After Madden 21's Rocky Start, Dev Says This Is "Just The Start"

Madden NFL 21 didn’t have the smoothest release. As with many of the previous years’ releases, this year’s Madden was criticized by many reviewers, including here at GameSpot, for its bugs and oddities.

EA has now reiterated that launch is just the beginning for the game. “Madden NFL is a live service and longtime players know that launch is just the start of the annual Madden journey,” EA said in a blog post.

To that end, Title Update 2 came out with the game’s official release on August 28, and it includes fixes for Face of the Franchise and Ultimate Team, among other areas of the game. EA is planning another, more substantial update to be released in September closer to the start of the NFL season. This patch sounds like it will provide fixes for some of Madden 21’s more annoying and frustrating bugs.

“Bugs vary in frequency for our players (some are common; others are rare), but we recognize when one is experienced, it can be frustrating,” EA said. “As an example, we’ve seen one bug where field art is not showing up for a small number of players that has been difficult for us to reproduce. However, we have a fix for it coming in the next update.”

There are many fixes in the September update, which is planned for release on or around September 10, including fixes for pass-rushing issues, improvements for defensive coverage and tackling, and several stability improvements, among many other things. You can see the full patch notes for the August 28 launch day update and the one coming in September down below.

Madden 21 is available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and next-gen editions for PS5 and Xbox Series X are coming later this year when those consoles arrive. Players can upgrade to the next-gen edition for free as part of EA’s Dual Entitlement program.

(8/28) Launch Day Updates

  • Face of the Franchise
    • Resolved an issue in Face of the Franchise Legacy where the Player Archetype players chosen in certain sequences did not follow them into the NFL
    • A number of soft-locks were fixed
    • Resolved a very rare issue where the user’s avatar skin tone wasn’t always carrying over into NFL scenes
    • Resolved a rare issue where there was no season game in one of the storylines
    • Fixed a rare visual bug where the coach’s head texture wasn’t loading correctly
  • Madden Ultimate Team
    • Fixed an issue where users were experiencing long load-times when entering or leaving sub-menus
    • Superstar KO
      • Replaced a placeholder model for a coach in Superstar KO: Backyard Heroes
      • Content Updates
        • Buffalo Bills stadium name updated
        • Washington team rebranding elements
        • Addressed an issue with uniform geometry
        • General Stability Fixes (Crashes/Desyncs)
        • Upcoming Title Update #3

          Here is a look at what the team is working on for inclusion in title update #3: Please note that we are still working through testing and going through certification, so we don’t have an exact release date to share with you at this time, but as noted above, we are targeting the update to go live around the start of the NFL season, on September 10.

          Gameplay Updates:

