Madden NFL 16 Primer: Why 'Draft Champions' Matters

Madden 16 Could See ‘True Play-Action’ in 2015

Everyone is thinking about Madden 15, but Madden devs are always thinking about the future.
Everyone is thinking about Madden 15, but Madden devs are always thinking about the future.

Everyone is talking about Madden 15 right now with E3 2014 taking place, and the first glimpses and info emerging regarding the game and its renewed focus on defense. It was in an interview with Creative Director Rex Dickson, however, that we might have gleaned some insight into what’s on the horizon for next-year’s inevitable Madden NFL 16 or beyond.

Madden’s Rex Dickson spoke with Virtual Sports Network following EA’s E3 preview on Monday, and while the 40-minute-long interview talked predominantly about this year’s Madden NFL 15 game, he did answer a specific question about the depth of play-action in the franchise. Dickson explained that a lot needs to be done from a technical standpoint to introduce a concept like “true play-action” to Madden, but it’s very much on their radar and could arrive as early as Madden 16.

“True play-action,” in a nutshell, essentially means the defense has a memory of plays that have been run, and can become susceptible to PA based on plays and situations that emerged prior. In his interview, Dickson gives the example of running a Power-O three times in a row successfully, and triggering a recognition from the defense that could set them up for the PA Power O — the play-action variant of the very running play that defenders were beginning to jump. Or, running a FB dive a few times successfully, and freeing up the FB dive flip play as defenders start to make assumptions on your play.

Play-action can actually work quite well now against user-controlled safeties or cornerbacks, provided you first set your opponent up, but Madden’s goal is to one day build such behavior into the game itself. With the running game in the NFL taking more and more of a backseat, play-action has become very important to get the most out of what running game you do have.

Madden 15 is already said to include improvements to its adaptive A.I., which somewhat similarly causes defenders to understand an offense and tighten up as a result, so the concept of true play-action doesn’t sound completely out of reach based on what’s already in the game, and Dickson’s own comments. It should of course be stressed that Madden 16 hasn’t approached the development stages yet, and won’t anytime soon, but it’s interesting to note that this sort of play-action overhaul is not only on Dickson’s radar, but was described as something they “know they need to do.”

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