Madden 21 Playbooks and AI changes REVEALED: Gridiron Notes, Live Playbooks, News, Updates & more

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Now is the time for Madden 21 fans to stay tuned, as there is tons of information coming out about the game.

We've gotten a closed beta, and developer insights and overviews on changes via Gridiron Notes and developer streams.


So far we've learned a ton about gameplay, Franchise Mode, and Face of the Franchise with developer insight. We've also gotten a ton of information this ratings season about the best players in the game!

The next Gridiron Notes reveal has covered playbooks and AI in Madden 21. Let's go over what it included.

More Realistic Playbooks on Both Sides of the Ball

Offensive and defensive sets are treated differently by each NFL team. Just because a team runs a base 4-3 setup, doesn't mean it will always have the 4-3 normal formation in their repertoire.

This is going to be reflected in Madden 21, with more diversity given to each team according to how they utilize their formations in real life.

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This also means some new formations and plays that are signature to certain teams.

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Live Playbooks

The first major thing revealed in this week's Gridiron Notes are that playbooks will be updated throughout the season as plays are added and things are adjusted via Live Playbooks.

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The example given in the post is that with the new coaching structure for the Dallas Cowboys, we could see some new flair on offense and defense that the game will have to account for with updates after release.

Defensive Adjustments When Facing Motion

Motion was a bit of a broken mechanic in Madden 20, where players could spam adjustments to catch a defense off-guard. This was a game-only phenomena, and something not really reflected in the NFL.

This has been remedied in Madden 21 by having defenders automatically adjust to offensive motion - much like the adjustments for an audible.

This will be a setting that can be turned off, so players that would prefer more control can keep it that way.

AI Adjustments

A bulk of this week's Gridiron Notes center around AI and functionality.


Some of the biggest changes in this direction center around movement - including changes to how HBs run screen routes in traffic, how blockers handle pressure during screen plays, how HBs receive handoffs (now kept to the exact same speed for each different kind of run play), wide receiver stances, wide receivers being able to move faster after making a catch rather than pausing in place (screens), QB response to pressure (movement for scramblers, throwing it away for passers), complexity around receiver and defender interactions under pressed coverage (with a complex interaction centered around Release and Man Coverage ratings that will help expand the skill gap between players), and position-specific animations for offensive motion.

There are also changes to AI coaching, and how AI handles things like time management and play selection - as well as intelligent audibles made according to defensive formations and package recognition.

Closed Beta feedback is up next!

At the end of each Gridiron Notes entry, we receive the topic for the next set.

This week's Gridiron Notes revealed that feedback from the Closed Beta is next on the list - and will come out 28 July!

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Thus far Gridiron notes have covered gameplay, Franchise Mode, Face of the Franchise, and now playbooks and AI.

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Gameplay footage?

Despite fans keeping up hope that we'll receive significant in-game footage, we've yet to get it in the Gridiron Notes and developer streams so far.

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We have gotten some awesome screenshots, but it's nothing compared to seeing the game in-action.


For that, it looks like we'll have to continue to be patient. But perhaps the Closed Beta Gridiron Notes coming 28 July will change this up.

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