Madden NFL 12 Q&A - All About Ultimate Team

We talk to EA about trades, legendary players, and more in this look at Madden's card-collecting mode.

A few years back, EA surprised a lot of Madden fans when it introduced a new downloadable game mode called Madden Ultimate Team. Besides just the fact that it was a free add-on from EA--how often does that happen?--Madden Ultimate Team was an interesting concept because it took the manliest of sports and turned it into what was essentially a collectible card game. (Click here for the full breakdown of Ultimate Team if you've never played it before.) Now Madden Ultimate Team has been rolled into the full game, and we recently spoke with associate producer Donny Moore to see what's new.

GameSpot: Was there a dominant string of feedback you received from fans after releasing last year's version of Madden Ultimate Team?

Donny Moore: I think most of the feedback we received revolved around two things: trades and finishing online games. I have good news to report on both fronts: Madden Ultimate Team 12 will indeed have a trading feature and we have also been working on some things to reduce the number of games that end in a quit.

GS: How did you go about balancing the desire to address fan feedback with implementing some of the ideas you guys were already working on?

DM: This is one area where we designers on the Madden Ultimate Team and the fans are pretty much in sync. Trades were by far the number one most requested feature on the message boards and forums. Josh Looman (senior designer on Madden NFL 12) has been wanting to add this since the inception of MUT back in Madden 10. So we are really happy to be able to deliver trading in MUT 12.

GS: What are the biggest additions to Ultimate Team this year? Any previous aspects of it that have been removed?

DM: Like mentioned previously, the number one new feature this year is trades. Any types of cards can be traded--player, stadium, coach, playbook, etc. You can trade with friends or search through the trade block for cards that you want to acquire. You also have the ability to put up your own cards for trade to see if anyone out there in the MUT universe is interested in your card. The good news is that we have a robust search feature that allows you to target certain positions and overall ranges, so you don't have to sift through hundreds of spam trade offers like you might be familiar with from playing fantasy football. Our search allows you to only get legit offers basically. The number two major feature for us this year and something that we are super excited about in Madden Ultimate Team 12 is our MUT Legends and our brand new Legendary Pack. The Legendary Pack will contain a mix of the highest value cards, plus a chance at getting a MUT Legend card. We have 13 of the biggest stars to ever play in the NFL: Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice, Gale Sayers, Marcus Allen, Dan Marino, Lawrence Taylor, Deion Sanders, Rod Woodson, Marshall Faulk, Eric Dickerson, Eddie George, and Shaun Alexander.

Another cool aspect with the Legends is that there will be multiple versions of each of the legends based on their most memorable moments and best seasons. So you will have a Jerry Rice rookie card, as well as a Jerry Rice Oakland card from later in his career. Each one of these Legend Career cards will be rated based on that player, at that point in his career. So for example, Rod Woodson came into the league as a cornerback and later moved to safety. Walter Payton as a rookie was incredibly fast and elusive, whereas later in his career at Super Bowl XX, he was more of a power back. We have that captured here with the Legend cards. The player equipment will also be time specific so a young Jerry Rice will not be wearing gloves, whereas he will later in his career for the other cards. No features have been removed in MUT 12.

GS: Ultimate Team has always seemed like one of those modes geared toward the more diehard Madden player. Have you done anything to make it more appealing to the more casual fan?

DM: We have some very cool reward cards for anyone who plays the demo this year. So we are hoping to reach a more mass audience with that feature. I also feel that the very fact that these MUT Legends are in the game and are exclusive to the Madden Ultimate Team mode only is very appealing for any NFL football fan.

GS: Any final words of advice to give our readers a little leg up on the competition?

DM: First thing I would say is that you are missing out if you are not playing online games and earning coins. The entire game of Madden Ultimate Team is built around the concept that you can literally earn your way to the best team and the best players by completing games and earning coins. The trick here that a lot of our gamers miss is if you quit out, you get zero coins and you lose contracts…not to mention is a pretty scumbag type of thing to do, and it leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth. Other than that piece of advice, I would suggest the collectors out there to really watch out for the collections this year that we release. We have some cool things planned and some super-rare reward cards planned once you finish the collection.

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Discussion

34 comments
Jonny_Beach
Jonny_Beach

I owned the original Madden for the Sega Genesis. I own Madden 2001 - the current Madden. Please, please, please, stop wasting time on this sort of thing and focus on improving the gameplay. At the end of the day, all of the bells and whistles don't matter. What matters is the gameplay. Asteroids, Space Invaders, Tetris, and Pacman had little whistles and bells. The solid gameplay is what mattered!!! I am passionate about playing the game in franchise mode and improving my players over time! Last year was a disapointment because my players would perform really well and not get rewarded with increased abilities. Madden is my favorite game by far! I can't wait until 8/30!

andrewerdna100
andrewerdna100

ea nobody cares about ultimate team. iveheard you "fixed 100 and more things in franchise mode" according to your trailer. well show us and give us proof instead of this crap that isnt going to get people buying the game.

Bob194
Bob194

Oh, and did I mention?. . . . F*&^ Ultimate team!!! Franchise mode has been the same/gotten worse since 02!!! WTF!!!

