CCC: Please explain how the Superstar mode will play out this year. What changes are being made to improve the experience?
Frazier: In Madden NFL 07, you can now work to become enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. You do this through the improved NFL Superstar: Hall of Fame mode. The first major improvement you'll notice is the all new camera and controls when playing Superstar games. You are now locked to your position when you are on the field and while locked, the camera has been totally customized to provide a unique action-style experience while you play. In addition to the cool cameras, we've given you tons of new control specific to the position you are playing. All of the custom controls can be executed by using your right stick.
In addition to the camera and controls, we've added a brand new Influence system. Based on your performance on the field, you will be given Influence points. As you gain influence, you'll have the opportunity before every drive to boost you or your team's ratings, or rattle your opponents.
Lastly, there's the Hall of Fame. Through your actions on and off the field, you have the opportunity to work towards the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If you meet the requirements of the hall, you'll be treated to a very cool induction video at the end of your career.
CCC: Franchise mode is being brought to the next-gen this year. Will players feel as if they are playing modes from the Xbox or PS2 from two years ago, or will the experience be unique? How?
Ortiz: I touched on how mini camp was reinvented for next gen, and it also helps provide new depth to franchise mode. Inside of franchise mode, we're going to use some of these drills for injury rehab. For the first time in any sports game you're going to be able to actively rehab a player based on how well you perform in the drills. If a guy gets injured and he's out for seven weeks or so; you can actually take him into a drill and cut his recovery time down to a couple weeks or get him back even sooner based on how well you perform in the drills. But there is risk and reward there: if you push him too hard you can potentially knock him out for the rest of the season or for a longer period of time.
We are also going to have player development throughout the entire year with the mini-camp drills. So rather than just doing it at the beginning of the season; week to week you can develop players in franchise mode using our mini-camp drills. This train-for-game feature is a good way to bring along a rookie player who isn't quite ready to burst in to the starting line up at the start of the season.
We have also brought back the very popular feature of being able to import an NCAA draft class on X360 now that NCAA ships on that platform.
CCC: How many athletes did you guys invite to the motion capture studio in developing the specific running styles for 07?
Ortiz: We have some incredibly talented animators at our studio and were able to deliver the unique animations by watching film and hand animating and modifying existing run cycles and new cycles that were captured by different athletes.
CCC: Where have you guys taken advice from the fans and made changes to the gameplay? How much do you guys look at this feedback when brainstorming for the next year?Frazier: Madden has become so popular we don't have a problem finding people that want to give advice on the game. Our biggest problem is sorting through the large number of Madden fan sites as well as the thousands of emails that get sent to EA Sports. The bulk of the advice centers on gameplay. Since the product is released as we're working on the concepts for the next version, we seriously consider all of this feedback. After all, we are making this game for our fans.
Ortiz: We took some extra steps this year in facilitating feedback by having the Madden Ballers, hardcore players from the Madden community, come in to the studio and give us feedback on the gamer in progress. We also had a face to face session with members of the community after hours at E3 to get their impressions while the game was still early in development.