New Madden 20 Gameplay Features, Superstar X-Factors Players Detailed

New Madden 20 Gameplay Features, Superstar X-Factors Players Detailed

Here's our complete guide to all the new gameplay features in Madden 20 this year, including Superstar X-Factor players and abilities, and more.

There's just a short while left until we can finally get our hands on Madden 20, and there's a ton to look forward to. In this complete guide hub on the game, we'll be going over all the Madden 20 gameplay changes you need to know, as well as rounding up a complete list of all the confirmed Madden 20 X-Factor players, and much more.

Madden 20 E3 2019 Gameplay

On June 8, EA showed off some new Madden 20 gameplay for the first time. You can see the full presentation below, in which Adam Rank presents some brand new mechanics and additions for this year's iteration of the game.

And now just below, we'll be rounding up all the new details that were revealed for Madden 20 at the EA Play event at E3 2019:

  • As the 2019/20 NFL season goes on, playbooks for teams will be updated with new plays.
  • Items that you need to upgrade players will be listed out in MUT, so you can find them more easily.
  • Alvin Kamara has been confirmed as one of the 50 X-Factor Superstars in Madden 20.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster has also been confirmed as another X-Factor Superstar.
  • Patrick Mahomes has an ability where if you complete four passes of 30+ yards, his passing range is extended.
  • X-Factor players also have Superstar abilities, as Patrick Mahomes does.
  • The Dashing Deadeye ability gives Mahomes perfect accuracy while throwing on the run.
  • The defense can knock a QB out of the 'zone' by sacking them. When this happens, the QB has to redo their objectives to get back into the zone.
  • A Madden 20 closed beta has been confirmed for June 14 until 16, on all platforms.
  • Aaron Donald is the first confirmed defensive X-Factor Superstar player. Donald can apply penalties to the QB even when he's being blocked.
  • 6 QBs, including Aaron Rogers and Patrick Mahomes, have unique throwing animations, and EA will be adding more of them as the year goes on.
  • There's a new scramble mechanic in Madden 20. With just one button press, you can get rid of the passer button options and run immediately.

Madden 20 New Gameplay Features: Superstars, X-Factors, Abilities

It might only be June, but EA has already detailed a ton of new changes coming to Madden 20 in August. The headline addition are the new Superstar players, and the X-Factor abilities that the 50 elite players have to unlock.

  • 50 players in Madden 20 will be assigned the 'Superstar X-Factor' title. These players have optional objectives for you to complete in-game, to unlock bonus skills.
  • For example if you complete a certain number of passes over 30 yards as Patrick Mahomes, and you'll increase the quarterback's maximum pass distance until he's sacked or intercepted.
  • There'll also be 'Superstar' players that have special bonuses. For example with Julian Edelman, the receiver has a Superstar ability where he excels at route running and contested catches out of the slot receiver position.
  • Superstar abilities in Ultimate Team replace Chemistry abilities from previous iterations of Madden.
Patrick Mahomes is your cover star for Madden 20. | EA

Madden 20 Confirmed X-Factor Superstar Players

EA is constantly revealing new Madden 20 X-Factor Superstar players, whether it's through Twitter or on live streams. Below, we've rounded up all the confirmed X-Factor players that we know of so far in the game.

  • Aaron Donald
  • Alvin Kamara
  • Antonio Brown
  • George Kittle
  • Juju Smith-Schuster
  • Odell Beckham Jr.
  • Patrick Mahomes
  • Russell Wilson
  • Tom Brady

Madden 20 Offensive Gameplay Changes

This year, it definitely sounds like the offense is going to be a huge focus for the team behind Madden 20. There's going to be big improvements to the way that offensive linemen in particular react and respond to run plays, and there'll also be improvements to animations coming out of blocking, for example.

  • While offensive playbooks will be EA's priority to improve for launch day in August, defensive playbooks are going to be updated a lot after the game launches.
  • There will be significantly less gameplay shown both before and after each individual play.
  • Offensive line animations have been vastly improved, so you'll get smoother transitions in and out of blocking interactions.
  • There are improvements to how offensive linemen move, especially when pulling out for Power-O and Toss plays.
  • When you call a run/pass option play, the offensive linemen will be run blocking every time, so you won't be able to line shift or adjust the offensive linemen because they'll all be in run mode.
  • Throwing under pressure will be changed, so excellent pass rushers will have an impact on the QB, but elite QBs will be able to manage the pressure.
  • When using the no-huddle offense, the accelerated clock will tick off the time it would take for the player furthest away from the huddle to make it to the line.
  • Different game speeds are being removed entirely from Madden 20.
  • Double tapping a specific receiver's icon will fake a pass to them in particular.
  • There will be specific celebration moves for players like Cam Newton, Richard Sherman, and others.

