Feature Article

Madden NFL 24 Release Date, Franchise, Superstar Mode, And More

The game's reveal was a foregone conclusion, of course, but the details are always worth diving into.

Madden NFL 24 has officially been revealed by EA, giving football gamers their annual fix of the only NFL sim on the market. This year's game is dedicated to "foundational football," said senior design director Connor Dougan in an interview with GameSpot, which of course translates to many different aspects of the game getting addressed.

In addition to that, Franchise players have several new features to look forward to, and the nostalgic Superstar mode makes its return with a greater emphasis on molding your own NFL athlete across an entire career. Here's everything you need to know about Madden 24.

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Now Playing: Madden 24 Official Reveal Trailer

Madden 24 beta start time and how to play

Before we get into the details, some players are surely already sold on the game simply because it's the newest Madden. We know how you feel, so if all you care about are the beta details, hang tight, as EA has not yet revealed the beta's start time. We know there will be one, however, as the team previously announced it. As soon as we know more, you'll find it right here in this section. The beta will likely kick off this month, June, if past years are any indication.

Madden 24 release date

Madden NFL 24 launches on PC, Xbox Series X|S, and PS5 on August 18. Those who pre-order the Deluxe Edition will get full game access three days sooner on August 15, along with additional virtual items.

Madden 24 cover star

This year's cover athlete is Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Upon hearing the news, several Bills fans excitedly jumped through tables, we assume.

Madden 24 gameplay changes

Last year's Fieldsense system reworked the fluidity of gameplay, and this year's game seeks to expand on that with tweaks to wide receivers, who will do a better job of catching the ball in stride, like on passes using the Skill-Based Passing system. This should make it so receivers don't need to slow down to make a well-placed catch. New diving catches and no-look passes, among other new animations, are meant to further diversify what players will experience on the field play after play. On defense, new wrap tackles, scoop tackles, and Hit Stick animations help do the same.

Madden developer EA Tiburon says the focus on foundational football affects most every aspect of the game. New blocking logic, which EA calls the Tactical Blocking System, is said to allow linemen to identify blocking assignments more intelligently--if this works well, it would address one of Madden's most viral complaints. Additional logic and animations in this regard will allow for chip-blocks, linemen branching in and out of double teams on the fly, and pushing the pile. Collectively, this is meant to enhance the running game specifically.

Offensive linemen will now push the pile in some situations.
Offensive linemen will now push the pile in some situations.

AI behaviors are getting some improvements, too. EA said that CPU quarterbacks will now use the Skill-Based Passing system, which was added last year but not utilized by AI opponents, and defensive backs will now react more quickly to balls they can see--such as on slants and crossing patterns. Inversely, they will react more slowly to balls behind their backs. In total, this is meant to increase the number of break-ups and interceptions on those hard-to-cover cut patterns, while also lowering the number of times DBs seem to have a sixth sense for the ball when their back is to the play.

Fumble animations have also been added, in an effort to create more realistic pile-ups, as well as new scoop-and-score animations. Onside kicks have also received new bouncing ball physics, which may make them more winnable for the kicking team--though hopefully they remain as low-percentage a play as they are in real life.

An oddity among the game's major bullet point new features is what EA is calling Sapien technology. Dougan told me it represents the team's rework of the player skeleton system--something he added that hasn't been done in years because it's such a big undertaking. With the skeletal overhaul, Dougan said, "You can see more differentiation in terms of player size, athleticism, and then the advantage is that this skeleton, now that it has [better] proportions, it makes our animations look a lot smoother."

It sounds as though this is more than a cosmetic alteration, and I'm eager to get my hands on the game and try it for myself. Fieldsense definitely improved animations and fluidity of movement last year, and it sounds like Sapien will further enhance that part of the game, provided all goes as well as the team intends.

For the first time in the series, Madden will allow for cross-play, though there are a few wrinkles to be aware of. We broke this down further in our Madden cross-play guide.

Madden 24 Franchise mode changes and new features

For some players, the only mode that matters is Franchise. EA has been touting the addition of new commissioner tools for a while now, and the changes coming to Madden 24 were curated with the help of the community.

