Madden 21 Create-A-Play: It’s time EA let us loose

With EA Sports looking to get its edge back, will they give players the freedom to be creative?

Tom Owen by Tom Owen
madden 21 features create a play

Its currently the NFL offseason, but that doesn’t mean EA Sports aren’t squirreling away to make the final adjustments to Madden 21 which is due to be released in August 2020.

With this being the first Madden on the next-gen consoles, EA Sports will be looking for ways to utilize the power of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Add to this the announcement that the NFL is officially licensing 2K Sports again for the best part of 15 years and Madden 21 could be a high profile release.

Some people want to see an NFL Head Coach return, with others pushing for an NFL Blitz type game mode to come back into the fold. Either way, the thing that 2K is famous for is making their games customizable to a high degree.

With this in mind, EA Sports might also consider reviving ‘Create-a-Play’ mode.

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History of Create-a-Play

madden 2004 create a play
SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE: Fans often wonder why we could do it in 2004 but not 2020

There is a list of things that Madden gamers would like to see changed about the game. But the things that seem to annoy them the most, is what has been in the game previous but then removed.

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The idea that new and futuristic game modes are complex and difficult to design is plausible and fans are willing to give EA Sports a free pass for a while. But they are far less accepting if its been in previously and EA Sports have proved it can work.

Create-a-play was a staple in the game from around 2003 to 2007, with players using a grid-like tool in the playbooks section to design plays from scratch. This was a great option that really immersed the player in the sport if they were that way inclined.

Some would spend hours producing their own playbooks full of an offense changing how football was played. Which matches how the NFL actually transitions. Whether its new wildcat formations or even the dynamic playbooks we saw in Madden 20, we know that the NFL moves fast and breaks new ground every season.

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Unfortunately, it was removed from the games around the turn of the decade. There are two lines of belief about it. One is that the NFL wasn’t a fan of allowing too much customization as it had the potential to undermine the credibility of the sport if fans took it down the route of making silly plays. Although this is somewhat unlikely.

A more plausible reason is that with the rise of online gaming, the ability to customize plays created the ability to make cheesy plays that would make for a terrible experience for online opponents.

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Whatever the cause, we haven’t seen the option in Madden for a long time.

What would it look like in Madden 21?

Structure and rules – to prevent the spamming of certain mechanisms it would need to be more controlled than it was in the previous versions. With certain limits on what certain players could do so that it would still fit within the games designed animations.

More ability to cut and paste playbooks – this should be intertwined with the ability to create and customize playbooks. Picking sets of plays from different playbooks and matching the personnel to your franchise or MUT team.

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Playcall and player stats limits – we have covered these before and this would go hand in hand with Create-a-play. Having a set limit on the number of times a play can be called would force players to come up with more options and engage properly in Create-a-play modes.

Tom Owen