*UPDATED* Madden 21: The Yard revealed! Gameplay, trailer, editions, EA Access, ratings, Franchise Mode, The Yard, Ultimate Team, latest news & everything you need to know

The NFL king returns for another year – Can EA keep their momentum going onto next-gen?

Toby Durant by Toby Durant
madden 21 release editions cover price news updates

Madden 21 is only weeks away!

EA’s NFL franchise is still the undisputed king of the sport, but what’s in store for fans this year?

Latest News – The Yard is here

Madden’s latest game mode, The Yard, has finally been revealed.

WATCH THE YARD TRAILER BELOW!

It’s a very involved and unique game mode, and we’ve explained it all for you.

Madden 21 release date

We now have a confirmed release date for Madden 21.

READ MORE: Madden needs to abandon 99 OVR and follow FIFA’s lead

Circle 28 August in your calendar. Though you can play from 25 August with early access.

Cover Athlete – Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson was the breakout star of last season and named MVP. He was the early frontrunner for the Madden 21 cover and EA did not disappoint.

Lamar Jackson celebrating in Madden
MVP: Baltimore’s star quarterback is on the Madden 21 cover

The Ravens QB has confirmed he will be on the front for Madden 21. He undoubtedly spoiled a big reveal EA had lined up, but fans were pleased to hear the news.

Trailer

The Madden 21 gameplay trailer has arrived.

WATCH THE MADDEN 21 TRAILER HERE!

With it comes new ball carrier skill stick controls, enhanced pass rush controls, better tackling, and even more celebration options than before.

Madden 21 Editions

There are three editions of Madden 21 available.

READ MORE: Madden 21 coming to Steam for PC

The Standard Edition comes in at £55/$60, with early access available if you pre-order the Deluxe Edition (£70/$75) or the MVP Edition (£80/$85).

Get your pre-orders in here.

So that’s the key news about the game, but what can you expect when you get your hands on it?

X-Factor abilities return in Madden 21

New for Madden 20, the Superstar and X-Factor abilities were an interesting addition.

Aaron Rodgers' X-Factor abilities in Madden 20
X-FACTOR: New for Madden 20, players had mixed feelings about the abilities

There was initial worry that it would be an over-powered ability that would ruin the game. In the end though they have been embraced as adding customization and strategy to the gameplay.

READ MORE: Franchise Mode tips to build a dominant team and win the Super Bowl

EA has confirmed that X-Factors will be returning of Madden 21.

Not only that, but they will be retuned and new abilities are coming into the game.

Face of the Franchise – Rise to Fame

Face of the Franchise returns for year 2!

With it comes an expanded back story going all the way back to High School and extend even further into your NFL career.

With NFL personality Rich Eisen and rapper Snoop Dogg being involved it will be more well-rounded this year too.

Franchise Mode

It’s safe to say that Franchise Mode has been rather forgotten of late. It was also forgotten in the gameplay trailer, and the developer’s stream we expected for Franchise Mode never came.

While Franchise Mode did get some changes listed in this a Gridiron Notes, they’re more like a patch than any kind of revamp.

franchise mode needs a refresh in Madden
SAME AS BEFORE: Franchise mode players have been neglected

Franchise mode has been crying out for a refresh across the board, from the trade possibilities to contract negotiations, player development, and even the overall presentation.

READ MORE: Madden 21: OVR is broken, ratings need to be fixed

With #FixMaddenFranchise trending across Twitter, the hope is EA will take notice and actually fix Franchise Mode.

A recent Gridiron Notes revealed that EA is responding to community outrage. They produced a roadmap for both Madden 21 and 22’s Franchise Mode.

Soundtrack

The Madden 21 soundtrack has been announced!

Adaptive AI

EA has talked about Adaptive AI in its latest Gridiron Notes, but what is it?

Basically it boils down to opposing QBs being a bit smarter with audibles, reads, and their response to pressure. It should mean Madden 21 players have to be a bit more creative with their play calls, disguises, and schemes.

Ultimate Team

This is where Madden’s attention is, and where the innovations are expected.

Aaron Donald's MUT TOTY card
ULTIMATE TEAM: There’s always new content for MUT

Madden Ultimate Team has been wildly successful in its 10 years in the game, with this year’s offering being the best yet.

The number of programs, challenges, game modes, and seasonal events keep players engaged and coming back for more.

READ MORE: Tips & tricks to dominate Ultimate Team

It’s unlikely that EA makes any tweaks to pack probabilities or their carefully mapped out microtransactions, but they are slowly making it more possible for casual players to build the team of their dreams, which is what the mode should be all about.

The ability to build your own stadium through collectibles, mash-up uniforms, or create unique chemistries between players that were teammates would help make for an even more immersive experience.

Cross-platform Ultimate Team & Multiplayer?

As things stand, Madden players can only face off against those using the same hardware as them.

This has been the standard in gaming forever, but the barriers are starting to break down as games like Fortnite and Rocket League, not to mention the latest Call of Duty, have allowed cross-platform multiplayer.

READ MORE: Madden 21 PS4 vs PS5: Release date, reveal trailer announced, next-gen graphics & more

EA has been opening up of late. Need For Speed Heat had crossplay added, and Star Wars Squadrons will launch with crossplay.

It has certainly added an air of possibility about cross-platform play for Madden 21, though it feels like a year too early for the giant franchise.

Madden 21 on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 – Dual Entitlement

We know that Madden 21 will be “Optimized for the Series X“, and thanks to Smart Delivery it will be free on the Series X for anyone that buys and plays it on the Xbox One.

READ MORE: Madden 21 Editions – Standard, Deluxe, MVP

Dual Entitlement means Sony players can move onto the PS5 when it arrives. However, Sony has been remarkably quiet about how their machine will impact Madden 21.

It is expected that Ultimate Team content will carry over when you move hardware, but your Franchise save might not.

Ratings

Madden 21 ratings have been revealed.

All the best, and worst, players now know their OVRs.

The rookie QB ratings were the first to be announced, with #1 pick Joe Burrow getting a 76 OVR.

There are also five members of the 99 Club this year. Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Donald, Christian McCaffrey, Stephon Gilmore, and Michael Thomas got the maximum rating.

Toby Durant