Madden NFL 15 Feature Deep Dive: War in the Trenches 2.0

Posted July 21st at 12:00am.

Written by Madden NFL 15 Creative Director of Gameplay Rex Dickson.

Madden NFL 25 introduced the War in the Trenches, which revolutionized offensive line play with double teams, authentic passing pockets, realistic blocking schemes and hundreds of new animations.

Madden NFL 15 builds on those enhancements and turns the focus to the defensive line.

Rushing the passer is a whole new experience in Madden 15. Gone are the days of spamming the right stick and hoping to beat the block.

The new features start at the snap with the revamped off-the-line "Jump Snap" mechanic. Successfully timing your jump on the snap count gives your defender an advantage over the blocker, but mistiming the snap can result in an encroachment penalty or getting pancaked.

On lower difficulty levels, you will see on-screen feedback saying whether your timing was early, late or perfect. Look out for this, because the AI QB's now vary up the snap count. As a result, players will see more offsides and encroachments penalties in Madden NFL 15.

Once engaged, pass rush moves can now be performed with A (finesse move) or X (power move). The new player ring gives clear visual feedback as to when to perform the move, and which action is best suited for the currently selected defender.

Pass rush moves are contextual, and the game automatically chooses the pass rush animation based on the player and what move is best suited to the situation. Madden NFL 15 features hundreds of new pass rush animations. If the move exists in the NFL, you will see it in the game.

The moves range from rips, swims, push pulls, bull rushes, speed rushes, counter moves, clubs to everything in between. You can also steer a blocker using the left stick to hold gaps, clog up running lanes and get opposing linemen off balance to set them up for a move.

When it comes to stopping the run, Madden 15 features a new mechanic for directional block shedding. While engaged, hold the left stick in the direction you want to go and press A to shed the block. Once the defender is off the block, there are all-new tackling mechanics to bring down the ball carrier.

The new tackling mechanic starts with the tackle cone. This allows users to visualize the appropriate distance to the ball carrier to trigger a tackle, and dramatically increases the effectiveness of user tackling. Pressing A performs a conservative tackle, X from distance performs a dive tackle and X in close performs a hit stick.

On the offensive side of the ball, dramatic improvements were made to lead blocker and puller targeting logic. The team also addressed community’s concerns about linemen behaviors with new “beat blocker” behavior logic in Madden NFL 15.

Another longstanding legacy issue was how static players were in their stances. We watched tons of tape to gauge how active players are at the line, communicating with each other, shifting around, giving hand signals to the backs, etc.  Those behaviors are come to life in-game with new pre-play fidgets on both sides of the ball.

We also added several community requested pre-play adjustment behaviors. The biggest of these was implementing a way to slow down or stop quarterbacks that roll out of the pocket. QB contain (available as base play call or as a pre-play adjustment at the line) will put both DE's in a “mush rush” designed to keep the QB in the pocket at the expense of applying pressure.

We also have a new bluff blitz pre-play adjustment that allows LB's to show blitz after the snap, but then quickly drop back into coverage. It is a devastating tool against players that like to throw short over the middle routes.

Finally, on the offensive side of the ball, we added a new pre-play adjustment called max protection, which forces your TE and RB to abort their routes and stay in to block. This can be a very effective tool against players that like to blitz a lot.

Madden NFL 25 created a solid foundation for our offensive/defensive line interaction, and Madden 15 builds on that foundation by introducing a robust package of new features, mechanics, and animations to bolster the War in the Trenches.