Madden 21 Closed Beta: Developer Livestream, Feedback, Gameplay, Gridiron Notes, Game Modes, X-Factor Abilities, Timeline, Invites, Rules & more

Madden 21 is building to release day, and not only have we gotten tons of reveals, but we've now gotten some great context behind changes to come.

The latest Madden 21 developer stream covered the closed beta and feedback for changes within it. Let's go over everything we learned.

Developer Stream

The most recent Madden 21 Developer Stream covered the Closed Beta and the massive amount of feedback from it.

The team went into depth on changes made around this feedback, some gameplay mechanics that were included that weren't revealed, and highlighted the most popular ideas and responses to this version of the game.

New Mechanics in the Closed Beta

The stream began with explaining some gameplay features players found in the Closed Beta that weren't yet elaborated on by developers.

These features include the DB lock on system, celebration mechanic, defensive adjustment before the snap, and ball carrier archetypes and their effect on running styles.

We got plenty of elaboration on these mechanics, which also carried over to the Gridiron Notes released after the stream that went into further depth. You can read over those Gridiron Notes here.

Then the stream pivoted into the most upvoted user feedback on Madden 21 and its Closed Beta period.

The team addressed all of the highlight points of user feedback from the Closed Beta, effectively tackling all of the points players were talking about.

This included the following issues:

  • User control on defense feeling sluggish - This was elaborated on during the stream as a purposeful change Madden 21 will be keeping to help balance the authenticity of the game on defense. The change will help prevent players from controlling 3-4 passing routes with one defender.
  • Hurdle/Truck changes - Madden 21's Closed Beta included the effort to change the hurdle and truck mechanics over to new buttons. Due to user feedback, however, these changes will be reverted in Madden 21 to their positions from Madden 20.
  • Players not reacting to thrown balls - This issue was addressed simply, the developers explained this problem largely came down to bugs in the catching system, which wasn't where the developer's wanted it by the time Closed Beta rolled around. This issue is something the team will work to smooth out before release.
  • Zone coverage doesn't feel effective - This point was covered during the stream - where the developers elaborated that this mechanic is being addressed with a system that will favor player positioning, direction, and skill ratings to impact how players will break on the ball. This will also vary across different difficulty settings.
  • Film Study brings controversy - Film Study is an X-Factor ability that was in a very unique state entering the Madden 21 Closed Beta. The development team weren't fully behind the ability making it to release in its current form, but put it into the Closed Beta to test feedback. The feedback around Film Study was very polarizing, according to the developers. As a result of the experiment, Film Study will not be in Madden 21 on release, but will rather be added later in a Madden 21 Title Update.
  • Fatigue for scrambling QBs is too severe - This feedback brought forth several interesting changes to the fatigue system for out of position runners like QBs and WRs. In the end to balance the scrambling QB playstyle, out of position runners that are hit will receive extra stamina penalties, but runners that don't get hit will receive less stamina penalties, rewarding intelligent use of the playstyle.
  • AI Pass Rush ineffectiveness - AI pass rush in the beta fell a bit below developer standards, netting an average of about 1 sack per game - where the team would really prefer the number be closer to 2. This resulted in some changes around AI pass rushing that will improve its performance to better reach these goals.
  • Past Max THP penalty when passing - This issue was addressed in the stream, where it was revealed the real issue was that often throws would be penalized with a throw power penalty and an accuracy penalty, creating too harsh of a response to these situations. Instead, the team has adjusted Madden 21 so that only one penalty will apply at a time.

Gridiron Notes

Along with the Developer Stream, we also got a new set of Madden 21 Gridiron Notes elaborating on the Closed Beta feedback, bugs, and resulting changes.

READ MORE: Madden 21 Ratings: Who are the highest rated players?

The Gridiron Notes also highlight the new game mechanics that were included in the Closed Beta. This includes ball carrier archetypes and more.

The notes offer a huge insight into Madden 21 gameplay, so you won't want to miss them!

Game Modes

Madden 21 included Play Now and Online Head-to-Head gameplay in the Closed Beta with four teams to choose from: The Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

madden 21 news updates stream
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CHANGE OF SCENERY: Tom Brady made a massive career move leaving the Patriots to join the Buccaneers

That gave players access to some of the most exciting players this year. This list includes Tom Brady leading the Buccaneers, Lamar Jackson, and defening champion Patrick Mahomes.

READ MORE: Madden 21 Editions: Cost, features, release date & more


The Madden 21 closed beta ran from 8:30 PM ET Thursday, 2 July, to 11:59PM ET Sunday, 5 July.

READ MORE: Madden 21 PS4 vs PS5: Features, cost, specs & more


Invites were sent out according to time played in MUT and Franchise Mode, and some were also sent out via social media.

READ MORE: Madden 21 Playbooks: Next reveal, Gridiron Notes, timeline & more

We don't have an exact number on the beta, but based on feedback it was massive.


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THE STAGE IS SET: Madden 21 is just around the corner

You can access Madden 21 early with pre-orders that are available now!

For more articles like this, take a look at our Madden and Madden 21 page.