The Yard has finally been revealed, and it promises to take Madden 21 to a whole other level.
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Highlight reel football
The NFL has gone from gritty, fearsome, and physical football to a flashy, uber-athletic sport in the space of 20 years.
Madden hasn't really been able to capture the new feel of the NFL, until now.
CIRCUS CATCH: Tricks, one-handers, and highlight reel plays are commonplace in The Yard
Sure, we don't see trick plays and stunning catches every snap in the NFL, but we do see them.
The usual gameplay mechanics of Franchise Mode didn't really allow their introduction without turning the meta of the game into a cheese-fest.
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Enter The Yard.
With a new game mode that has it's own playbooks, style, and swagger, EA is free to inject some pizzazz into Madden 21. And that is exactly what they have done.
Two way trick-fest
The Yard won't be for everyone. There will be few Franchise Mode players that it converts. But after the success Superstar KO had with younger players last year, The Yard is much-needed.
With House Rules creating different game styles in each location, and playbooks that look like a High School WRs dream, it is set to capture the imagination of millions.
CAN'T TRICK ME: Double-passes, false snaps, and laterals are all key in The Yard
Not only that, but players are on both offense and defense in The Yard. Creating even more gameplay wrinkles.
The QB plays safety, the HB is also an OLB, and your center plays MLB.
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With the creation of an avatar, the selection of a "prototype" and the chance to buy and unlock gear for your player, it is a melding of The Sims and Madden.
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You build Rep and earn Cred to then spend on uniforms that wouldn't be allowed near a Cam Newton wardrobe, nevermind an NFL game.
But it will allow every player to feel unique ownership over their player, their success, and of course their ridiculous plays.
Forgotten Franchise Mode?
Of course, all this new content doesn't come for free.
The Yard has seemingly come at the cost of new content for Franchise Mode.
Earlier this summer the Franchise community lashed out at EA for the lack of development and change the mode has seen over the last few years.
ON YOUR LEFT: Weird scores, unique situations, and wild plays are all promised in The Yard
#FixMaddenFranchise and #FixFranchiseMode both trended on Twitter, and The Yard is unlikely to make hardcore Franchise players feel any better.
EA has committed to making Franchise Mode a live service this year, and given a road map for its future into Madden 22. However, if their data shows The Yard drawing in more and more gameplay minutes then expect the new mode to be the direction Madden takes in the years to come.
With 2K making a non-sim NFL game soon, EA may well need to invest in The Yard to keep the more casual player and hook in the younger generation.
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