View Full Version : Madden NFL 13 Playbook: Audio.

05-14-2012, 10:04 PM

Hello Madden Nation this is Markus “Emmdotfrisk” Frieske with the EA SPORTS Game Changers and Tradition Sports Online and I’m here to talk about what’s new with Audio in Madden NFL 13. More and more information on Madden NFL 13 is being made available, and those that know me know how much I value a realistic football experience, and how much I pay attention to the little details of sound.

As a member of the Game Changers I am fortunate enough to attend the Madden NFL 13 community events at Tiburon Studios in Orlando. Every community day I attend I am further impressed with the interaction and communication we are able to establish and maintain with the Madden NFL development team. The year-to-year strides we are seeing in the Madden NFL franchise are a direct product of the feedback from the community and the development team’s ability to accept constructive criticism to truly commit to delivering the most authentic football experience possible.

Part of that authentic experience includes the audio improvements in Madden NFL 13. Hearing is one of our keenest senses, and can help us judge situations and scenarios which we may not be able to evaluate with our eyes. There is no question that there needed to be huge investments into the Audio design of Madden NFL 13 in order to bring a higher level of realism into the game, and what is more real than actual sounds from the NFL? I’m excited to share details about the partnership with NFL films, which greatly enhances the sound design. This brings real, authentic sounds of big hits, player grunts, collisions and QB cadences from mic’d players in the NFL. It’s really immersive to hear the actual voice of Aaron Rodgers and other top quarterbacks call out cadences throughout the game.

Another big addition to Madden NFL 13 that demanded attention from previous titles is the presence of the crowd. In previous years, only 4 microphones were used to record crowd audio fluctuations. This year, an amazing 24 microphones were used to capture the ups and downs of the roaring crowd in the NFL. Those gamers who love to play with the surround sound or a high-definition headset on will notice an incredible difference where you can feel the emotion of the crowd. There is nothing sweeter than scoring a clutch touchdown in the final minutes of the game in front of a hometown crowd, and with this year’s improvements you can feel like you are right there celebrating with your team.

One of the community’s constant requests was better commentary. The addition of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms adds a more dynamic feel to commentary from game to game. Whether it is a rivalry game, preseason matchup, or playoff contest, you will hear the two of them interact so fluidly that if you close your eyes, it feels like you’re listening to an actual NFL game. With the addition of Nantz and Simms’ non-stop interaction throughout the entire pregame show, every experience sounds incredibly realistic. I’m excited to hear all the ad-lib scenarios, players and situations they will banter about throughout every game.

From a community standpoint we are very impressed with the drastic improvements in the commentary, audio, and sounds in Madden NFL 13. I encourage you all, when you first put Madden NFL 13 into your console, to turn up your headset or surround sound to hear all the new authentic sounds and commentary in the game.

Make sure to check out the Audio webcast and read more from the EA SPORTS Madden NFL 13 blog to learn more about the improvements in the game. Stay tuned June 4th for the “Gameplay Part 2” and “Connected Careers” playbooks.


05-14-2012, 10:05 PM

Hi Madden NFL fans, I’m Matt Bialosuknia, Audio Producer for Madden NFL 13. I’m proud to have been a part of EA SPORTS for almost 7 years and counting, working in several cool roles from Development Director, to Producer of videos, art and presentation content for our football products. Madden NFL 13 is my first year as audio producer and I am incredibly fortunate for the opportunity, as I have a passion for audio both personally and professionally. I am so excited to share with you our new audio presentation features. It was our team’s goal to pursue best in class broadcast audio presentation for Madden NFL 13.

In our Presentation Playbook released a few weeks ago, we revealed our new broadcast commentary team of Jim Nantz, providing play by play commentary, and Phil Simms providing color commentary. Jim has worked with EA SPORTS on the Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise, and is the voice of the Masters, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, and most importantly to us, the NFL on CBS. Phil Simms is, of course, the Super Bowl XXI MVP QB of the New York Giants (as a lifelong G-Men fan, this was a dream come true!) and Jim’s broadcast partner on the NFL on CBS. Jim and Phil have been working together as an elite, award-winning NFL commentary team since 2004, and have incredible chemistry both on and off camera.

That team chemistry is what inspired us to pursue them to provide fresh, new commentary for Madden NFL 13. To capture the chemistry, we recorded them together, at the same time, in the same studio for many of our sessions. Our process was to write scripts with situations and sample lines, but 99% of what you’ll hear in Madden NFL 13 is unscripted. We wanted Jim and Phil’s true style and character, and that came out in their improvisation. We would set up with scripts that provided the in-game situation, pump crowd noise into their headset microphones, and they created absolute MAGIC. In directing them, the mantra was always, “Say it just like you would on Sunday.” They put a ton of passion into their commentary and had a blast working and recording together.