Madden 20 Defensive Gameplay Changes

It's fair to say that the defensive side of the ball has suffered in Madden over the past years, due to advances on the offensive side of the ball. This year, it sounds like the defense is becoming a lot more seamless in Madden 20, with a ton of new animations for piling the QB and tackling in particular.

  • Pass rush has been retooled so you have more creative options on the line of scrimmage.
  • Defensive linemen will change their direction and pass rush style if you call a QB Contain play.
  • Multiple defenders can now pile on the QB for one seamless sack animation.
  • When players get knocked down to the ground, they'll be more responsive with getting off the ground as quickly as possible.
  • Linebackers and defensive linemen won't be able to make acrobatic interceptions.
  • Animations have been polished for blocking, catching, and tackling.

Other Madden 20 Gameplay Changes (Live Playbooks)

For Madden 20, the team at EA has definitely taken a long look at some new plays that have dominated the landscape around the NFL in recent years. You're going to come up against a ton of RPO plays this year, and there's also the inclusion of the unique Philly Special.

  • RPO stands for run/pass option plays, and they're going to feature heavily in playbooks for Madden 20.
  • Madden 20 is slated to have over 200 RPO plays featured in all playbooks throughout the game.
  • The jet sweep is here! There'll be a multitude of options for the jet sweep play, so it won't always be a receiver that's coming across the field to take the ball in the backfield.
  • The Philly Special is one new trick play coming to Madden 20 playbooks this year, where the QB ends up catching the ball on a pass from a receiver.
  • Generally speaking, team playbooks are going to be updated frequently after Madden 20 launches, to reflect changes and new plays throughout the 2019/20 NFL season.
Players like Aaron Donald will dominate a game of Madden 20. | EA

Madden 20 Modes: Face of the Franchise, Scenario Engine, MUT Updates

For Madden 20, the Longshot story mode won't be returning. Instead, EA is putting together a new mode called 'QB1: Face of the Franchise.' This mode has you creating a player, working through your college career to the NFL Draft and Combine, before trying to make it into the starting lineup of an NFL team.

Face of the Franchise is basically an expansion of the Longshot mode. There'll still be decision-based scenarios, such as answering questions from reporters, but there'll also be gameplay still mixed in, with your decisions on the field governing the story for your character.

Madden 20 Face of the Franchise

  • Face of the Franchise: QB1 is replacing Longshot as the story mode. You'll start off as the backup QB of a powerhouse college team, who gets thrust into the spotlight suddenly during the college playoffs.
  • You can customize your character in the Face of the Franchise: QB1 mode.
  • You'll go from playing for a college team, to the NFL Combine, to the Draft, to trying to make the roster of an NFL team.

Just below, we've rounded up a complete list of all the college teams that you can play for in the Madden 20 Face of the Franchise mode.

  • Clemson
  • Florida
  • Florida State
  • LSU
  • Miami
  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • Texas Tech
  • USC

Madden 20 Franchise Mode Scenario Engine: Will Longshot be in Madden 20?

As we mentioned previously, Longshot will not be in Madden 20. It's a bit of a surprise that EA decided to ditch the Longshot moniker altogether for Madden 20, as Face of the Franchise is definitely riffing on what made Longshot so great in the first place.


In all, there are going to be a ton of significant changes coming to Madden 20 this year. It's not just a case of changes being there at launch in August either. The team at EA is committed to improving the game as the NFL season goes on, adding in new plays and changing playbooks to reflect the latest developments around the league on a weekly basis.

Face of the Franchise definitely sounds like EA committing to the single player mode of a Madden game more than in previous years. Going from college, through the NFL Draft and Combine all the way to an NFL team is a big expansion on the choices and gameplay that we've seen from Longshot in the past two years, and it's a welcome addition.

For a look at all of the other confirmed games for 2019, be sure to head over to our 2019 Game Releases Guide. You'll find a regularly updated list of 2019 games, sorted by release date, and by platform.

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Hirun Cryer

Guides Writer

Hirun Cryer is by far the most juvenile member of USgamer. He's so juvenile, that this is his first full-time job in the industry, unlike literally every other person featured on this page. He's written for The Guardian, Paste Magazine, and Kotaku, and he likes waking up when the sun rises and roaming the nearby woods with the bears and the wolves.

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