Responding to vociferous reaction from its hardcore community, Madden NFL 11 will patch in original pre-snap adjustment controls that countermand the new "Strategy Pad," design, but not before a month after the game releases.
Ian Cummings, the series' creative director, announced the decision earlier today after a blog post explaining the original design change. For Madden hardcore fans, they can expect to return to the old shoulder-button/Y (or triangle) command set by the first week of the NFL season, which begins Sept. 9.
Madden lifers exploded with outrage on Tuesday when they discovered, in the game's demo, that pre-snap adjustments had been completely reconfigured, after several years under a control set that also is similar to NCAA Football 11's. Essentially, commands that were triggered by shoulder or faceplate buttons were moved entirely to the D-pad, disrupting the muscle memory and thought processes of many.
Cummings, in defending the original switch, quoted EA Sports telemetry that said last year players called more than a billion incorrect defensive hot routes in Madden NFL 10, largely due to mistaken face-button nomenclature. This is why they sought to simplify the command structure on the D-pad.
For me, though, this quote is telling:
"Any longtime Madden gamer could probably change the route of two receivers, pinch slide protection, and keep a back into block within a second."
I can do better than that on offense. I could slide protect left, streak both split ends, drag the tight end and call blocking assignments for both backs out of the shotgun and snap the ball, coming to the line with ten seconds on the play clock.
To me, that's beyond a Peyton Manning-esque level of audibles. I don't know if this actually happens in most real-life NFL snaps, but it's a lot of management that completely remakes the play you've called and what you're showing an opponent. Given that you can bark specific orders to ten players in the heat of the moment, maybe EA Sports also felt that line-of-scrimmage adjustments were exploiting the game in ways you don't see on a real Sunday, which has always been the game's guiding design principle.
Whatever the case, both methods of pre-snap commands will be available in your game when the real-life NFL regular season kicks off, which is Minnesota at New Orleans on Sept. 9.
GameFlow and The Strategy Pad [Madden NFL Blog]