We recorded the majority of our sessions at CityVox, a great recording studio in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. I personally made it a point to travel from Orlando to New York for every session.We would connect our new audio script writer Chase Becotte (formerly of Operation Sports) and new audio artist Jacques Rossouw (formerly ofFIFA) into the session via Skype to listen in and help direct line suggestions remotely. Madden NFL 13 also includes the talents of Jeff MacPherson as speech director. Jeff is the speech director for our entire EA SPORTS label and is also the primary speech director for FIFA. We’ve recorded approximately 82 hours of fresh commentary for Madden NFL 13, yielding us well over 9,000 unique new lines.

Madden NFL 13 utilizes new audio tech developed at our partner studio in Vancouver that is also used on the NHL and FIFA franchises. We integrated that tech last cycle and we were able to use it to its full potential on Madden NFL 13. This software allows for a cleaner, more streamlined workflow, which in turn lets the audio artists easily add more features and polish to the game. In short, it boasts some of the most cutting-edge commentary technology tools in the industry, allowing the audio artist to spend more time adding content to the game and less time concerning themselves with the tech.

The next new audio improvement is Madden NFL 13’s new sound design and mix. Led by Aaron Janzen, the new Madden NFL audio director (via Fight Night from our Vancouver Studio), and Dale Stump, our senior audio artist, Madden NFL 13’s audio presentation takes a great leap forward. We’ve added a brand new 24 track recorded crowd for an even more emotional, exciting NFL broadcast experience. The story of the game is now more vividly told in the highs and lows of the crowd; from a home team touchdown where the place is rocking, to away team interceptions which drain the life out of the stadium.

Madden NFL 13 utilizes our exclusive partnership with NFL Films to the fullest by adding authentic, exciting new elements to our mix –including authentic QB cadences, on-field player chatter, and NFL Films’ sound effects library. NFL Films is regarded as the best in the business for sports capture, presentation and storytelling. Due to our exclusive license with the NFL only the Madden NFL franchise, and no other sports media group, has access to these elements.

During the NFL season certain players wear wires (wireless microphones on/under their uniforms), and through these the on-field action comes to life. The audio content and quality captured by these microphones provide an up close and in your face perspective of the action and interactions between the lines. Madden NFL 13 brings authentic QB cadences for some of the most prominent current QBs in the league – guys like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, and Ben Roethlisberger. When playing as these teams, you’ll hear these field generals shouting direction to their offenses when the ball is snapped, audibles are called, huddles, and other game situations in their own, genuine voices.

Furthermore, we’ve added brand new sound effects – authentic wire-recorded hits, tackles, sacks, catches, and grunts. These are sound effects you can feel – from the QB getting leveled behind the line, to a running back pushing through the D-Line to the endzone; not to mention the crush of the offensive and defensive lines making contact.

The final new audio feature in Madden NFL 13 I’d like to share is our new Madden NFL theme music and soundtrack. We were inspired by the most recognizable themes of sports and felt that this franchise deserved to have oneas well. We worked with composer and arranger Colin O’Malley to create an iconic, memorable Madden NFL theme that’s exciting and gets the blood pumping and adrenaline flowing. Colin has worked with EA SPORTS previously, contributing excellent work in his collegiate score for NCAA Football 12. In addition to his work with EA SPORTS, Colin composes and scores for documentary and feature films.

The score will anchor our new presentation, starting with pregame and carrying through the entire experience, with variations at quarter breaks, halftime, and postgame. The full experience provides a cohesive, high end, composed network broadcast presentation.

Also new for Madden NFL 13 is a scored soundtrack. EA Trax have been replaced with a new playlist of composed pieces for each of our new game modes. From the Main Menu to deep into the selection of game modes, these high energy tracks will underscore the excitement of the new Madden NFL 13 experience.

To sum it up, Madden NFL 13 has truly taken audio presentationto the next level. Audio is such a huge part of the gaming experience and we’ve blown it out. From the new commentary team of Nantz and Simms, to new authentic NFL Films sound design elements with fresh 5.1 and stereo mixes, to an iconic new theme and soundtrack, fans will have a lot to be excited about in Madden NFL 13’s audio presentation.


05-14-2012, 10:06 PM
'Madden 13' introduces original score

The soundtrack has always been a significant part of the “Madden” series, giving each year’s game a fresh feel by featuring rock and hip-hop songs from popular – and sometimes, just burgeoning – artists. Every year, members of the “EA Trax” team would sift through thousands of songs to come up with the 20 or so that would give gamers a sense of cool and cutting-edgeness as they played America’s highest-selling sports game.

This year, however, the Madden creative team wanted to go in a different direction.

The presentation in “Madden NFL 13” has been completely redone, from the all-new menus (they’re very industrial looking… in a good way) to the quarterback cadences (recorded in-person for each of the “top ten quarterbacks,” according to EA) to the recently introduced announcing crew of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms.

And the accustomed sound of “EA Trax” just didn’t go with the new look.

“In the past, we could put this soundtrack together, and it would be more of a mixtape of what we felt Madden should sound like with the different genres, and it felt like that just got stale,” says Matt Bialosuknia, Madden’s audio producer.

