Madden NFL 24 Preview: New AI, Animations & More


EA Sports invited CGM out to their Redwood Shores Campus for a special preview of the latest in their iconic football series, Madden NFL 24. The franchise has put a lot into this latest iteration and was eager to share the news, including fundamental changes to the player models and AI, new and returning modes that should please Madden fans and the big reveal, who will be gracing the cover? 

Madden NFL 24 has made some meaningful changes to the AI on the characters not controlled by the gamer, which will make the football experience more authentic. EA’s demonstration showed a much more robust AI model, showing off players’ field of view and how they adapt to the action on the field. Seeing a Quarterback go through his progressions or a Running Back find the hole in the defence to punch through is a much smoother process (field of view and reaction times are affected by player ratings).  

YouTube video
Madden NFL 24 Reveal Trailer

The action surrounding the ball is also getting a big upgrade. The annoying days of a Defensive Back with his back turned to you, yet swatting away a pass as if he had eyes on the back of his helmet, are over. Madden NFL 24’s “See Ball, Play Ball” system gives true eyes to the players on the field. If they aren’t looking at your QB throwing the pass, they can’t see it. Furthermore, if there is a fumble on the field, don’t count on the Cornerback on the opposite side of the field running for the loose ball as if they were omniscient. Players nearest the action react immediately, while players further from the fumble will figure it out in a much more natural, realistic manner. 

Their FieldSENSE gameplay has also made some big leaps. For those unaware, FieldSENSE is a revolutionary addition to the franchise which came as part of Madden 23. It’s a physics-informed animation and animation branching system that promotes more fluid movement in its characters.  

Madden NFL 24’s “See Ball, Play Ball” system gives true eyes to the players on the field.”

One of the aspects of FieldSENSE is “Hit Everything,” which gives you more control over all the contact in the game. Tackles, blocks, midair hits and even the ability to seamlessly animate a player’s transition from covering one player to another really smoothed out the nitty-gritty action in the game, and it too has been improved for Madden NFL 24. The “Hit Everything” dynamic has been added to blockers, letting them move from target to target and adapt their blocking based on a runner’s path changing or any number of variables.  

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Madden NFL 24’s AI extends to running the teams as well. Do you have a favourite passing play that gets you down the field every time, and you rely on that play a little too much? The opposing team will get wind of it and make adjustments in the play calling that may just punish you if you go to that well too often. This means your coach brain will have to be working overtime to pick a wide variety of plays not just to outplay but outsmart the AI. Even the trade AI has gotten better, so if you put Patrick Mahomes on the trading block, you’ll get some meaningful offers. 

A number of other things beyond the AI have been added to Madden NFL 24 to improve the overall gaming experience. Thousands of new animations have also been added to create a more authentic viewing experience. More tackle, covering the ball and movement-branching animations (like a more natural spin out of a tackle into a juke) will make the game more fluid and less repetitive.  

Madden NFL 24 has made some meaningful changes to the AI on the characters not controlled by the gamer, which will make the football experience more authentic.”

Gameplay emotion has been added to the game in the form of even more animations. Did your receiver drop a big first-down pass in the game’s final moments when you were trailing? Their reaction will reflect that, allowing the players to understand the stakes, so when emotions are running high, you won’t be seeing the same animations that you’d see on the first drive of the game when a run on second down didn’t go your way. 

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The playbooks are expanding with over 70 new formations and 500 new plays. The latest NFL gear will also be well-represented in the game. Gear like the Riddell Axiom helmet will look as real as you see it on game day. Little details like allowing the number 0 to appear on skill players’ jerseys and the ability for the QB to have his hand warmers on his back are also present in the game.  

Ambient Occlusion and Ray Tracing are also available for the latest generation of consoles and on PC. The lighting effects—even in the work-in-progress version of the game that we played in California—were breathtaking. The way the sun hits the helmet, and the skin are both so strikingly natural and unique from one another. It made me think of the 90s when we’d play a game like Goldeneye and ask ourselves, how can a game get more realistic? Madden NFL 24 may have provided the definitive answer. 

