Every iteration of Madden NFL looks to build upon the years before it. Superstar abilities were a highlight of Madden NFL 20, allowing the abilities of various real-life football stars to shine through their virtual avatars. One's new ability in Madden NFL 21 is causing a bit of a stir.
Last weekend, a closed beta for Madden NFL 21 let some players get some early hands-on time with this year's version of Madden. One particular note was the ability of one Earl Thomas. A safety for the Baltimore Ravens, Thomas comes packed with a special ability called "Film Study," which lets the player see the opponent's routes if they keep running the same formation over and over.
In a YouTube video, Madden player ZAN breaks down how this could be harmful to the way Madden NFL 21 is played. Spamming formations has been a problem for Madden NFL in the past, from spamming formations to baffle the A.I. to one player running their way to a Madden Bowl win. ZAN says they understand concerns about some problematic plays that have been run over and over in the past.
"I get it, trust me, I do," ZAN says. "But what you are doing to alleviate the concerns of those types of offenses are going to absolutely, positively neuter the offenses that are run with good intent."
For players who enjoy running one formation and making snap adjustments on the fly, switching up routes and receivers in response to a defense, Earl Thomas's ability to suss out the potential routes makes that playstyle much more difficult.
It does seem like Electronic Arts is trying to address the issue of spamming certain plays over and over for easy wins. Some enjoy the potential for this ability to call out repeat play calls and one-trick ponies; others see it as a punishment of running a tight offense based on play-by-play adjustments. If it stays in, Madden NFL 21 online will definitely look pretty strange, to say the least.