momentum. 

We are excited for the Madden NFL 22 fans to try out the improvements we have made to pass coverage.  We are always open to feedback to ensure it’s both balanced and fun on both sides of the ball.

The Madden NFL Team

Community Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How will Gameday Momentum work in Madden Ultimate Team?

A: When playing online modes such as H2H Seasons and Weekend League, Home Field Advantage will not be enabled. Be on the lookout for more information on Madden Ultimate Team in August with Madden All-Acces

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