One of the most interesting new items is in the form of a change to the skeletal structure of the on-screen characters, be it players, referees (yes, refs are back on the field in Madden NFL 24), coaches and even the audience. The new system, known as Sapien, completely rebuilds the game characters’ skeletal structures in a way that promotes more natural movement. This is optimized not just for male game models, but also for females.  

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If you look back to previous versions of Madden, you may see the odd hunchback or foot folded in a way that should send the player to the sidelines. Sapien cleans all of those details up. Since football is a game of inches, it’s great to see EA sweating the small things, some of which may have gone unnoticed by many. All the new animations take full advantage of this new system.  

Cross-platform play is now available for Madden NFL 24. You can now play with friends no matter what platform they are on (The only exception being that 5th gen systems can’t play with players on 4th gen systems). This is a big—yet necessary—update for the Madden franchise. As online play has become more the norm in all gaming, the ability to not limit one’s self to a single platform worth of people could definitely have been a problem in the long run. 

At the heart of Madden NFL 24’s online play is a brand-new mode: Superstar Showdown. In this brand-new mode, you squad up with your friends for some 3v3 football with no play calling. It feels more like playing ball with your friends in a field and telling them to go long. It’s fast pace gaming on a scaled-down field that feels like a high-end arcade experience. This game mode is also cross-platform. 


What’s even more impressive than what they are introducing is what they are bringing back. First off, Superstar mode is back in a big way. Create your very own player and take them through their entire career, from the combine to the draft and even navigate them through becoming their very own brand with sponsorships, appearances and more.

“At the heart of Madden NFL 24’s online play is a brand-new mode: Superstar Showdown”

When you play, you will be graded in real-time with the grade depending on how well you followed your assignments, the success of the play, etc. The media will be talking about you after every game. Your player’s progression is on the line with every decision you make, so to get him to the 99 Club, you need to do more than just play well. You will have missions to accomplish, mostly statistical in nature (think of them as side quests), that will help you achieve your ultimate goals. 

Also back is a popular game mode; mini-games. The quick skill-based games that showcase your precision passing, evading tackles and outrunning a Cornerback to get that big catch are among 25 already completed mini-games available. After getting a chance to play them, they had all the fun feeling of the old mini-games with the modern mechanics I’ve been touting in this article. Mini-games are also a part of Superstar Mode, another way to work on your player’s progression. 

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Managing your franchise has always been an in-depth experience, and it has only gotten better in Madden NFL 24. You’ll have all the options that you are used to with quite a lot of additions. Trades have gotten bigger and better, with six trade slots to create some really interesting packages, mixing players and draft picks. Contract restructuring for your players is quite comprehensive, even allowing you to add a fifth-year option on their players. 

Coaching trees are improved to help you create uniquely specialized, position-based coaches that will fit your team’s needs. Do you already have a star QB? Maybe you need an offensive coordinator that will help rally your receivers. 

The newest Draft Class Generators will include additional 99 club players as well as Legendary players, rookies based on the archetypes of NFL Legends. You can also draft players who can play out of their main position. You may have a receiver who can play QB or a lineman who makes a decent linebacker. You can do that.  

Relocation has always been a fun part of the game, with the ability to create a whole new team with unique logos and stadiums. The new looks of the jerseys and logos are fantastic. They look like authentic gear for potential new teams for the league. You have more city options and more uniform/logo varieties to make the team your own. There are also so many other commissioner tools, like Age XP sliders, trade difficulty, home field advantage, draft timer, progression/regression sliders, player motivation impact and so much more to give you the most full experience possible.  

But now, for the big reveal. Who made the cover of Madden NFL 24? This young Quarterback is the first member of his team to receive the honour and currently holds the record for touchdowns in their first five seasons. The cover for Madden NFL 24 goes to none other than Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills. 


My experience at EA, including extensive play time of the unfinished game, gives me lots to look forward to for the release of this game, which drops on August 18, 2023. You are able to pre-order the game now and if you pre-order the Deluxe version of the game, you’ll get access to the game three days early, 4600 Madden Points and more. If you order before July 22, you’ll get a player item from the AKA Ultimate Team Program as well. 

More features and additions will likely be revealed in the coming months leading up to the launch of the game, but everything we’ve gone over is proof positive that EA Sports is making sure that, whatever you can imagine for the Madden franchise, that “It’s In The Game.”

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