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EA talks ‘Madden 15’ Skills Trainer updates and more

Examiner chats with Danny Doeberling, Assistant Producer for ‘Madden NFL 15’ about the various updates to the game’s skills trainer and how the impressive Seattle Seahawks defense played a huge role in the development of this season’s additions to the franchise.

EA talks ‘Madden 15’ Skills Trainer updates and more
EA talks ‘Madden 15’ Skills Trainer updates and more
EA Sports
EA talks ‘Madden 15’ Skills Trainer updates and more
EA Sports

With already a host of changes made to the defensive side of the game, in terms of the pass-rush game and the implementation of new camera angles, “Madden 15” will feel fresher than ever. That’s one of the reasons why this year’s Skills Trainer is an important one. More than just a tutorial, Madden’s Skills Trainer is brimming with options and fun ways to master the game.

“Madden 15” is set for an August 26 release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One home gaming consoles.

Examiner: What was the creative influence behind all of these new gameplay changes?

Danny Doeberling: This year we’re bringing defensive enhancements that will make defense more fun to play than ever. I would say we were majorly inspired by Richard Sherman and the rest of the Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks. Their defensive dominance was amazing, and I think our fans felt the same way as they voted Sherman for the Madden NFL 15 cover. We built a bunch of new mechanics, including new defensive line moves, a jump the snap mechanic, new ways to tackle, and two cameras devoted specifically to the defense. We hope with all the new improvements, players can master them and become a defensive force like last year’s Seahawks.

Examiner: How long do you think it will take to complete each of the tasks?

Doeberling: There are over 48 tutorials and drills so there’s plenty of content to enjoy. We think most people will just jump in and out and play the areas they feel they need help in. For the completionist though, we offer Madden Ultimate Team cards for players who can earn bronze medals in each category.

Last year, we added Skills Trainer to teach players new mechanics and basic Madden skills to help them learn the intricacies of the game. I think the first attempt was successful but we still felt we could improve upon it. We wanted Skills Trainer to be a place where both new and veteran players could go to get better at the game. Players can still learn what’s new but now can also learn about real football concepts and strategies like recognizing basic defensive coverages and running effective pass concepts. Teaching real world football concepts is a new frontier for us, but one we’re excited to explore.

Examiner: How important has the community been in regards to what has changed?

Doeberling: They have played a huge part. We have telemetry to tell us what type of things players are struggling with during the course of the game. We can then go and craft a Skills Trainer tutorial around that to help them get better in an area or teach how to effectively run something. Additionally, when we were play-testing the game last year we discovered that a big portion of our fans do not know what, for instance, a Cover 2 Defense is even though they regularly call it. So one of our goals was to try and teach some basic football knowledge in Skills Trainer. It is our belief that if we can teach them more about football in the end they will be better Madden players.

Examiner: Can you give us an idea of what the boss battles would be like?

Doeberling: Absolutely. You are talking about the Skills Trainer Gauntlet mode. At the end of Skills Trainer, we test everything you have a learned so far as you face a 40-level challenge with 5 lives. Every 5 levels we then challenge you with a Boss Battle that get pretty crazy, but in a fun way! I won’t spoil all of them for you, but the first one you will encounter is kicking a 110 yard field goal into 200+ mph hurricane force winds. The Gauntlet is a throwback to old school video game challenges and we think some of our veteran players will have a lot of fun trying to beat each other’s scores.

Examiner: How do you think the trainer mode has evolved since its first appearance in the series?

Doeberling: We learned that players who actively played last year’s Skills Trainer ended up playing Madden for a longer period of time. Skills Trainer will always be about helping players learn how to play Madden, however, we also wanted to take the opportunity to grow on that and teach real football concepts and strategy. With the Gauntlet mode, we wanted to do a throwback to those classic mini-games experience while still teaching the user at the same time. I would like to see Skills Trainer keep evolving into a place to learn about Madden, the game of football, and have some fun playing bite-sized challenges.