“Visual Concepts’ original plans for Madden ’96 included full TV-like production, using the added CD space to bolster Madden’s audiovisual components. Many of the video sequences starred John Madden and co-anchor Pat Summerall, performing pre- and postgame routines. According to Rubinelli, Madden remained deeply involved with the franchise, dissecting rule changes and pointing out mistakes in both offense and defense as the team went on. Madden and Summerall’s professionalism continued into the video interstitial scenes, directed and scripted by Rubinelli.
“I wrote scripts for them by watching probably 100 hours of them broadcasting. … John took one look at the scripts that I wrote and said, ‘This is terrible. I would never say these things. Who wrote this shit?’ … He said, ‘You give me an unlimited number of scenarios, and Pat and I will just freestyle. We’ll ad lib.’ I gave them every possible scenario and they didn’t miss a beat. It was color as only Madden can do.”
Read my full feature on Madden ’96 at Polygon
“Beginning with FIFA 2009, the Ultimate Team feature quickly escalated into a mainstay, the result of that dream-like, pretend billionaire culture. It’s a distinctly American thing in terms of pro football, if seemingly stronger post-recession when this all took off. Built on the idea of artificial scarcity and tantalizing reward screens, Madden 17’s Ultimate Team reaches a crescendo. Pyrotechnics flare when menu surfing. There are flashing lights, tempting countdown clocks and shimmering gold borders, all reaching maximum gaudiness in Madden 17.”
Read my full thoughts on Madden 17 via Paste Games
“This yearly iteration again includes the stadium and ticket price feature in franchise mode. That’s where stock photos of smug, smiling businessmen claim $7 for a plain hot dog is too cheap, and a $150 shirt made in China (with $12 in materials) was just right. It’s a mere sense of the NFL’s seemingly impossible profit margins. The league is worth $45 billion, after all. They have a high-class image to maintain. That’s what Madden has been designed to do.
Nothing happens off-field in Madden. Ray Rice doesn’t punch his wife in an elevator. 49ers player Aldon Smith won’t be arrested for a hit and run DUI. The Seattle Seahawks won’t cover up a domestic assault from their draft pick, Frank Clark. Dealing with a PR crisis may stain someone’s image.”
Read my full review of Madden NFL 16 at GameSkinny
“The developer follows a scripted pathway as enforced by the NFL in co-beneficial nepotism, which tends to sidestep reality for the betterment of their own PR campaigns. Scandals, off-field idiocy, abuse; you won’t find these seemingly weekly examples of spoiled millionaires cruising from their course of luxury. Madden is just the football for the sake of its simulation as much as it is a promotional tool meant to convey an image of glossy perfection. By default, Madden rarely exhibits penalty calls lest these players be seen negatively.”
Read my full review of Madden 15 at Blogcritics
“Madden 25 makes cursory edits over on-field sprains, tears, and breaks. Commentating team Jim Nance and Phil Simms make glancing, mournful statements about, “upper body injures,” while cameras pan around digitally recreated stadiums. Sideline reporter Danielle Bellini remains an ethereal voice with a microphone. It is endemic to modern Madden, lacking NFL production bravado despite movements to better represent blockbuster video packages in prime time TV slots.
Nance and Simms are often erratic, oblivious to late game strategies and misguided on downs. Halftime is a statistical shell placeholder, and boxy coaches stiffly show enthusiasm between plays with dire unrealism. EA’s fixation is instead their corporate sponsors; it is amazing how well placed Gatorade bottles are – label out – during post-game interviews.”
Read my full Madden 25 review at Blogcritics