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Madden NFL 21 Announced With First Details On Gameplay Improvements, Career Mode, And More

EA Sports has officially announced Madden NFL 21, and it promises a number of new features and improvements.


Electronic Arts has officially announced Madden NFL 21, and shared the first details about what to expect from this year's professional football game.

Madden 21's release date is set for August 28 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and it features Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson on the cover--which is a bit different this year. The cover features five different images of Jackson, standing in different poses--and sometimes he's not in his jersey at all. It's a striking and very different cover than what we're used to--maybe that's why Jackson's teammates looked so surprised and impressed.

Madden NFL 21 box art with Lamar Jackson
Madden NFL 21 box art with Lamar Jackson

New Features In Madden 21

EA Sports is promising to "bring players closer to the field than ever before" with things like improved ball-carrier mechanics and "full control" for running backs and receivers. Madden NFL 21 also boasts "enhanced D-line mechanics" to give pass-rushers more options.

You can check out the first screenshots for Madden NFL 21 in the gallery below. The first trailer has also been released, showcasing some of what to expect from the new Madden game.

EA Sports also created a system that allows for more "realistic" open-field tackling, which sounds like it could be a nice improvement. EA says players will have more control to make big stops in the clutch. Additionally, there are more player-controlled celebrations that allow you to play with more flair.

In addition to the control changes, Madden NFL 21 will have new on-field camera shots and and "improved player awareness" on the field to help you execute plays better.

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EA Sports is also bringing back the single-player campaign mode. In Madden NFL 21, it's called Face of the Franchise: Rise to Fame, and it's described as a "playable documentary." You create a character and then take them through high school, college, and then to the NFL. In high school, your character is a quarterback, but you can choose to be a running back or a wide receiver when moving to college. This is a greater level of choice than in Madden NFL 20's career mode, QB1, where you could only be a QB.

Additionally, EA Sports confirmed that Madden NFL 21 is bringing back the X-Factor super-abilities from last year's game, and adding 50 more of these to the mix. Additionally, a new Live Playbooks 2.0 feature is coming, along with more content for the uber-popular Ultimate Team mode.

Early Access

Everyone who pre-orders the Madden NFL 21 MVP Edition will get access to the game three days early, as well as an "Elite Item and "Power Up" for Lamar Jackson. MVP purchasers will also get various extras for the Ultimate Team mode.

EA Access and Origin Access Basic members will get time-limited early access to Madden NFL 21, along with some unspecified in-game "perks" and 10 percent off the full game. Origin Access Premier members will get all of this, in addition to access to the full game at no extra cost.

Next-Gen "Dual Entitlement" Free Upgrade

Another thing to know is those who buy Madden NFL 21 on Xbox One or PS4 can get the Xbox Series X or PS5 version for free, so long as they buy the game before Madden NFL 22 is released in 2021. Yes, that's right, EA Sports has also announced Madden NFL 22 today. That should be no surprise, however, as the EA and the NFL recently agreed to a deal that sees EA remain the exclusive developer of simulation-based NFL games. 2K Sports will develop an arcade-style NFL game in the year ahead. EA also noted that physical discs won't allow you to upgrade to a next-gen version if you buy a disc-less console (which, as of now, would only apply on the Sony side and its PS5 digital edition).

More details about Madden NFL 21 will be announced during EA Play Live 2020 on June 18.

Madden NFL Mobile And Madden NFL For Stadia

EA also confirmed that the Madden mobile game, Madden NFL Mobile for iOS and Android, will introduce a new season of content this summer. Additionally, EA said a product called "Madden NFL" will come to Google Stadia this winter, but it's unclear what this is.

The Madden series has performed well in recent years, with Madden NFL 20's setting a new record for the highest digital sales at launch. For the first time in the franchise's history, the number of digital copies sold in the first week exceeded physical units.

Madden is a sales juggernaut. Madden NFL 20 was the third best-selling game of 2019 in the US, with only Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order outpacing it.

The 2020 NFL season is expected to begin in September, despite concerns around COVID-19.

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