Bob194
Bob194

People actually play Ultimate team? I would consider myself a die hard madden player, been buying it every year since 02, and I play franchise mode and only franchise mode. Ultimate team looks like a rip off and a joke.

KP_Maker
KP_Maker

Also for the love of having a life outside of gaming can we please have an option that would allow us to skip ALL the stupid extra highlight material and let us focus on the game. e.g. Pick play, play play, pick another play, play that play Not Pick play, play play, watch 10 secs of stupid video reel rehashed over and over and over and over. Keep all that stupid commentary for folks that do not have cable and have never watched a NFL game. Let me just play the game! Thank you.

KP_Maker
KP_Maker

Listen up EA, for the love of common sense please give us a 360 degree camera where we can rotate it at any time during the game allowing us to view the game from either side line like Super Tecmo Bowl or from the defensive point of view while playing on defense. How many years have we gone without this? Is it that hard for your play testers to figure out? You stinking cash cow punks!

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

they have a weird definition on 'free' at EA!

DirtyAl
DirtyAl

Who gives a s@#t about Ultimate Team? Can I increase ticket prices and change team location and still keep the names and uniforms? Can I have a draft camp and bring in potential draft choices for workouts and see what I'm getting? Can I get a weekly show with highlights and some team drama?

UniverseIX
UniverseIX

Minigames don't make a game better. Perfect the game play of the actual game, EA, Please?

ruggdog
ruggdog

Really - digital cards - lame - They need to improve franchise mode -- After season one the games AI has no AI.

MrMagik33
MrMagik33

Dont get me wrong, I do love playing Madden but oh how i miss the days of having more than just ONE football title to choose from. This interview was lame and pointless. STR8 BS

jaijames
jaijames

how about talking about the time shift tackling and all the other issues that game has

bguy9
bguy9

I don't care at all about Ultimate Team. EA, please stop pushing your gimmicks on us and actually update the gameplay and game modes.

rando22
rando22

probably THE most pointless interview ever

JMcN76
JMcN76

Ultimate Team? Wow, I'm excited now.....um, yeah....

lucas182
lucas182

ULTIMATE TEAM??! are you kidding me?! Who the heck cares?! WHAT FAN FEEDBACK?! Fix the damn franchise and superstar modes you flippin TOOLS!

packers91
packers91

I've said this a thousand times. But Tiburon needs to take a few hundred pages from the Canadian's book. Holy crap has the NHL series been good in the past years

packers91
packers91

ultimate team sucks if you don't want to pay because you have to try to win with a 54 overall team. I don't care how good you are. If your receivers are wide open and won't catch you can't win a bloody game

drewparm
drewparm

@LilRoss2k3 The license was just extended. They have no competition and have no idea what to do. We get this crap which is just a money making scheme for the idiots who actually buy coins so they can get packs of imaginary cards

jaijames
jaijames

who cares about ultimate teams. i dont think anyone would miss it if was gone

ElChonchoDiaz
ElChonchoDiaz

when are they going to realize nobody cares about ultimate teams? We want better single player and multiplayer franchise modes and gameplay in those.

vndsl216
vndsl216

EA Never focus on gameplay of things that matter like when DB have a chance to pick the ball they swat at it, or the fact that people who really know scheme kills people who just pick up a contrll today and throw the ball deep every play and actually stay in the game, or my favority qbs who run backwards to get seperation and still throw perfect passes!!! YOURE KILLING ME SMALLS

jrorl63
jrorl63

john madden should be ashamed of what this game has become

Serpens_Solida
Serpens_Solida

Even if there's a season this year, I'm not buying this crrrap.

TrapMuzik92
TrapMuzik92

"I think most of the feedback we received revolved around two things: trades and finishing online games." I call BS....most of the feedback should have been quit making the same game every year with very minor changes.

lj4dog
lj4dog

@LilRoss2k3 would the 2k people stop complaining please its almost been a decade. Ok EA just stop with Ultimate Team, what is Ultimate Team? How about making changes to what people really play like online franchises.

keyzco2008
keyzco2008

Whooo really plays 'Ultimate Team' Is this what they are really focusing on?? What happened to the days where GAMEPLAY was ALWAYS at the forefront??

holtrocks
holtrocks

@The_MaiN_MeNu o my bad in that case I HATE EA TIBURON

The_MaiN_MeNu
The_MaiN_MeNu

@holtrocks Just fyi, EA sports just publishes the game, Tiburon is the actual developer.

LilRoss2k3
LilRoss2k3

ugh...i'm so sick of this exclusive license...haven't played an NFL game since NFL 2k5...will it ever end????

fkbwii
fkbwii

If only the people who licensed the NFL to EA Sports played Madden, then they wouldn't continue signing the contract, and, instead, sign with 2k Sports.

Droogie_1
Droogie_1

we need another all pro football (2k8 is still WAY better than any madden game; hell, 2k5 is as well.)! looks like EA is trying to snatch up the rights to past players as well now to make that harder. eff the NFL...

holtrocks
holtrocks

See that the number #1 new thing is trading the cards who even played that AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

holtrocks
holtrocks

Fire em all EA sports is the only part of EA i hate.