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Friday August 18, 2006 12:28 am

Madden 360: Issues Surface, EA Downplays Concerns

Madden 07 Xbox 360As the official release of Madden 2007 nears, a couple of online sites have been able to get their hands on the final code for their perusal. Two sites, Operation Sports and Madden Nation, uncovered what they felt were a couple of glitches in the gameplay. The first involved the presence of “Hall of Fame” players on the rosters of teams in franchise mode. The second involved a problem with the fatigue in game. Players noticed that the fatigue bars for players never seemed to go down while playing, regardless of whether or not the feature was toggled. 1up followed up with David Ortiz, who led the team for the Xbox 360 version to investigate the problem.

Ortiz’s response seemed to downplay the concerns of the hardcore fans of the game. For the first problem EA was able to offer a workaround, so that players could eliminate spurious “Hall of Fame” players from their roster. That this behavior seemed to contradict the feature as outlined during EA’s Community Day was not addressed.

The response to the second issue was less inspiring. Ortiz believed that the issue was with the UI, and not the actual fatigue algorithms, which he said was set “at a lower pace than in the past… we’re addressing and fixing [it] right now.” Any fix would be addressed via online patch.

This isn’t the first time that a Madden game has had problems with fatigue. Gamers were able to abuse the fatigue function in Madden NFL 2005 so badly in online play that EA’s only suggestion was to turn off the feature entirely. Now, a new type of fatigue bug is present and EA’s response is that there will be a patch provided online. Bugs of this nature should be caught before release, but basically EA can slack off for their releases.

Because the Xbox 360 has access to live updates, games can be patched after release; Many Xbox 360 games have already been patched, and EA is not proving to be any different. EA also has no competition in the football realm, so either gamers buy EA’s offering or they don’t play. This basically allows EA to be arrogant and minimize the concerns of what could be EA’s strongest boosters. Last year, EA was able to release an Xbox 360 version that looked good, but was missing a number of features. As the only game in town, there’s not a lot of incentive to treat their fans right.

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