With Madden 21's Metacritic score the lowest it's been in a generation, EA is pushing hard to release numerous gameplay fixes for its benighted football sim, which it revealed in a new set of Gridiron Notes released today. They will hopefully fix some of the numerous fan complaints that have set the "NFLDropEA" hashtag trending on Twitter amid a troubled release.
Most of Title Update #3's focus is on the defensive side of the ball, with fixes to pass coverage, tackling, and the pass rush. Apart from addressing animation bugs, they will focus on defender logic while buffing plays like Cover 4 Quarters, which currently struggle with certain route patterns. It's quite a lengthy list of fixes, which offers some insight into why Madden 21 is currently sitting at a desultory 62 on Metacritic.
Apart from the gameplay, the title update will add "Frienderboards" to casual-focused Yard mode; introduce further improvements to the speed at which Madden Ultimate Team menus load, and just generally clean up what has been a pretty messy entry. It should be one of many patches to come, as EA has generally been diligent about supporting Madden over a long period of time.
Future updates will include three planned updates for Franchise Mode, which has been the target of fan ire over the past few months. Earlier this summer, the backlash over Madden 21's lack of updates to Franchise Mode was such that Executive Producer Seann Graddy was compelled to respond directly, taking the unprecedented step of outlining a roadmap for the mode into Madden 22.
"I don't get to argue with the hashtag but I wouldn't say it's 'FixMaddenFranchise,' I would say that it's, 'We want more depth, we want more improvements, we want more change every year.' So we wanted to say, 'Okay, we hear you,'" Graddy told USgamer in a recent interview.
Outside of Franchise Mode, Madden 21 includes a new story for its Face of the Franchise mode, a backyard football mode called "The Yard," and cosmetic outfits. Like many games released this year, Madden 21 has had to navigate the tricky challenges of game development in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That's on top of simultaneously building a version of Madden 21 for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, further straining EA Tiburon's resources. Not surprisingly, Madden 21 has been even buggier than usual, with strange images of blank fields and animation glitches rapidly flooding social media.
EA doesn't have a specific release date for the patch, but plans to release it around the start of the NFL season, which commences September 13. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions will be out later this year.