By James Brightman
Year in and year out, Madden is an event unto itself for EA Sports. The game is a constant chart topper in the US and it’s one of the rare kinds of video games in the console space that even “non-gamers” will pick up at Walmart or Best Buy. For hardcore gamers and diehard pigskin fans, the Madden franchise hasn’t brought much new to the table in recent years, and EA fully admits that, which is why this month’s launch of Madden NFL 13 is so important.
“I do believe that Madden did not have the level of innovation that some of our other franchises have had,” EA Sports boss Andrew Wilson told GamesIndustry International recently. “I think they were still doing great things, they were great playing games and they were significantly more than roster updates.”
“I look at the budget, time and hours going into making those games. I look at the team this year and they made a concerted effort to put Madden right up there with FIFA, NHL and Fight Night Champion. They want to leave no doubt with fans that this is the most amazing Madden ever built. Based on what I’ve seen from the reaction I’m seeing from press, I think they’ve come very, very close to sealing that. Certainly by the time we launch, when we finish with the polish and all that, we’ll have delivered.”
Wilson would not provide a budget figure, but when we asked him if it’s been the largest investment in any Madden game to date, he replied, “Hand’s down. Without a doubt.”
He added, “What I can say is that the core gameplay team is 50 per cent bigger this year than it was last year. So as one touch point, and there is a lot of investment that goes outside of core gameplay when you think about connected-careers, everything about online seasons and cross-platform play, but the piece that changes how you play the game, that 11-on-11 twitch football, is a 50 per cent bigger team. That’s a big increase.”