Madden 22 Revealed With Two Cover Stars: Tom Brady And Patrick Mahomes

EA's professional football game is back this August with a new home field advantage system.

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Madden NFL 22 is coming in August and it'll have not one but two cover stars, just as EA's goat-themed teasers suggested. Defending Super Bowl champion Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and QB Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs--the two superstars who faced off in the Super Bowl earlier this year--will grace the cover of the new game.

Madden NFL 22 launches on August 20 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Steam, Origin, Google Stadia, and mobile.

EA is calling this year's game the "most authentic virtual football experience to date," and one of its newest features is themed around momentum and home field advantage. The aim here to capture the feeling of the highs and lows of swings in action that happens in real football. There is a performance-based momentum meter in the game now that shifts back and forth depending on what happens on the field, and the game experience will change based on that.

Madden NFL 22 also has a new home field advantage feature, which is meant to replicate how it is statistically and historically more difficult to win on the road. Each of the 32 teams will have their own unique home field advantage. For the Seattle Seahawks, when the team is performing well, the play art will become scrambled for the opposing team, which will make it more difficult to execute plays.

This is meant to highlight how Seattle is known for having a very loud crowd. In Chicago, meanwhile, the kick meter for the opposing team will be more difficult in a bid to represent how windy and cold and it can be in Chicago at certain times of the year. In Denver, players will lose stamina more quickly due to the higher elevation at Mile High Stadium.

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Another area of focus for Madden NFL 22 was on improving the skill and smarts of the AI. Producer Clint Oldenburg revealed that 80% of Madden 21 games were played against the computer as opposed to other humans, which is why EA is investing so much in making the AI opponents more challenging and realistic to play against.

In terms of on-the-field improvements, Madden NFL 22 marks the second year of EA Sports using the NFL's own on-field player statistics. NFL players wear dongles in real games that measure all manner of performance attributes, and the NFL shares this with EA. According to executive producer Seann Graddy, Madden is the only sports game on the world to offer this level of sophistication and depth when it comes to representing a player's real-world attributes.

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Thanks to this information, you can expect better, more realistic-looking animations across the board, while EA Sports has made improvements to tackling and the variety of tackles you'll see that are dependent on a particular situation and setup between ball-carrier and defender. Additionally, toe drag catches are sidelines are now more accurate, while the feeling of turning up the field after a catch is now more authentic to what it would be like in real life, EA says.

Another improvement for Madden NFL 22 is the game day atmosphere. EA says it has remastered the real-world crowd audio, while there are new player celebrations and sideline reactions that are meant to better represent what you might see on a TV broadcast.

Importantly, EA said that Madden NFL 22's new dynamic gameday, gameday atmosphere, gameday momentum, and next-gen stats will only be available on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles. But beyond that, EA says it's looking to have parity across all versions of Madden NFL 22.

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Franchise mode is also getting a lot of attention this year, which is something that fans might be happy to know after Madden NFL 21 dropped the ball, so to speak. EA delivered multiple post-launch updates to Madden NFL 21's Franchise mode to improve the experience, but it wasn't enough for some, and EA is addressing that feedback in Madden NFL 22.

For Madden NFL 22, one of the biggest new community-requested features is a Franchise Staff option. This allows you to build, grow, and customize four different staff positions, including head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, and a player personnel coach. Each has its own distinct skill tree, so you'll be able to shape and scope your coaches to your liking.

Franchise mode also gets a new weekly strategies feature that allows players to set different strategies they want to employ on a given week, while Franchise mode now has cinematics to give it a more personalized feel that aims to help you better connect to your fantasy team. The Franchise hub, too, has been revamped--it's one of the first and most noticeable things you'll see when you boot up Franchise for the first time. It's not unlike the drastic changes that EA Sports made with NHL 21's Franchise mode in this department.

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Not all of the planned improvements for Franchise mode will be available at launch, however, as one of the highly requested features--Scouting--will come in September through a live service update. That piece is important to call out, too. In the presentation GameSpot attended, the developers stressed that Madden NFL 22--like many of EA's games these days--is a live service game that will grow and evolve over time based on feedback and EA's own plans for the future.

Elsewhere, Madden NFL 22 brings back the fan-favorite The Yard mode this year. It is a stripped-down, more arcade-style football experience that people really enjoyed last year. EA is beefing it up in Madden NFL 22 with new narrative elements, though the full picture hasn't become clear yet. What we know now is that The Yard will have new locations this year and you'll be able to square off against "the biggest stars of the NFL" as you unlock new items and celebrations for your achievements. The Yard also leans into EA's overall drive toward live service with new live events and a ranked mode aimed at competitive players. Connected to this, the Superstar KO eliminator mode is back in Madden NFL 22.

The fully single-player mode is also returning in the form of a new campaign called United We Rise. It will have a new cast of characters and a new story, though EA is intentionally holding back specifics because it wants players to experience it with fresh eyes. That said, the developers say they responded to feedback from last year's story mode and believe that United We Rise will offer a solid leap over what it came with in Madden NFL 21.

It will let you be a quarterback, wide receiver, or running back--or a linebacker for the first time. As with past versions of the mode, it will tell a story about become an NFL star. Also new this year is that it has unified progression with The Yard, so you can bring your character to The Yard.

Finally, Madden NFL 22 of course brings back the popular card-based online mode Ultimate Team. EA is bringing new content to Ultimate Team this year for players to collect. EA didn't go into too much detail on what's new in Ultimate Team mode this year, however.

GameSpot will have more on Madden NFL 22 in the days and weeks ahead, including our full interview with executive producer Seann Graddy who spoke to us about why he's not afraid of 2K's new NFL games. Check back soon for the full interview.

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