          • Pass Rush
            • Fix to an issue preventing defenders in contain from staying in contain when being blocked by a running back in the backfield. The rusher will keep their contain behavior when blocked by any blocker on the line or in the backfield
          • Fix to an issue causing the initial pass-rush move of contain players to take them to the inside gap instead of their assigned outside gap.
          • Addition of logic to support QB Contain vs. play-action passing plays
          • Fix to ‘On-Field Trainer’ issues related to pass rush
          • Addition of logic so that defenders without the Strip Specialist Ability will no longer cause fumbles on QBs standing in the Pocket with Normal Sack animations on Competitive game-style only. Only defenders with the Strip Specialist ability will be able to force a fumble on a QB standing in the Pocket on Competitive.
            • Defensive Coverage
              • Fix to an issue when using motion in a Twins/Slot formation vs. Nickel/Dime/Dollar defenses, defenders inappropriately swap assignments, leaving the receiver uncovered
              • Addition of logic to Cover 4 Quarters to better handle plays like PA Crossers
              • Fix to an issue preventing defenders in press-alignment from backpedaling appropriately
              • Fix to an alignment issue when flipping Nickel 2-4-5 SS Reno Zone
            • Tackling
              • Fix to some tackling issues sometimes preventing tackle animations from triggering vs. Juke and Jurdle moves
              • Fix to an issue causing a receiver to warp up off the ground into a tackle during a possession catch
              • Fix to an issue causing the QB to not react after throwing an INT while being hit by a defender
              • Fix to an issue allowing ball carriers to fake-out defenders behind them when using the Spin Move
              • Throw Out of Sack
                • Addition of new logic for when a defender is hitting a QB on his throwing arm the QB will no longer be able to throw the ball. The QB will be forced to tuck the ball or the ball will be fumbled
                • Increase to the fumble chance for QBs throwing out of a sack that are hit significantly before they have started their forward arm movement. The greater the Defender’s Tackle vs Quarterback’s Strength rating discrepancy is in favor of the defender, the higher the fumble chance
                • Fix to a throw out of Sack animation where the ball was not getting released by the Quarterback
                  • DEV NOTE: Our goal with the Throw Out Of Sack Improvements was to provide more balance to this new feature that has a significant impact on Gameplay. There is more risk to trying to throw the ball every time a defender is close to the passer. Now it is upon the user to make sure they have started the pass in time or else a defender will be able to force a fumble when they are hit before the arm has started going forward. We have also ensured that when you do start the pass in time, you get the ball off appropriately with the correct distance and accuracy
                  • Blocking
                    • Fix to an issue preventing the left tackle from blocking the correct defender when running HB Zone Weak plays against Nickel 3-3-5
                    • Fix to an issue with graphical distortion occasionally being displayed over blocker-resistance bars
                    • General Fixes
                      • Tuning to RAC-catch win-chances to reduce frequency of low-rated coverage defenders getting catch-knockouts vs. higher-rated receivers
                      • Fix to an issue where Hitting RT/R2 + A/X at the snap would sometimes result in the Quarterback instantly throwing to the A/X Receiver
                      • Tuning to give user control a little sooner after an interception
                      • Fix to an issue causing Quarterbacks to use drastic turns on subtle movements
                      • Fix to the run-speed for ball carriers on Triple Option and Speed Option, allowing sprint speed earlier
                      • Tuning some celebration animation issues to clean up some minor hitching
                      • Tuning to QB’s front elbow when inside the pocket to improve visual quality
                      • Madden Ultimate Team Updates:

                        • Improvements to the speed in the menus of Madden Ultimate Team and returning from game modes
                        • Improvements the speed when interacting with your players and items including upgrades
                        • Address an issue where items in the lineup screen would initially show as 50/50
                        • Numerous miscellaneous improvements to MUT Menu UI

                        Face of the Franchise Updates:

                        • General stability improvements
                        • Fix to an issue with users selecting “Let Fate Decide” option when getting drafted
                        • Fix to an issue with the user’s difficulty setting reverting to Rookie after every game

                        Franchise Updates:

                        • Tuning X-Factor abilities for users who select the “Active Roster” option when starting a new Franchise save.
                        • The next franchise update blog will be released around the start of the NFL season and will outline current plans and target timing for the first of three planned franchise mode updates for Madden NFL 21

                        The Yard Updates:

                        • Addition of “Frienderboards” to The Yard
                          • These are leaderboards populated by your friends list that will display the Highest Score per event
                        • Addition of a pop-up to remind those playing VS CPU events that they need a full group to play
                        • When a user is offensive captain, control will now default to the QB even if their CAP is in another position group
                        • Fix to an issue where location icons may not appear
                        • Fix to an issue where full list of house rules may not appear
                        • Fix to an issue where users may erroneously see “Finding Teammates” after leaving a session
                        • Fix to an issue where Coach Cam always showed a CAP as being QB #12.
                        • Fix to the pass leading for the Slot receiver’s Drag Wheel Route in Crossfire
                        • Fix to a minor camera issue where the view was blocked by objects
                        • Fix to an issue allowing an extra play after a fumble that went out of bounds on the last play of the game
                        • Fix to an ‘On-Field Trainer’ issue displaying “Flick” above the ball carrier after catching a pass
                        • Online stability improvements
                        • General menu and interface improvements
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