• SB Nation: How No NCAA Football Hurts Madden NFL Option

    As we pass the five-year mark of no NCAA Football, SB Nation's Richard Johnson takes a look at how no college football video game ultimately hurts the Madden NFL franchise, at least in one regard - namely, the option.

    Throughout the years where EA Tiburon developed both NCAA Football and Madden NFL, gameplay aspects and features could be shared helping to make each game better. With the option being a part of the NCAA Football franchise dating back to its predecessor Bill Walsh College Football, the code and legwork has existed for EA to share and incorporate it into Madden NFL.

    However, now that NCAA Football is on ice, the investment that would have been necessarily made for the plethora of teams that run some form of option football - traditional, RPO, spread, etc. - such as Georgia Tech, Navy, and Nebraska would have been added to Madden. Whereas now devoting the time for Madden to do solely for what amounts to situational (or gimmick) playcalls have proven not to be worth the monetary or time investment.

    Johnson's article states that the Ravens with rookie QB Lamar Jackson will have zone-read plays in their playbook in Madden NFL 19.

    Continue on to read some excerpts of the article, available here in full.

    As the years went by, option gameplay got better on offense because the defense got better.

    “It was 2013 when we last made an NCAA game, and the strides we made defensively from a logic perspective make the option so much fun to run against now.”


    EA says they want to get RPOs into the game, but the topic of logic rears its head again.

    “The original code for our blocking logic was never really meant to run the ball on passing plays and pass the ball on running plays,” White said. “It’s sorta like you’re building a 30-story building — you get to the 30th floor, you want to put this new thing in, but you’ve gotta go back all the way to the first floor and re-do the building all the way back up to the 30th floor.”

    This mirrors the debate over the play in real life. If you remember the pop pass fad — when the RPO truly become mainstream — you’re familiar with the way that an RPO blurs the lines of what is pass blocking and what is run blocking. It drove defensive coaches crazy. The NCAA made it a “point of emphasis” for its officials to crack down on blockers going more than three yards downfield. When the QB threw the ball with blockers downfield, it was essentially a real life version of run blocking during a pass play.

    A simple RPO with just a read option in the backfield and bubble pass attached was close to becoming a reality in NCAA 14, but it didn’t make it into the game.

    While there weren’t true RPOs in the video games, there were ways to get close with some play actions that at least looked like a bit like an RPO. In later versions of NCAA, when you hit the right button, the QB would give the ball to a running back on what was actually a called pass.

    To change that blocking logic, EA estimates that it would take one engineer an entire development cycle. It’s a question of where EA wants to devote resources. They say that taking one or two engineers and devoting them to RPOs means taking them off other projects in the game.


    “If NCAA was still around, there’d be no doubt we’d have RPOs in [NCAA] and in Madden,” White said.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: SB Nation: How No NCAA Football Hurts Madden NFL Option started by cdj View original post