So Bialosuknia and the rest of the Madden creative team made a landmark decision: they wanted their very own “Madden” score. They wanted an original, signature theme that would play in the menus and within the TV-style presentation of the actual games.

Enter Colin O’Malley, an accomplished composer whose credits include “Tomb Raider Underworld,” the acclaimed PBS documentary “The Last Reunion: A Gathering of Heroes” and numerous projects with worldwide recording artist Yanni.

O’Malley met with the “Madden” audio team last year and they listened to some prominent sports themes, such as what you hear in NFL Films and numerous network broadcasts. Bialosuknia says it was like going to a pop artist and saying, “OK, now go write a hit record.”

“They talked a lot about wanting Madden to have a signature theme with a modern style … something you’d hear during a NFL broadcast, but pushing it into its own identity,” O’Malley said. “That was the starting point.”

O’Malley worked on the theme at his studio and came back to the “Madden” audio team with his interpretation.

It wasn’t right.

The “Madden” audio team wanted the theme to be bigger, more powerful, with more intensity and more emotion.

“One of the most helpful things is rejection, because you find out what people don’t like,” said O’Malley, who added that it’s normal to go back and forth on a score several times. “Sometimes it just takes a few rounds because talking about music and saying what you want, it’s hard to put into words. You almost have to hear the music to be able to say, “There it is, that’s what we’re looking for.” It’s just a matter of throwing ideas to the wall and seeing what sticks.”

It took two more trips back to the EA studios before both sides felt it was the perfect sound.

“By the third time, we played it, and then we all looked at each other and knew, this is it,” Bialosuknia said. “Then we put it into the game and we played it against the visuals, and we knew for sure, this is the theme we were looking for.”

The “Madden” creative team hopes O’Malley’s score will become iconic and recognizable as part of the “Madden” franchise.

While Bialosuknia left the door open for a return of “EA Trax” – “there might be a way in the future to have the best of both worlds,” he says – he expects the new theme to be in “Madden” for years to come.

“It just feels cool, it feels iconic, it feels like it would be missing now if we didn’t have it,” Bialosuknia said. “It just makes it feel epic to me. Madden deserved its own iconic score forever, and now it has it, and I think it’s going to be in the game for a long time to come.”

We sat down with O'Malley to ask him a few more questions about the score, his career and his process in creating a theme.

Are you much of a sports fan? Do you play Madden?

I’m into the NFL and NBA. I play the games like Madden, but I’m not very good at them. I spend most of my time writing the music. It’s really exciting to see it all come together when we play.

When you used to play Madden, did you have a theme in your mind of what would work even as you were listening to the EA Trax?

A little bit. Growing up with the 80s TV themes like Knight Rider that you couldn’t get out of your head, I’ve always been intrigued by those. I think games or movies or TV shows that stick with me, they all have that theme that sticks out, or most of them do. So to make that theme for a game like Madden, it’s a lot of fun.

You’ve created scores for a lot of different people. Say you have a great tune in your head – how do you choose who gets what? Do you acclimate yourself with a product or movie or game before creating for it?

There have been times where I do have themes that I’m working on, then years later I’ll come across a project and I’ll say, “Hey, this might work for that.” But for the most part, those end up being one of those early round themes they don’t go for. For a theme to really work, it’s a collaboration, and it’s a very specific identity they’re looking for. While I’d love to have a bank of themes to work from, it would sure save me some time, it just always seems to go down a different patch with each project because it really is a collaboration between a team of people who all have a lot of ideas.

Of everything you’ve done, what score are you most proud of?

As far as video games, I did the Superman Returns video game for EA a few years ago, and that’s how I met some of the people from EA. I also scored the last two Tomb Raider games. Outside of that, I work for an artist named Yanni, doing orchestrations that are the polar opposite of Madden, but it’s fun to do different things.

What was it like to first hear the Madden score coupled with the game?

The visuals are stunning. There’s something about combining the music with the visuals that’s really exciting. The visuals make the music better, in my opinion. It’s really exciting to see it all come together.


05-14-2012, 10:07 PM

Mark Schlereth gives you a behind the scenes look at the new audio incorporated into Madden NFL 13.

05-14-2012, 10:09 PM

See what it was like for Jim Nantz & Phil Simms to record together for the new Madden NFL 13 commentary.

05-14-2012, 10:11 PM

In this webcast you get to hear exclusive audio from Jim Nantz and Phil Simms and also we showoff the brand new Madden Theme music.

05-14-2012, 10:56 PM

Madden NFL 13 Gameplay With Jim Nantz and Phil Simms In-Game Commentary.

05-15-2012, 12:33 AM

Madden NFL 13 Gameplay With Jim Nantz and Phil Simms In-Game Commentary.

well, to be honest, Nance still sounds kind of bland

05-23-2012, 08:27 PM
I liked Chris Collinsworth in M12 and I think I am going to miss him. I'm not a huge fan of Phil Simms - just a little bland as a #1 guy.