The summer is nearly here, and that means Madden season is upon us once again. Madden NFL 25 features Niners halfback Christian McCaffrey on the cover and improved rushing mechanics befitting of the superstar in the game itself. But this year’s game is going to be more than that. We recently spent a day at EA Orlando (formerly Tiburon) to check out Madden 25 in advance of its launch this August and came back with 25 things the Madden community should know before they strap on their shoulder pads for Madden 25.

Boom Tech

In the third year of EA’s « Fieldsense » experiment–that being the team’s slow and steady rebuild of Madden’s core on-field gameplay and mechanics–it’s Boom Tech that’s taking center stage. Though Boom Tech is the type of juicy marketable term EA always builds into a game launch, the underlying gameplay changes were apparent in my hands-on time with the game.

So what is it? Boom Tech is Madden 25’s overhauled physics and collision system–basically a more momentum-, size-, and skill-driven system that resolves the ever-present football question: What happens when this guy runs into that guy? Play after play, game after game, Boom Tech is meant to result in more realistic, varied, and thus unpredictable tackle animations.

The team said it’s heard from players that Madden being driven by canned animations is a legacy frustration, and though Boom Tech is not bringing a freeform, ragdoll-like effect, what it does do is break tackles into several split-second animations that can be chained in different ways in different moments, which, if tuned well, should mean both more visual variety as well as a heightened emphasis on players’ measurable size and skills.


In some examples I saw, a ball carrier was run over by a charging defender with the momentum advantage, clipped on the side by the defender who partially whiffed on the hit, and lastly, spun out of the tackle. In each case, the game film was broken down like the Zapruder film to exhibit how numbers are being crunched under the hood, so to speak, and in an instant that doesn’t disrupt the game, but rather brings a more authentic experience to the tackling mechanics.

Truth be told, it is a tricky mechanic to explain. I don’t envy the person who has to say all this in a single sentence for the back-of-the-box description. I think when you get your hands on Madden 25, you’ll feel the difference too.

Enhanced rushing attack

Along with the enhanced tackling mechanics, there is a greater focus on the running game. Running backs will now have more situational awareness, as seen in the way they « get skinny » as they run through a lane in the trenches. The juke move has been re-tuned so that not everyone can execute it well. It’ll be more skill-based in Madden 25 after developers noticed that seemingly even pedestrian RBs could get away with an ankle-breaking juke.

Now, for players who deserve to have killer skill moves, they’ll have more directional control, including moves being performed at angles of 90, 135, or 180 degrees. New hesitation moves will also be unleashed. All of these new skill moves can be chained together in ways that are meant to create a higher skill ceiling for the best Madden players on the sticks.

Ballcarriers, be they running backs or even defenders who nabbed a turnover, will now protect the ball better, bringing it into their bread basket rather than running with it dangerously out in the open. And because of Boom Tech’s buff to defenders, all these new ballcarrier moves are meant as the counter. Now, using moves like these will help you get a defender out of position, creating more missed tackles or, at least, falls forward when the Boom Tech math works out in your favor.

Hit stick update

The above changes culminate in the new Hit Stick update in Madden 25. Simply put, it will be more skill-based going forward. Hit-Sticking someone on the shoulder as they run by you is going to be less of a blow than centering on their gut as they move vertically down the field, for example. By giving defenders and ballcarriers more fluid control, something as ingrained in Madden as 2004’s Hit Stick will suddenly feel different and more controllable. This essentially rewards defenders or ballcarriers for properly lining up or skillfully evading the Hit Stick, respectively.

Signature player locomotion

Some guys just move differently. The NBA 2K series has expressed this well for years now with player crossovers and jumpshots that mimic their real-life counterparts every step of the way. Madden 25 is finally going to express some of that too, though it’s uncertain to what extent.

Two examples I was shown include cover star Christian McCaffrey’s signature stride and Isiah Pacheco’s stomp-running, which has jumped off the screen since he started getting playing time with the Chiefs. Hopefully, this year and into the future, we’ll see even more players with particular movement styles see themselves more authentically expressed in Madden.

Deeper pass protection adjustments

Clint Oldenburg is seen as the gameplay boss at Madden, so it’s no wonder the former NFL offensive lineman continues to invest in the trenches. In Madden 25, you’ll be able to call half-slide line adjustments for the first time, meaning only the left or right side of the line can be told to change their protection, rather than demanding the entire OL moves as one unit.

