Last year, Madden NFL 13 introduced physics to the franchise with the Infinity Engine. It was a big step forward and a huge feature at this point in the current console cycle. However, as with any new technology, there is always room to grow. This offseason, it was a major priority for the Madden dev team to add new features, fix known issues andcreate a smoother, more realistic experience. With that in mind, it's time to introduce Madden NFL 25's new feature, Infinity Engine 2.
Feel The Force
One of the biggest points of emphasis this year was tuning the Infinity Engine to account for the strength and power of players. This is how Force Impact was born. Football is a game of collisions and that will be reflected in how players interact when they hit each other. Force Impact allows the game to account for the size and strength of players to render realistic results when impact occurs. So if you use the Truck Stick to make a big, bruising running back like Marshawn Lynch lower his shoulder when a smaller player is trying to make a tackle, the Force Impact system will accurately calculate the outcome and render a result. Spoiler alert: there’s a good chance he’s going to run right over the smaller player. This was first demonstrated last year, but now it has been finely tuned to be even more realistic.
A similar emphasis has been placed on defense, so the Hit Stick feels better ever before. Lining up and teeing off on a ball carrier is awesome, and it's hard to do the experience justice in words. After laying the lumber with the Hit Stick and Force Impact for the first time, it will be hard to go back to normal tackles.
Force Impact also affects stiff-arms, adding importance to an often under-utilized move. Tapping the stiff-arm button as a defender comes in to make a play is called a “physics punch,” where the ball carrier will quickly thrust his arm out and shove the defender. Holding the button makes the ball carrier hold his arm out and try to “wall off” the defender and keep him at bay. Again, strength matters, as stronger players will have more success with their stiff-arms than backs who tend to rely on speed rather than power.
Everywhere I was Going, I was Running
If you’ve checked out the Run Free post, then you know all about the emphasis placed on the running game this year. Some improvements and tweaks have been made to the engine itself to make the running game more rewarding and fun. First off, players can now use hard cuts when running to prevent the “swerve” running seen in years past. When a ball carrier changes direction, he now needs to decelerate and make a genuine, sharp movement to get past the defender. It’s a fix that has been in the works for a long time, and the dev team is glad it’s finally in the game.
Another new mechanic this year is the stumble recovery. Players will have a chance to break out of a stumble, regain their feet and continue down the field. There will be a small window during a stumble where flicking the right stick back will allow you to keep your feet and continue moving forward. Conversely, if a player is about to get lit up by a defender, flicking the right stick forward will cause him to dive for as many yards as possible while keeping a firm grip on the pigskin.
The team worked on cleaning up the engine and making some under-the-hood tweaks like adding a ball carrier avoidance animation that triggers whenever a player approaches a blocker. Instead of running into the back of a blocker and falling down, the ball carrier will now put a hand out and automatically guide himself into space. Last year, a lot of players abandoned the inside running game out of fear of their blockers knocking them over. Now those inside runs are once again a viable option.
Know Your Assignment and Set the Edge
With a renewed emphasis on the running game, serious attention was paid to blocking assignments. So this year, former NFL offensive lineman and current Madden NFL designer Clint Oldenburg took a look at every single offensive and defensive front in the game in order to script proper blocking assignments. Clint’s work results in guards and tackles now taking on the correct defenders and behaving more realistically during plays. Lead blockers will now seek out actual threats instead of peeling off to take on a linebacker that is already out of the play. The improvements are most apparent on screen plays where guards, wide receivers and others will do a much better job of creating space.
Playing both Sides of the Ball
The offense was given lots of love this year, but the defensive side of the ball was not ignored. Madden NFL 25 features new mechanics for defenders including more effective dive tackles, which will allow players to avoid blockers and make a play on the ball. Furthermore, heat-seeker tackling makes it much easier to hone in on the ball carrier and wrap him up.
A small but significant defensive upgrade comes in the “breakdown” animations seen in the open field. To counter all the precision modifier moves, defenders will now slow down and get into position to make a play rather than charging full-speed ahead. Defenders caught out of position will also be able to make a hard cut and get back into the play, so will still be able to recover and make something happen. Last but not least, defensive pursuit angles have been tuned so that defenders are smarter about tracking down ball carriers. Combined that with the breakdown animation and recovery ability, defensive-minded players will have plenty of moves to choose from.
Post-play AI has also been improved so that so players will be more aware of those on the ground, and smarter “get up” logic will allow players to stand up more naturally.
Madden NFL 25 includes a boatload of improvements to Infinity Engine 2 and come August, players will have the smoothest, most realistic Madden experience to date.
Madden NFL 25 will be available on Tuesday, August 27, for Xbox 360 and PS3, and fans can learn more at the Madden NFL website. Fans are also invited to become a Madden Insider for exclusive information on Facebook including the latest news, features, original content and more for Madden NFL 25.