This year, Madden 21 is opening up the playbook, and letting its superstars ball out.

Madden 21 Dials Up Gameplay Changes on Offense and Defense

This year, Madden 21 is opening up the playbook, and letting its superstars ball out.

Electronic Arts gave Madden fans their first extended look at Madden 21 today. The official gameplay trailer below highlights the on-the-field-changes coming to this year’s installment. 

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Madden 21 will reportedly make improvements to the franchise’s ball-carrying mechanics, specifically for running backs and wide receivers. Though EA said this year’s changes will give players “all out [ball] control,” exact details were scant. Offensive moves such as the dead-leg and side-hurdle come alongside the Skill Stick, which EA said allows players to “link together clever skill-move combos.”

New mechanics on the defensive side of the ball emphasize pass rushers. To make those “positions more responsive, and fun to play,” the Skill Stick gives players more control of D-Line moves. Other adjustments come in the form of more realistic open-field tackling, which, from what’s shown in the trailer above, does appear more realistic. 

Players will also have more control over celebrations than in previous iterations, which hopefully also means a larger pool of animations across the board. There will be an additional 50 Superstar X-Factor abilities added to Madden 21, and Playbook 2.0 updates playbooks in real-time. 

These details are accompanied by the news that Baltimore Ravens’ QB and 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson will be on this year’s cover

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Madden 21 in action, but it’s the best look we’ve gotten yet. The game was first revealed during May’s Inside Xbox, with footage captured from the game on an Xbox Series X. Perhaps we’ll learn more during EA Play Live on June 18. 

Madden 21 is set to release on August 28 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Current-gen pre-orders are now available. The game will also release sometime this winter for Google Stadia, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X. Through EA’s Dual Entitlement initiative (the developer’s version of Microsoft’s Smart Delivery), players will be able to upgrade to the PS5 and XSX versions “at no additional cost.”


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Jonathan Moore
Jonathan Moore is the Editor-in-Chief of GameSkinny and has been writing about games since 2010. With over 1,200 published articles, he's written about almost every genre, from city builders and ARPGs to third-person shooters and sports titles. While patiently awaiting anything Dino Crisis, he consumes all things Star Wars. He has a BFA in Creative Writing and an MFA in Creative Writing focused on games writing and narrative design. He's previously been a newspaper copy editor, ad writer, and book editor. In his spare time, he enjoys playing music, watching football, and walking his three dogs. He lives on Earth and believes in aliens, thanks to Fox Mulder.