Has the blocking been improved? A lot of times the offensive lineman will allow a defensive lineman run straight through unblocked because he isn't his "assigned" person to be blocked, so has this been fixed in 2005 to where the offensive lineman will actually engage him rather than watch him sack the QB?EA:
We definitely spent time with blocking in Madden NFL 2005. Because of the improvements to defense, we had to make sure the offense kept up so the defense wouldn’t completely dominate every game.
You shouldn’t see an offensive player *watching* a defender sack his QB. We added a lot of new blocking animations so that offensive players could even attempt a block if they had poor position. We’re confident we addressed all of the blocking issues that existed in previous versions. GN :
Is EA going to respond to the aggressive pricing of the Sega ESPN franchise?EA:
We're extremely pleased with how the football videogame season is shaping up. NCAA Football 2005, which shipped July 12th, is off to another record-breaking start and is the #1 selling football game in July. At the same time, pre-orders for Madden NFL 2005 are tracking double vs. last year, which was a record-breaking launch for the videogame industry. We're looking forward to breaking that record this year when Madden NFL 2005 ships on August 9th.GN :
Were there any features you wanted to get into this year’s release that didn’t quite make it?EA:
We work hard to make sure Madden hits the stores right as the football is ramping up. Because of this, we will always have to skip features because of a limited amount of time. These skipped items always make the list for the next iteration. Once we wrapped up Madden NFL 2005, we already had a huge list of ideas for 2006 and beyond.GN :
What kind of league functionality can Xbox Live users expect?EA:
While we don’t provide typical league functionality when playing online, we do offer several other features that provide a similar experience. We’ve beefed up our online tournament features and have also added quick tournaments for those that can’t invest several days or weeks to an online tournament. The Messenger has extended functionality and our Play Now feature provides more options for matching up against a player that meets criteria that you set. You can now voice chat with a player in the interface instead of using the standard keyboard. Scouting options have improved as well. You can now view tons of data on potential opponents that really gives you an idea of how they play the game. In addition to the features above, there are several other online features that our fans will enjoy once Madden NFL 2005 comes out.GN :
Will users be able to download updated rosters online? Will Ricky Williams be included in the game (given his recent retirement)?EA:
Madden NFL 2005 will provide updated rosters online. With the addition of XBOX Live support this year, XBOX users will be able to download the most current roster updates as well.
Because we finished the game before he actually retired, Ricky Williams will be included in the shipping version of the game. He will be removed from the first downloadable roster file we provide. We’re hoping to provide the first roster update as soon as the game gets released.
We'd like to thank Phil for taking the time to answer our questions and to Wendy at EA Sports PR for helping to coordinate the interview.
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