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Madden NFL 18 Game Styles

Posted July 22nd at 12:00am.

There’s a lot that’s new for Madden NFL 18. Longshot brings a new story mode never before seen in Madden, and the franchise is now powered by the Frostbite game engine to up the visuals to new heights. But now it’s time to talk nitty-gritty. Let’s talk game play.

To deliver a more immersive experience to a variety of gamers, Madden 18 features three new game styles; Arcade, Simulation, and Competitive. 

Arcade is the high-octane version of Madden. This game style delivers a fast-paced, exciting style of play where high scores and spectacular catches are the norm and penalties are very limited. The user-controlled player is the “boss” and will feel like the most powerful player on the field. This mode is perfect for the gamer trying to get in a quick, casual, and action-filled game.

Simulation is the authentic NFL experience. This is the game style plays true to player and team ratings and NFL rules. This game style includes all supported penalties, injuries, and other random outcomes you see every Sunday.  The players on your roster and the schemes you employ will be critical to success when playing Simulation. This is the game mode for players that are fans of football and want to play a game that’s true to that form. Simulation is the default style for connected franchise mode. 

Competitive is all about head-to-head competition and tournament play. This is where user stick-skills are king and certain outcomes will be heavily weighted based on game situations and ratings thresholds.  Penalties are limited, there are no injuries, and random outcomes are rare.  Executing gameplay mechanics and making the right reads dictate success when playing Competitive. EA competitive gaming events and ranked online game modes will be set to this style by default.  Be ready for some trash talk, for this is where the Madden hardcore reside. 

Game Style Breakdown


  • User-controlled pass rushers frequently beat their blocks
  • User Hit Sticks and Strip-ball attempts will be highly successful
  • Spectacular catches occur frequently, especially by elite players
  • Broken tackles and ball carrier fake-outs are commonplace
  • Chance of throwing interceptions as a user is lower
  • Can kick longer field goals and there’s higher chance to block kicks when on defense.


  • Expect the unexpected – even highly-rated players have a slim chance of failure on occasion
  • Injuries and penalties occur at a rate on par with real-world NFL statistics and data
  • Players with elite ratings will be successful far more often than those with ratings below the elite level
  • New pass inaccuracy system allows more realistic performances from lower-rated quarterbacks
  • Fatigue and stamina have bigger impacts on gameplay.


  • Going for an interception with a wide open defensive player who has a good catch rating leads to a significantly-lower chance of them dropping the ball
  • Throwing from a clean pocket with the QB’s feet set reduces the chance of an inaccurate pass, providing they have a good pass accuracy rating based on the throw type and that you’re not using any passing mechanics
  • There’s a significantly lower chance of a dropped catch when a receiver is considered wide open and has a good catch rating
  • There’s a decreased chance of offensive wins in multiplayer catch outcomes, such as throwing to covered receiver
  • Only AI players with the big hitter trait can hit stick.

Game styles not only lets players decide their gameplay experience, they also give the Madden devs the ability to tailor the game to specific communities after launch, via Tuner Updates. This gives devs the flexibility to tune each game style individually throughout the Madden cycle, so that the preferences of one community aren’t impacted by another. 

You can easily see what game style you are playing in any mode. It will be shown on the scoreboard in the upper left corner of the screen during gameplay.

Plus, each game style can be played on each difficulty level (Rookie, Pro, All-Pro, All-Madden), to add yet another level of variety when engaging with Madden the way you want. 

Madden NFL 18 is available on the PS4 and Xbox One August 25. Stay in the conversation by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. Pre-order here for early access.

Have some thoughts on the new game styles? Chat with Madden devs @ClintOldenburg, @RG_Madden, and @RexDEAFootball on Twitter.  

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