Electronic Arts has revealed the first gameplay trailer for Madden 21, along with the new cover athlete for this year, the 23-year-old QB for the Baltimore Ravens, Lamar Jackson. The game is coming soon and will be due for all of the current-gen platforms. As of now the next iteration of the legendary sports franchise is due for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The Madden 21 release date is set for August 25, 2020.
And that’s not all, EA also revealed some new gameplay changes coming this year as well. The biggest changes involve improvements to ball tracking and the complexity of plays. A lot of this will be handled by the new Stick-Skill Ball Carrier System. The AI has been tuned to more smartly apply defensive rushing and other tactics as well.
And for those curious, there will be a next-gen release at some point. According to EA, the next-generation versions will also have features that are not available on the PS4 and Xbox One. This was a common thing in the era of the previous console era. The PS2 versions of Madden titles would scale back to the complexity of game introductions, for example. So we can expect to see something similar with the PS4 and Xbox One variants. Also, there will be support for Smart Delivery on the Xbox Series X. Microsoft will hand out the digital version of the Series X to those that buy it via the Xbox One, so that’s cool.
EA released a new trailer for the game to celebrate the Madden 21 release date and the announcement of the new cover athlete.
And since we’re stuck deep in the sports-less era of COVID-19, there has been a very interesting change. Electronic Arts and 2K Sports always make a big deal out of the cover art for their various games. Each year, a big name in the particular sport becomes the face of the tie-in game with a prominent showing on the game case. That usually involves a still image captured from a special photoshoot, trouble is, COVID-19 has made it impossible to get those stills.
So with Madden 21, cover athlete and 2019 League MVP Lamar Jackson collaborated with the team photographer for the Ravens, Shawn Hubbard. The two came together to build a very special cover for this year’s game. The duo assembled unique covers for each version of the game from stills throughout the course of Jackson’s career in the NFL.
“Generally a global pandemic is a bad thing,” Hubbard said Tuesday on Twitter. “However, when @EAMaddenNFL wasn’t able to do their annual cover shoot, they came to the @Ravens and I to use my image library to create these covers.” Hubbard said in an interview with the Ravens’ website that it was a “huge honor,” admitting he’s never played a Madden title before. Still, it’s great to see a talented young player getting some solid recognition and a special touch in the screwed up year of 2020.