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Madden 2002 Interview

7/2/01

We recently had a chance to interview Jeremy Strauser, Senior Producer. [Editor's Note: This is the same interview posted on our network site, Madden Mania.] Questions were chosen from our Madden Mania forums.

Questions are pertaining to the PS2 version of Madden 2002 unless noted otherwise in the actual question.

What would you say would be some of the more important improvements in Madden 2002 versus Madden 2001?

    The look of the players (faces and body shapes) and coaches is a dramatic upgrade. Compared to last year, players look much more like their real-life counterpart. Additionally, the game play to me is much improved. Pass coverage and blocking in particular have been reworked to really improve game play. We've also increased our level of depth this year with a host of new game modes such as Two-Minute Drill, Training Mode, Create-A-Team, Custom League and Tournament.

Will Madden 2002 for X-box, PS2, GameCube and PC all contain basically the same features?

    The PS2, Xbox and Gamecube are developed together so generally, yes for those three. PC is developed independently, so while we may share some technology, PC is very different in terms of features and design. Although to be fair on the consoles, we will spend quite a bit of time making specific enhancements to take advantage of each console in terms of both graphical capabilities and interface. For example: we can have better looking uniforms and crowds on Xbox and Gamecube, on Xbox we can use the hard drive to make load times almost non-existent and on Gamecube we have to scale back how much is saved in Franchise mode due the memory card size.

Has the franchise mode for the PC version been worked on? Will the game actually save right without having to go through the start a game, then quit after kick-off and reconnect to the IP method?

    Yes and yes.

Will there be more detailed stats, such as tackles for losses, longest FG made, etc. in the PC version?

    Yes, and specifically yes on the two you ask about.

How has the pass defensive AI been worked on?

    This is an area we spent a lot of time on. Players will be much more aggressive this year, both in trying to go for the ball and in trying to separate the receiver from the ball. To that end we also added a lot of new animations for interceptions (and attempted interceptions), tipped passes, knocked down passes, etc. This is an are of the game that feels very different than last year. However, keep in mind, if you call the wrong defense (a double safety blitz for example) and get burned, it isn't bad AI it is bad play calling.

Any new commentary added to the game?

    Yes John and Pat will now speak a lot about the players in a particular game, as opposed to generic commentary. We've also increased the variety of commentary by more than doubling what will be played. While certainly not perfect, this is the best John and Pat have sounded in a video game yet.

I was told that the 2002 PC version of Madden would have the 2001 PS2 Madden engine. Will it be a direct port or will the bugs and faults in the game play be tweaked?

    We only ported the good stuff (grin). In reality we used the PS2 graphics and animation system on PC which will allow for better looking players and stadiums with more animations. The AI is custom to the PC game and both engines have been refined and tuned.

Has the play calling been improved? Often, in the PC version, whenever I'm up by 21 or more points, the cpu ends up fake punting and doing fake FGs way back in their own terriority. This really takes away from the game.

    Yes, this has been worked on quite a bit. A lot of play-calling problems were eliminated, and the coach's aggressiveness plays a big part on how risky the CPU play calling is.

In one of the screen shots for Madden 2002 released, I see a helmet camera angle. Will there be an instant replay camera angle from the helmet? Will this be available during the actual game? Play the game from the QB's helmet or follow the holes through the RB eyes? Will there be a custom camera angle to take advantage of the processing power of these next-generation consoles?

    You'll have to wait and see but this angle really isn't playable we tried, but it is just too difficult to see enough in a first person angle in a football game. Still, we wanted put the user "in the helmet" at least sometimes so we found some ways to do it.

Will there finally be left footed kickers and punters? Got to give some respect to those lefties out there!

    Yes.
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