Examiner chats with EA Tiburon developer Joe Alread who discusses the Ultimate Team Mode for "Madden 25" and the massive draft day update that is set to add all 32 first round draft picks into one of the game's most popular modes.
Examiner: How do you think the inclusion of the first round picks will change the game?
Joe Alread: Madden Ultimate Team is always striving to be on the cutting edge of what’s happening in the NFL. As soon as something big happens, we want people thinking about how it will be represented in-game. In this instance, fans will be able to play with the very athletes everyone is talking about on the same night they are drafted! These players will all have pretty impressive ratings right off the bat, and if fans upgrade their players with the proper collectible, they’ll get an even bigger ratings boost. What does this mean? Players have been speculating on draft picks for weeks now in Ultimate Team. The savvy player is probably holding onto a Jadeveon Clowney/Houston Texans collectible right now because if/when Houston drafts him at #1, that collectible will allow you to upgrade to an even more amazing version of Clowney.
Examiner: Are there any projected picks you're excited about possibly appearing in the game?
Alread: All the skill positions are obviously big draws, I’m personally looking forward to seeing Sammy Watkins run past NFL cornerbacks and down the field.
Examiner: What kind of thought goes into the player ratings of these picks? How difficult is it to assess a player who hasn't played a down in the NFL before?
Alread: Ultimate Team is truly the definition of fantasy football, and we have the luxury of being able to simulate “snapshots” of a player’s career on different items. For example, when Nick Foles threw 7 touchdown passes in a game, we made a new item for him that is rated at 96 overall. Now, Foles isn’t a 96 overall player EVERY game, but for this short period of time, he was spectacular and that player item reflects that. That same idea holds true for these Draft picks. Because these players are in the spotlight, and because on Draft night people tend to have the belief that their team’s draft picks are going to fix all their problems overnight, we put an idealized, highly-rated version of them in Ultimate Team. Best of all, if you upgrade them, they get even better.
Examiner: How important do you feel the Ultimate Team aspect of Madden 25 is to the overall game?
Alread: I love Ultimate Team, so my answer is a bit biased! We are constantly working to keep Ultimate Team up to speed with the NFL today, and it’s the fastest-growing mode in the game right now. I love keeping up to date with NFL and fantasy news, so a game mode that reflects that obsession is a dream come true for me. WORKING on that mode is even more amazing.
Examiner: What do you think have been fans biggest concerns over the mode and how have you addressed it?
Alread: Some players feel a little overwhelmed when they first come into the mode. What are these packs? Why do I care about these players? Part of our task as developers is to educate new players about what the mode is and why it’s so cool. Every year we try and streamline and improve the user interface to make it more intuitive and easier to understand.
Examiner: How much time and continued effort goes into developing the Ultimate Team mode?
Alread: We’re constantly striving to create new content and stay relevant, and we are still updating Madden NFL 25 today. Even though we’re hard at work on Ultimate Team for Madden NFL 15, we still have a core team committed to updating Madden NFL 25 over eight months after the game came out.