The "overhaul" to Madden 15's defensive controls announced in June is intended to make players more successful on that side of the ball, yet that won't help those new to the sport itself. For that, the development team at EA Tiburon is turning to the game's Skills Trainer mode to help players become better students of the game.
"In Skills Trainer for Madden NFL 15, we are attempting to do something we have not done in the past, which is teach players basic football concepts in addition to stick skills," Madden 15 Assistant Producer Danny Doeberling told Joystiq. "When we playtest Madden year in and year out, we found out that a good chunk of players are not familiar with some of the terminology and some of the intricacies of the game, and football in general."
For instance, this year's Skills Trainer mode will include tutorials that help players learn "how to recognize different coverages, what are effective routes to beat those coverages, and areas on the field that should be open." It will feature drills that cover "12 basic pass concepts," helping armchair quarterbacks throw the ball with better timing.
It will also cover the some of the more strategic parts of football. "We drop the user in different situations, like backed up against their own goal line or put them in the red zone, so they can develop different playcalling strategies in these areas," Doeberling said. "Our hope is that increasing a player's football IQ will help make them better at the strategic side of the game."
The football-minded drills culminate in a 40-level test EA Tiburon is calling The Gauntlet, which challenges players with arcade-style mini-games and occasional "boss battles." Some Battles will be zanier than others, such as the challenge to kick a 110-yard field goal in over 220 mph "hurricane force winds" (by comparison, the longest field goal in NFL history is 64 yards and belongs to Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater. We're pretty sure he didn't kick the ball into a hurricane).
Similar to the FIFA series' skill-training mini-games, Madden NFL 15 will introduce a few rewards for completing the Skills Trainer drills. "For completionists, if you earn bronze in each Skills Trainer category, you will unlock an Ultimate Team reward," Doeberling said. "We have about 48 tutorials and drills, so it should hopefully be enough to keep people busy." The drills will also carry over to the game's career mode, Connected Franchise, allowing players to complete Skill Trainer games between their weekly matches to earn experience points for their athletes. Madden NFL 15 will launch August 26 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.