Madden NFL 21 is All About Next Gen Stats on PS5 and Xbox Series X

Madden NFL 21 gets a next-gen update in December that implements next-gen stats to use real-world data to improve the game's simulation gameplay.

By Ricky Frech

November 18, 2020

Today, the team at EA Sports finally pulled back the curtain on all the updates and improvements coming to Madden NFL 21 on PS5 and Xbox Series X. Ahead of the announcement, they held a press event where we got a bit more information. We weren’t able to get hands-on with the new game, but it was an in-depth presentation of all the new bells and whistles. So, give the announcement trailer a watch below and join me below to learn more about everything.

Obviously, Madden NFL 21 looks better on PS5 and Xbox Series X. That’s the least surprising news you’ll get out of today’s content drop. However, it’s important to note that the players don’t just look more realistic. The team at EA Sports has also done work to improve the entire presentation. For example, when you’re on offense, you’ll now see your actual defensive players on the sideline.

That sideline will be more populated and will interact more during different contextual moments. So, when you wallop a ballcarrier with a bone-crunching hit on third down, you might see your offensive teammates coming out to congratulate you. It’s a system that, without question, is going to improve immersion in a big way.

That said, the biggest addition is the implementation of Next-Gen Stats. This takes real-world data collected from NFL players to make Madden feel more realistic. Many of the examples we were shown focused on route-running, which looks much more natural than the robotic routes you’re used to. Obviously, a lot of needs to be seen in person to be believed; however, it certainly looks like a great first step to improve the simulation side of football over the course of the next-gen.

Even in this first effort, it should help the entire game feel much more realistic. The team showed how they’re taking real-world routes and translating them in-game. This both makes the route more natural and allows EA to implement new plays during the course of the season.

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And it’s not just wideouts that will feel the boost. Expect to better feel the difference in how players control across the board. That means more realistic coverage, easier to read running lanes, and (fingers crossed) competent blocking. Again, we need to actually play the game to fully buy-in. However, the potential certainly feels there. Which is a big change from current-gen Madden.

EA is also using the Next-Gen Stats to power replays. You’ll see key metrics show up in big replays to give you a better idea of how gnarly that big touchdown was. Whether it’s seeing top-end speed or the distance the ball travels in the air, it’s data that will be fun to see in real-time.

If you’re a hardcore Madden player, I would highly suggest you seek out more info about EA’s implementation of Next-Gen Stats. It absolutely seems like the one feature that could improve your experience on the new consoles. Sure, making it look pretty is great. However, most fans will probably agree that great gameplay trumps all.

As you can imagine, there’s a ton of info here that I absolutely can’t wait to address in a next-gen “review” in December. However, there two other points I want to make you aware of before we wrap up. The first is that EA is using the term “muscle jiggle” to describe some of the new movement. It’s a dumb term that I’m absolutely in love with. It’s like the sports game version of boob physics. I hope it sticks around for the entire generation.


Much more importantly are some of the changes they’ve made to the playbook. We still don’t have the ability to create our own plays; however, there are some key updates. For one, you can now favorite plays, making it much easier to instantly select the best plays depending on the situation. They’ve also added the ability to select plays based on specific players. So, if your wideout has a favorable matchup, you can more easily target him with your play selection. These aren’t game-changing updates, but they will improve your ability to call an effective football game.

Madden NFL 21 is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The next-gen patch hits PS5 and Xbox One on December 4.

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