EA Sports has spent a lot of time improving just about every aspect of Madden NFL 13. EA Tiburon promises the most complete overhaul the series has seen in a generation. The power of the new Infinity Engine fundamentally changes the action on the field, while Connected Careers rewrites the rules of what career and franchise modes should look like. Add in Total Control Passing and Ball Hawk and Madden NFL 13 is set to deliver the most authentic NFL experience ever. Patrick Bellanca, designer on Madden NFL 13, offers some tips and tricks for armchair quarterbacks below.

“Total Control Passing is the ability for the quarterback to lead a player and throw a fade that was difficult in the past,” said Bellanca. “It puts ownership on the receiver to get his body in position and his eyes on the football and get in position.”

To offset this, EA Sports created the Read and React Defense AI, which means the defense is looking for the ball before they can make a play on the ball. In the past, a random linebacker might catch an interception out of the blue. Now he has to turn and see the ball to catch it.

“You can now confidently throw the ball where previously it would be intercepted and still make a completed pass in a very small window,” said Bellanca. “This will especially benefit players like New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who has a lot of weapons and skills. His ability to throw the ball into the smallest window is there, where Blaine Gabbert is more mobile and more likely to throw a ball early. Those guys can still throw into space, but they may not hit as precisely as Peyton Manning or Tom Brady.”

Speaking of Manning, the new Denver Broncos quarterback isn’t the same as he once was.

“Our ratings for Manning are entirely different than in Madden 11, which was the last time he played,” said Bellanca. “His physical ratings have all diminished because of sub-par pre-season performance. He’s throwing more interceptions because he doesn’t have as long a deep ball. We’re grading our players based on their performance on the field and we have regular updates to keep things updated.”

Bellanca said the new defensive system benefits everyone because it evens the playing field. It’s slightly more difficult because the Superman moves aren’t happening any more. The defender has to see the ball, which takes predictability away and puts game planning in the hands of the user.

“This benefits a team that has NFL Pro Bowlers because they’re more likely to pick the ball off, but it gives everyone equal chance on offense,” said Bellanca. “Ray Lewis is going to be more successful because he has higher awareness, better hands, is more powerful and more physical.”

Another new feature in Madden NFL 13 is Run Time Physics, where players can feel every play. The collisions are harder, guys get hit harder, and the strength of all superior players on defense and their counterparts on offense factor into the game.

“If Clay Matthews, Mario Williams and Ndamukong Suh get a clear shot on you, you’re going to get hit harder and you have a higher probability of fumbling,” said Bellanca. “You’ll need to use the cover-the-ball mechanic if you’re a smaller back like Ahmad Bradshaw because if he gets hit by Lewis, it’s goodbye football. In contrast, a back like Brandon Jacobs is bigger and stronger and will be able to take a hit from Lewis. You need to know your player and his physical nature and judge match-ups before every play.”

This additional strategy also includes utilizing all the mechanics in the game to give yourself the best chance at success. Things like stiff arm is very successful in the running game and attributes like size, speed, trucking, and spectacular catching all play a role in how things play out on the field.

“Players need to think and strategize before each play just like in the NFL,” said Bellanca. “Offensive coordinators will pick a play based on where Lewis or Ed Reed is at the line of scrimmage for the best opportunity of success. Now Madden offers that level of strategy.”

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