A new on-field icon, the Hot Indicator, identifies a player showing blitz, allowing players to try to account for pressure that may be coming at the snap. Of course, the defense can disguise these things by showing blitz, but ultimately backing off, or by showing blitz with a player but bringing the heat with a different player.

The offensive line will have more nuanced ways to adjust the play pre-snap in Madden 25.
The offensive line will have more nuanced ways to adjust the play pre-snap in Madden 25.

Branching catches

For years now, Madden players have had three catch types: secure, aggressive, and on the run. A fourth catch type is coming to Madden 25: the spectacular catch. Yes, spec catching, as the devs and fans often call it, has been in the game, but it’s no longer tied to aggressive catches, given how previously an aggressive catch may or may not result in a spec catch. The studio wants to eliminate that guesswork. Now, if you want to attempt a spec catch, even just to be a show-off, you can, and when you want to use an aggressive catch instead, you can do so while trusting the animation you get won’t be a David Tyree-like snag.

New pass-catching enhancements

Also, you’ll now be able to change your catch animation before the ball arrives. For example, if you initiate a secure catch (where your wideout will grab the ball and go to the ground) but notice you’ve got space to turn it upfield, you can switch to catching it on the run before the ball gets there. Think of it like how an NBA player may adjust their drive to the basket in that split-second when a shot attempt is made.

Benefitting the passing game are also new custom route stems. Building onto the « smart route » option, which tells a pass-catcher to perform his route’s break at the first down marker specifically, you can now adjust the depths with more options, like running an out at 5, 10, or 15 yards down the field. This should give Manning-like players more ability to dissect a defense.

New NFL kickoff rules

The NFL surprised many when it announced it would adopt new kickoff rules meant to reduce the number of touchbacks starting this fall. Basically, the league wants to make kick returns happen more often without sacrificing the player safety initiatives seen as of late. The Madden team has promised these new kickoff rules will be seen in-game at launch, after a mad dash by the team to get them in the game swiftly.

Oldenburg said the league and the studio both expect NFL coaches to dial up some creative strategies over the next season and beyond, and as they appear in real life, the studio will work to bring those strategies into the game as well.

Multiple commentary teams

Just like College Football 25, Madden is adopting a strategy of multiple commentary teams for this year’s game. The tenured pair of Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis is still there, but some games will also feature booths such as Mike Tirico and Greg Olsen, as well as Kate Scott and Brock Huard.

The alternate teams will be used for bigger games, such as primetime matchups and playoffs, while the classic team will remain the primary commentary team.

Better Draft presentation

For Franchise players, the NFL Draft presentation is getting a visual overhaul, alongside some mechanical improvements, too. For one, you’ll now see high draft picks walk up to the stage in their suits–no longer wearing weird Draft jerseys. Later picks will be seen getting calls from GMs in their homes. All the while, a « big board » will display all the picks in the round so far, just like you’d see during a network’s presentation of the event.

Improved Draft prospect scouting

New sorting and player comparison tools will also limit the number of button presses and screens you’ll go through in order to browse players by certain metrics, such as 40-yard dash times, and the game will finally let you compare Draft prospects side by side.

Roger Goodell, but you can’t boo him

It wouldn’t be the Draft without Roger Goodell announcing picks on the stage. The commissioner is coming to the series for the first time in a move that will also see him present the Lombardi Trophy to the champions at the end of each season. Sadly, despite Madden’s emphasis on authenticity, the commish won’t be booed, as is the norm in real life. I asked EA Orlando’s Mike Mahar why this is, and he joked that he would pitch the idea to the league in his next meeting, « and I guarantee you they will boo me out of the room. »

Randy Moss in the Lombardi presentation

Also new to that Super Bowl championship cutscene will be Randy Moss, not a generic player, carrying the Lombardi Trophy through the crowd of players and up to the stage. In real life, this responsibility falls to a legendary player, and the EA team wanted to give that small moment more authenticity for its game. Straight cash, homie!

Female head coaches

Women are only recently getting the opportunity to be in the coach’s room in the NFL, but EA is staying ahead of the curve and letting you create a female head coach for the first time in the series’ history.