Commissioners will now be able to tweak the relationship between age and XP. Currently, younger players need much less XP to earn skill points, and those milestones increase as players age, but these specifics will now be customizable. Regression sliders will also be changeable, giving a commish the ability to finetune the age at which players start to lose a step or two. They will also be able to turn off M Factors, the game's way of simulating home-field advantage and momentum that was added a few years ago but hasn't always been enjoyed by the community.

A maddening (no pun intended) current "feature," which I honestly thought was a bug, has been the way the game reorders your depth chart whenever you'd make a roster move, such as signing or releasing a player. That now has its own toggle, so you can make moves without resetting your depth chart to the game's default expectations each time. Contract restructuring arrives this year in the form of reducing a player's salary to the league minimum and spreading out the difference to the player's bonus money across remaining years. Expanded trade slots--allowing for bigger Russell Wilson-like trades--are also debuting in Madden 24. Commissioners will also be able to customize the number of free agency bids that can be placed per team per free agency period. Play cooldowns, which have been in the game previously, can now be set for offense and defense individually.

Here's your first look at Aaron Rodgers in a Jets uniform in Madden 24.
Here's your first look at Aaron Rodgers in a Jets uniform in Madden 24.

As Dougan told me, responding to community requests like these was a big point of emphasis. Another was expanding coaching trees. In Madden 24, offensive and defensive coordinators, as well as head coaches, each now have an additional skill tree to unlock as players progress through their Franchise mode.

Another change for the GM-minded players comes during the NFL Draft. While the scouting system seems to be unchanged from Madden 22's overhaul, draft classes have been expanded to include more player variety, including a few archetypal draftees who may be clones of legendary players, some who may possess 99-rated attributes like Break Tackle even as a rookie, and out-of-position players, who may be drafted at one spot but thrive in another, like the QB-turned-WR trajectory we see some players follow. These players will remain rare, Dougan told me, but some such players can be found at least some of the time, now that there are 50 new and unique draft generators added to Madden 24.

The team has also decided to bring back and expand minigames, including weekly practice drills, which had become automated in recent years. Players will still be able to choose Focus Players each week, but the process of improving them will be done manually like it used to be. Additionally, Training Camp has been added to the game, giving Franchise players more activities to do between regular seasons.

Lastly, for players who prefer to move their teams and start fresh in a new city with a new team name and jerseys to match, 32 new fake franchises have been added to the game as options when you're packing up and heading out of town for new horizons. For such fantasy-minded players, a snake draft option has been added to fantasy drafts, finally mirroring the popular draft method of fantasy football players.

Madden 24 Superstar mode returns

Face of the Franchise is out for Madden 24, replaced with the mode that it itself once replaced. Superstar mode is back, and Dougan told me that reverting to the name wasn't just for nostalgia, though that was part of it, too. "For the last couple of years, we've looked at Face of the Franchise like 'What can it really be?' And we were like, 'Well, it can be a modernized version of Superstar," Dougan said, "and we felt like we want to switch that name, but we didn't want to switch it until it's right."

Players will create their Superstar, perform Combine drills, which in turn affect their draft status. Once you're on a team, a moment-to-moment grading system will provide more feedback in every game, in a way that sounds similar to NBA 2K's MyPlayer grading system. "If you're throwing into coverage, or if you're a DB and you're not covering a guy, you get that moment-to-moment feedback," Dougan told me. New tiered abilities also sound a lot like NBA 2K's popular badge system, and players can then take their Superstar in Superstar Showdown, a revamp of The Yard, for 3v3 or 6v6 games against other players online.

#MaddenSZN is just beginning, so we'll surely have a lot more to share as the summer rolls along, all leading to the game's launch this August.

Mark Delaney on Google+

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Mark Delaney

Mark is GameSpot's guides editor, meaning he tries to keep his backlog short. His favorite genres are battle royale, sports, and horror, but he'll play pretty much anything other than fighters. In his spare time, he likes biking around Portland, listening to Circa Survive, and advocating for animal liberation.

Madden NFL 24

Madden NFL 24

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