A big debate that has been taking place in the Madden community since the release of Madden 21 on the XBOX Series X|S and PlayStation 5 back in December has been over how slow the movement in the game feels.
Anyone who played Madden 21 on XBOX One or PlayStation 4 and then played on the next gen consoles immediately feels a huge difference and the game just feels slow.
Some of this could be explained by the fact that for the last 7 years on the XBOX One and PlayStation 4 player movement and speed has stayed relatively consistent so we’ve all gotten used to the way it was.
We’ve run tests before on the previous console generation and some players at the top end of the speed range ran a 40 yard dash in under 4 seconds. That surely isn’t realistic and it is likely that the tuning done to speed on next gen consoles was to bring the numbers more in line with reality.
Immediately after Madden 21 was released on the new consoles Clint Oldenburg, who leads Madden gameplay production, was asked about it.
I don’t anticipate a speed-up. The movement comes straight from NFL players, so it’s moving at authentic speeds now. It will take time to get used to it, give it a fair shot, yeah?
— Clint Oldenburg (@ClintOldenburg) December 5, 2020
From his response, it looks like they will be sticking with the slowed down movement although as someone who has played on the XBOX Series X|S and PlayStation 5 for the last 2 and a half months, to me it still seems incredibly slow.
The issue is a complicated one so we decided to dive into the Madden Lab and run a series of tests to get to the bottom of it.
Check it out below!
Our findings show that on the XBOX Series X|S and Playstation 5 consoles player speed as measured by things like a 40 or 80 yard dash are now (on the surface) much more in line with their times in the actual NFL but the way in which it was accomplished doesn’t make a lot of sense.
In order to lay out our findings and explain what is happening better, I’m going to massively oversimplify a complicated subject.
On XBOX One and PS4, a 99 speed player like Tyreek Hill would run a 40 yard dash in somewhere around 3.89 seconds. That is undoubtedly much faster than he should.
A quick google search tells us that Tyreek Hill’s official 40 yard dash time was 4.29 seconds so on current gen consoles he was running the 40 yard dash .4 seconds too fast (or approximately 10%).
On the XBOX Series X|S and Playstation 5 consoles, Tyreek Hill’s 40 time is much more in line with a 4.29 second 40 time. Hurray, problem solved! Not.
It really isn’t that simple. The video above shows that basically all they did was keep speed the exact same but made the player not move/go backwards for the first .4 seconds. That is precisely what makes Madden 21 on next gen feel so incredibly slow and clunky.
Imagine a hypothetical video game where you can run a 100 meter dash with Olympic sprinters. The race is run and someone notices that the runners finish in about 8 seconds which is way too fast given that the world record set by Usian Bolt is 9.58 seconds. That is basically the situation that Madden 21 on XBOX One and PlayStation 4 is in.
The fix would be to do the hard work of tweaking the runners’ speed to reflect a natural acceleration and redistribution of how speed works.
Instead the fix that was implemented on the XBOX Series X|S and Playstation 5 consoles was to basically have the sprinters in our imaginary 100 meter dash video game stand around for the first 1.5 seconds and then run at the exact same speed as before. The result is a much more realistic 100 meter dash time but the implementation isn’t correct and feels silly.
To be fair, EA Sports is kind of backed into a corner. One of the big new features of Madden 21 on the new consoles is “Next Gen Stats” so they have to get the speeds in-game to match up to the speeds in the NFL.
Actually fixing the mechanics of speed in a game like Madden wouldn’t be nearly as easy as it sounds and it would undoubtedly be a very time consuming process.
A .4 second input delay in a 40 yard dash ran by Tyreek Hill might not seem like a very big deal but it absolutely is. Consider that every serious professional gamer in the world plays on a 1 millisecond (ms) response time monitor because playing on a typical monitor/tv might have a 10-20 ms response time. That difference is definitely notable to the trained eye.
.4 seconds is a 400 ms delay. It feels like you are stuck in mud when you are telling your player to go forward and that is what is causing the issue for most people.
The focus of this article was mostly on the speed issues but there is a lot more to it than speed. The way players round corners and make special ball carrier moves also needs work but those things are much harder to analyze.
Those of you who play Madden 21 on the new consoles? Is the slow movement/speed something you want to see fixed in Madden 22? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!