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Gridiron Notes: QB Throwing Styles

Community questions answered about the exciting new additions in gameplay coming in Madden NFL 20.

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Welcome back to another installment of Madden NFL 20’s Gridiron Notes! In today’s article Associate Designer Andre Weingarten and Animator Justin Rogers provide more detail on QB throwing styles in Madden NFL 20. 

Today, we wanted to talk a bit about some significant changes we made to Quarterback (QB) throwing styles this year. Our primary objectives this cycle was to:

1. Add more authenticity to the appearance of QBs throwing motions, thus building on our pre-play adjustments from Madden NFL 19, and

2. To standardize our systems a bit to provide a more consistent experience for each QB.

Our animation team did a ton of work to capture, and then replicate the motions of the NFL’s very best, including Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, etc. When using any of these players, you will visually notice a significant difference in release point, footwork, speed of the QBs arm whipping to throw, and more. In some cases, you will also get to see truly signature throws, like the Patrick Mahomes no-look pass when attempting cross-body throws, or Aaron Rodgers whipping the ball out of his hand without stepping into all his throws.

For Madden NFL 20, we standardized all set-pass animations. Hopefully you all can appreciate these differences and feel like you are controlling these Signature players.

Regarding in-game impact, we wanted to create different tiers of QB play to try and replicate the best versus the rest. First, we revisited our Short passes. In previous years, there were two generic short throw animations, that had a 50/50 chance of being used. However, the biggest pain point around these animations was they were different speeds from button press to ball release. Obviously, it can be frustrating not knowing what animation you will trigger in such a timing-based game, so for Madden NFL 20, we took these animations and made them the same speed for all generic passing types.

Next, we altered release time based on the depth of the throw, and the direction a pass is going. For example, we break down depth into Short/Medium, Deep, and Hail Mary distances. For Short/Medium animations to trigger (these do not go 1:1 with throw accuracy ratings), the landing spot of the ball must be less than 50 yards from the QB. Deep is 51-60, and Hail Mary is 60+ yards. Essentially, the farther the throw, the longer the animation speed, to simulate a QB winding up, and putting his all into the throw.

Furthermore, passes in the middle of the field, or square with the QB will always be the fastest. Passing to the left or right, which will require the QB to alter his feet, will be slightly longer animations. For a right-handed QB, throwing to the left will be the longest throwing motion, while for a left-handed QB, throwing to his right will be the longest.

Next, we separated out the QBs into various tiers to determine what the speed of their animation packages will be. The fastest throwing motion in the game is Aaron Rodgers, to replicate how incredible his release is in real life. The next fastest tier is all the other Signature QBs, and one of our generic animation sets. This step down is not too drastic and is still noticeably faster than a true generic throwing motion. While each animation package may look or feel different, every throwing motion is the same speed for players in the same tier. At launch, every starting QB except for Nick Foles, due to his longer motion, will be in the Signature QB tier of animation speed using either their signature package, or the fastest generic animation package.

After the “Signature” tier, we have our true generic, which will be applied to non-starters & Nick Foles, and out of position players who have shown they are quality passers, like Mohammad Sanu, or former college QBs. The bottom tier is a slower generic package, which is a noticeable drop off from the signature, and even standard generic tier. QBs with extremely long throwing motions, low level backups, and the rest of the out of position players will be assigned this package. Now, if you have a starter go down with injury, having a backup with a solid throwing motion becomes an additional layer to consider in the teambuilding process.

Lastly, we have assigned out these various throwing motions in Franchise draft classes, so you never know which QB will wind up with a lightning quick release!

Madden NFL 20 is out worldwide on August 2. Pre-order the Superstar Edition and play 3 days early. Stay in the conversation by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and EA Forums. Sign up for the Newsletter today to receive updates on Madden, and other EA news, products, and events, all season long.


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