If you played a decent amount of Madden NFL 20, you probably noticed how strong the run game was. Rather than an air-raid offense, running backs—and even running quarterbacks—were consistent and effective.
Madden NFL 21 is looking to shake that up in a few ways. Detailed today in a deep dive video on EA's YouTube channel, the Madden team is tuning up open-field tackling to specifically address the run game.
The first major change is "realistic" open-field tackling, letting defensive players break down and prepare for contact in an oncoming tackle. While you can still flub the timing on a tackle, the Madden team hopes this can provide a little bit more control and accuracy in tackling, reducing what they call a "guided missile" feeling from previous Madden games.
Of course, the ball carriers aren't coming up empty-handed. This year's entry sees some additional moves through the Skill Stick, like the "jurdle" (side hurdle) and the "dead leg," which can be linked into jukes and spins to create a flow of ankle-breaking moves. Only the highest-level players should be able to effortlessly dodge tackles, but still, I'm probably going to get "jurdled" a few times.
The defense gets some better pass-rush controls, too. It seems like the Skill Stick is going to play a big part in this year's Madden, hopefully breaking up the running monotony. A glitch early on in Madden NFL 20's lifespan created some curiously unstoppable players, but even after it was addressed, the run remained ubiquitous. This year's Madden Bowl champion won without even throwing the ball once. As an air-raid offense fan, I'm hoping these changes make my second down choices a little more dynamic.
Madden NFL 21 is set to kick off on August 28, with a special edition providing early access a few days ahead. It will also support a next-gen upgrade, though you'll want to redeem that while the window is still open.