This year’s Madden brings a brand new mode in The Yard, a backyard-inspired mode for solo and online play. In 6v6 games, human teams of up to three players each will design their avatars, round out their teams with real-life NFL stars, and hit the unique gridiron for fast-paced, stylish football.
The Yard brings an emphasis on customization and improvisation. This comes through on the field in several ways. The field is shortened to 80 yards, while the traditional rulebook has been thrown out in favor of things like the Mississippi Rule, a penchant for laterals and backward passes, and absurdly athletic moves like kicking a pass into the air toward a teammate as though it’s FIFA.
Players can earn Cred, a free in-game currency, to buy new cosmetics and deck out their avatars in colorful get-ups that defy every NFL uniform rule ever recorded. Wear the jersey of your favorite player, or something built just for the mode, like leopard-printed hoodies and jerseys tucked away like belly shirts. The Yard is like nothing Madden has ever done before. You can learn more about The Yard and how to dominate on it, by using our guide on The Yard tips.
Play to play, the biggest change to Madden NFL 21 is definitely the host of new pass rush moves which allow defenders to get after the quarterback more effectively than ever. Virtually every button or flick of the stick on a gamepad has now been designated a new ability for those trying to get beyond the line of scrimmage and pressure the QB.
Players can take advantage of new moves such as rips, swims, clubs, and speed rushes to confuse ad straight up overpower opposing linemen, causing the signal callers to “see ghosts” the way Sam Darnold once admitted to. We’ve got a complete breakdown of the new pass rush moves to help you better understand how to rush the passer in Madden NFL 21.
For the story-centric football fans, this year’s Face of the Franchise mode is the most expansive story in series history. With a greater focus on the full career of your created athlete, this year’s game takes you from age 18 all the way into your 30s should you choose to live out the complete career.
Building on last year’s QB-only mode, Face of the Franchise now lets you choose from three positions: QB, RB, or WR. We have a guide on how to switch positions in Face of the Franchise ready to help too. The end goal is to cement your name among the league’s greats, and whether you do that as an elite passer, rusher, or receiver is totally up to you. You’ll start your career in high school before moving through a college of your choice and getting drafted by one of the NFL’s 32 franchises. You can even force the game to put you on your favorite team if you’d like.
The ups and downs of a career in the NFL will be on display across multiple seasons as your player battles injury, depth chart battles, and rivals across the league, all the while seeking to earn the distinction as one of the league’s greatest players. For more on this year’s story mode, be sure to check out our Face of the Franchise tips.
This year’s game will act more as a live-service for all 32 teams. As teams unveil new plays from their playbooks and rely on certain sets and schemes, their Madden playbooks will be updated to reflect these changes. Should any team decide to unload a new trick play on an unwitting opponent, you can expect to find it in the next Madden update.
In a post-launch update during the last Madden cycle, the team introduced Superstar KO, an arcadey, survive-and-advance mode which combines elements of faster football and fantasy sports. If you missed it, the mode returns in Madden NFL 21 from launch.
It stands out from the rest of the modes in Madden NFL 21 thanks to a focus on short-lived tournaments that can be played entirely in a sitting, even if you come out as the winner. As you progress past each round, you get to draft new players to your team while taking on others who have done the same. Take it far enough and your roster will soon be fitted with superstars from all across the NFL. If Franchise, MUT, or The Yard aren’t your style but you still crave some Madden PvP action, Superstar KO is the bite-sized game mode for you.
As we’re in a bridge year between the current generation consoles like Xbox One and PS4 and their next-gen successors such as Xbox Series X and PS5, EA has devised a way to keep players happy should they decide to upgrade.
All players who buy Madden NFL 21 on current-gen systems will have the opportunity to upgrade to the next-gen version at no additional cost so long as they upgrade before the launch of Madden NFL 22 next summer.
The generational upgrade must occur within the same ecosystem, so if you buy the PS4 version of Madden NFL 21, you’re eligible only for the PS5 upgrade, not the Xbox Series X version, and vice versa.
The guarantee from EA is part of what they’re calling the Dual Entitlement Program, and lives alongside similar programs such as Xbox’s Smart Delivery, ensuring players can bring their franchises and all their Madden successes with them to the next generation this fall or into next year.