Huge news for the 360 buyers on Madden 07!http://sports.ign.co...3/713414p1.html
June 20, 2006 - Moans and groans.
When EA demoed Madden NFL 07 for the Xbox 360 before E3 and announced that Superstar mode was not in the game, that's all you could hear from the crowd of journalists.
Let's just say, EA heard the groans loud and clear.
"Personally, as gamers, this is a mode we didn't want to be without," said producer David Ortiz (not to be confused with Big Papi). "We had to have it. This is good stuff. So as the on-field stuff started to progress, we knew we could add it in toward the end. We saw the reaction from people hoping it was in there, but we couldn't talk about it yet. We had already started talking about putting it in, and that reaction only encouraged us to try harder and put in the extra hours to get it in. But as gamers on the team, we wanted that Superstar experience if we could pull it off."
And the crew at Tiburon did pull it off, announcing this week that 360 gamers are in fact going to get the single-player feature they were screaming for.
If you're unfamiliar with NFL Superstar Hall of Fame mode, it's a new and improved version of the Superstar feature originally found in the current gen versions of Madden NFL 06. The goal of the 07 mode is to create your own player, then only play as that player from his position-specific camera angles throughout his career (you can play any position except kicker or punter in next-gen), eventually trying to earn enough stats and influence in the league to be named to the Hall of Fame. So if you create a wide receiver, you actually only play as the receiver, complete with a different camera angle showcasing your player, with special moves tied to the right analog stick for every position. That means you don't call the play (you're not the coach). You don't throw the ball (you're not the QB). And you don't play defense (you simply watch the game and cheer for the D to play strong). For those gamers who don't want to watch the defense, you do have the option to take over the D and play that side of the ball like a normal game, but if you decide to watch, the gameplay is sped up so you don't have to sit and wait too long.
Playing receiver, you're given your route, then it's up to you to run it. You can call for the ball ala Randy Moss by waving your arm, but as a rookie, who is going to listen to you? The better you play, the more influence you gain on your team and around the league, so as you build up a rep, that QB will start looking your way more often. Each play, you're given your route assignment, so it's your job to work your way open to get the ball.
As you play, you'll quickly realize that even if you have skills, your teammates play a major role in shaping your superstar. If your created receiver gets drafted by the Colts and Peyton Manning gets injured, obviously your stats are going to take a hit as Jim Sorgi throws the ball at your feet instead of hitting you in stride (although you won't have to worry about the passing cone this year as it's still there, but now turned off by default).
Before every drive, you select your role in the scheme. Using the receiver example, you can play as a Possession Receiver, and this will increase your catching ability and the QB accuracy. You can play as a Burner, and this will send you deep, affecting not only your speed and awareness, but it will also negatively affect the rating of the CB trying to cover you one-on-one. Or you can be the Lone Wolf, forgetting about the team game and trying to rack up as many yards and catches as possible. As a cornerback, your roles are Coverage DB, a Blitz Specialist, or again, the Lone Wolf. This all leads to character development and how you're viewed as a teammate, adding extra depth beyond simply catching passes over the middle or picking off a pass and trying to take it to the house.
Pile on the stats and one day you'll be inducted into the Hall of Fame. But you won't be the only legend in the game as EA Sports went out and signed approximately 160 legends this year for you to unlock in Madden. Players like Barry Sanders, Steve Largent, Walter Payton, Earl Campbell, Deacon Jones, Dan Fouts, and Sonny Jurgensen. Some, like Sanders, have dominated Madden games in the past. Others like Earl Campbell, might just make those Truck Stick moves more lethal than ever.
Added Ortiz: "In Superstar mode, your goal is to get your player to the Hall of Fame, then on top of that we have a bunch of Hall of Fame players for gamers to unlock. In the 360, you unlock the Hall of Fame players all kinds of ways in the game. And once you unlock those Hall of Fame players, you can use them on your regular teams inside and outside of Franchise mode. And what happens with our Hall of Fame players, there are different ways to unlock them through different tasks and through Madden Gamer Level. Then once you unlock these guys you unlock a template for a type of player you can build in create-a-player. So how create-a-player works, it's driven by the type of template you have for your guy. You can make a scrambling quarterback, a pocket passer, a bounce quarterback, and his initial limits are driven by what player type he is. But once you take him into Franchise mode, you can continue to develop him in every area. He starts out as a type of player based on that initial template. Once you unlock Hall of Fame players, you actually unlock that type of guy. So if you unlock Barry Sanders, a player who is strong, a slasher with good speed, by default, you wouldn't be able to create a Barry Sanders-like player right out of the box, but once you unlock him, you can create a Barry Sanders-like player."
There will, however, be some notable differences between Superstar modes in current and next gen. "We don't have all of the same off the field features," explains Ortiz. "Instead of the apartment, we base the game around your calendar. You still hire and fire your agent, you still have different quality level of agents who can help you improve in different areas of the game. But, for example, we don't have the movie scripts. That's not something that we went after. We wanted you to focus more on training your player. You can still do stuff like demand a trade. You still will get different offers for endorsements. All of that still happens in the 360 as well, but again, our forcus is centered around the on-field experience. We're really trying to use the mini-games to develop the players. Things like the 40, things like the bench, things like the position specific drills, and tying those into Superstar mode as well to help shift the focus to on the field."
And once you get your player on the field, the Madden team is already picking favorite positions.
"I like playing running back, quarterback, safety, and middle linebacker," says Ortiz. "Offensive lineman is actually pretty cool. You're plowing open holes and keeping pressure off of the quarterback. It's just a different level of tension and anticipation playing each position. Safety is very cool because you can see plays develop and then run up and make the big hit. Strong safety is cool because you can blitz a lot, but then you're also back there in coverage. It's a nice cross between playing linebacker and safety."
And while adding Superstar mode is great, what about Owner mode?
"Owner is not a focus for us this year," says Ortiz. "We were excited with everything we've added this year. From the Madden Gamer Level to the mini-games to the player rehab and development throughout the season, then adding in Superstar mode towards the end, we think, there should be no question about the depth of this product and what we're giving users this year. Add in things like Live Opponent, new ways for people to experience Franchise mode, and we'll see how people respond then go back to the drawing board for next year. Everything we do, we really want to tailor it for next-gen. We didn't want to rush Owner mode in."
Looks like all of you wannabe Jerry Jones' will have to wait at least another season to raise the price of popcorn.
Until then, it seems like EA is turning a lot of those initial moans and groans to cheers with Madden 360.
The feature sounds amazing, and from what I've seen on current gen, is a huge improvement over Superstar mode from last year.
If it plays as good as it sounds, this will be the mode everyone is talking about come August as they try to make it to the Hall of Fame from every position.
Now, if they could only get to working on Owner mode…