70 more Franchise story scenarios

The Franchise story generator has been in the game for a few seasons now, and in Madden 25, 70 more scenarios are coming, including many that emphasize season-long arcs rather than one-and-done narrative beats. You’ll also need to worry about players’ personality attributes, which have been in the game seemingly without a purpose for a long time. Now, a player with a low personality attribute may be higher-maintenance and express their frustrations with you as their coach, demanding you appease them, ignore them, or perhaps ship them away to another team.

Team Builder

College Football is back this year, but thankfully the Team Builder website is not exclusive to the student-athlete sim. Madden players will also have the ability to build their own team logos and uniforms from scratch, share them with the community, import them into H2H or Franchise, or–if they prefer–skip all the work and just enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor by downloading some custom teams from the community downloads suite.

Improved player progression

The Franchise team wanted to give player progression tuning an overhaul, citing previous examples of an aging Derrick Henry getting a speed upgrade that simply did not make sense. Which 30-year-old running back is getting faster at that age? None, so now in Madden, things like that should stop happening. This is a feature I was only told about, so the jury is out on how well it’s been implemented, but the idea makes sense.

CMC lands on the cover for this year's game.
CMC lands on the cover for this year’s game.

Six-on-six MUT mode

Moving into Madden Ultimate Team mode changes, the biggest one is a new 6v6 mode that feels more like a backyard football game. It’s not as flashy as Superstar Showdown, and is instead meant to be another way for MUT players to compete with their teams, including 6v6 lineup options.

More Superstar appearance customization options

The Madden Superstar (formerly Face of the Franchise) customization options have been bad for a long time. This year’s game thankfully addresses that, to a degree anyway, with more cosmetic options for your character’s face and body, including the return of tattoos, better hair renders for beards, and new (and twice the previous amount of) starting templates to choose from.

Renewed NFL Combine experience in Superstar

For players in the game’s career mode, the NFL Combine will hold more weight on your career arc, helping you climb the expected draft position charts and even improving your character’s attributes with an impressive workout. New drills will also be used for specific positions, though some, like the bench press and 40-yard dash, will remain universal. 26 new minigames in total have been added to the game, though these drills are available beyond Superstar mode, too.

Better player grading in Superstar

The live player-grading system has also been tweaked to better account for additional considerations, such as rushers hitting the right hole on a play, or how well a receiver runs their route. Previously making a play was paramount, but now you’ll want to better execute the play that was actually called, though freelancing into the end zone will still be beneficial to your grade.

More storylines and team interactions in Superstar

Superstar mode is adding quests, too–essentially long-term goals for you to chase such as branding deals, team and league records, and rivalries with other players. Teammate interactions, which have been starkly absent before, will now be more of a focus, and your play on the field can lift up those around you.

College Football 25 Road To Glory compatibility

Of course, the biggest change to Superstar this year is how it integrates with College Football 25. Since your custom player is not tied up in the NIL deal that prevents wholesale roster importing from CFB to Madden, your Road To Glory player can be easily moved into Madden, giving your player more depth and history as you experience both their college career and then their journey as a pro that follows.

New seasonal rewards for Superstar Showdown

For players who like to take their custom athlete into the showboaty Superstar Showdown mode, a deeper seasonal rewards tree will be there to give you more things to do. Just like how MUT adds new rewards every season, Superstar Showdown will add new limited-time modes and rewards to chase as you rank up through the game’s new leaderboard system.

Classic Madden songs returning as stadium tracks

Last on our list is music. Fans of the classic NFL Films bangers won’t be treated with the return of them, but the EA team has commissioned its own new–and, I’ll admit, instantly appealing–main theme that will greet players as soon as they open the game. It’s quite reminiscent of the NFL Films classics of yesteryear, and I’m extremely eager to hear it again once it’s available online and in-game. Also, classic Madden tracks from past eras will be coming back and heard in stadiums around the league.

A few bands mentioned by name were Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and Twenty-One Pilots. So though the menu tracks may be a lot of hip-hop still, the game as a whole will feature a wider spectrum of genres, including some songs that may seem nostalgic to long-time players.

Madden NFL 25 launches on August 16 for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC, though players with an EA Play subscription or who purchase the Deluxe edition or MVP Bundle which includes College Football 25 will be able to play the game as early as August 13. You can secure your Madden NFL 25 preorder here, featuring a range of bonuses depending on your edition and retailer.

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