Madden 23 guide: everything we know so far

Madden 23 is fast approaching, with big promises made for this year’s Gridiron sim. Its cover star is John Madden himself, which has apparently inspired a back-to-basics approach from developer EA Tiburon. Complementing that is a new gameplay mechanic called FieldSense, while changes are also afoot in franchise mode. Below we have details of all the above, along with the Madden 23 release date and first trailer, in your all-in-one-place Madden 23 guide.

Where can I see the first Madden 23 trailer?

Right here, by clicking the button above. The first Madden 23 trailer showcases the new elements of FieldSense, as well as some presentation improvements. There are some respectful nods to Coach Madden himself, too.

What’s the Madden 23 release date?

Madden 23

(Image credit: EA)

Historically, EA always liked to have its game out in time for the opening weekend of the real NFL campaign. For example, Madden 20 dropped on August 2, 2019. However, the pandemic saw Madden 21 delayed slightly, to August 28, 2020, while Madden 22 hit the streets on August 20, 2021.

Sure enough, the Madden 23 release date is set midway through this year’s pre-season matches. It’s coming on Friday, August 19, 2022. As well as boxed and digital standard editions, there’s also an All-Madden edition offering extras such as three days of early access, an All-Madden elite player for Ultimate Team, and the option to play on both PS4 and PS5 – or Xbox One and Xbox Series X. It’s $99.99/£89.99.

Who’ll be the Madden 23 cover star?

Madden 23

(Image credit: EA)

We have an entire Madden 23 cover vote guide on this exact theme. The Madden cover is the most cherished in sports, and also the most hotly debated – for years the Madden curse supposedly haunted the man chosen to front each year’s game. Previous incumbents Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady were sure to be contenders, but ultimately it’s Coach Madden himself who gets the gig. The former Raiders coach, commentator, and man for whom this series is named passed away in December, aged 85. Placing him on the box makes for a fine tribute to king John.

What will Madden 22 rookie ratings be?

Madden 22

(Image credit: EA)

In previous years, EA has unleashed rookie ratings to tie in with NFL draft weekend, which this year happened in late April. However, no numbers were forthcoming. We did, however, get a peek at what the big new stars look like in-game. For instance, here’s number ten pick Garrett Wilson lining up at wide receiver for the New York Jets:

Dream come true 💪 @nyjetsWho’s ballin’ out with me in #Madden22 Ultimate Team?! pic.twitter.com/pNI1v25NhoApril 29, 2022

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And here’s new Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett sporting the famous black-and-gold:

Let’s get to work @steelers ‼️Don’t wait until next season, ball out with me in #MaddenNFL22 Ultimate Team now! pic.twitter.com/8U9TJOMWJoApril 29, 2022

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Ratings wise, these are GR’s predictions for the top ten picks, based on draft classes in previous years. All should see their stats rise throughout the season, given EA’s weekly ratings updates.

  • 1 Travon Walker (DE, Jacksonville Jaguars) – 83
  • 2 Aidan Hutchinson (DE, Detroit Lions) – 82
  • 3 Derek Stingley Jr. (CB, Houston Texans –) 81
  • 4 Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (CB, New York Jets) – 80
  • 5 Kayvon Thibodeaux (DE, New York Giants) – 80
  • 6 Ikem Ekwonu (OT, Carolina Panthers) – 79
  • 7 Evan Neal (OT, New York Giants) – 77
  • 8 Drake London (Atlanta Falcons) – 77
  • 9 Charles Cross (OT, Seattle Seahawks) – 77
  • 10 Garrett Wilson (WR, New York Jets) – 77

Madden 23 features are focussed on FieldSense

Madden 23

(Image credit: EA)

With Madden 23 entering its third year on PS5 and XBox Series X, bosses at EA have been open on where the focus of their sports line-up is headed. And no, it’s not [only] Ultimate Team. The publisher says that going forward, team-mate and opponent intelligence is going to be a major area of focus on the field.

“A.I. is very well set up to be the thing that defines this generation of console,” EA Sports vice president Sean Ramjagsingh tells Fortune (opens in new tab). “The extra computing power of the new consoles unlocks extra abilities for us from a development perspective and [between] what’s happening with the capturing of real-world data and the way data’s being leveraged now to drive different technologies, there are a lot of opportunities for us moving forward.”

To this end, FieldSense is Madden 23’s big new on-field focus. It’s a mechanic deployed across offense, defense and special teams. For instance, QBs now have an aiming reticule and passing meter, while running backs can deploy true 360-degree cuts and immediate changes of direction. On D, gang tackles return, while there’s more substance to CB vs WR battles at the line of scrimmage. At least in theory.

We discussed the new gameplay changes with senior producer Mike Mahar in GR’s Madden 23 preview. Just want to know how it plays? Then zip over to our Madden 23 hands-on instead.

What’s being added to Madden 23 franchise mode?

Madden 23

(Image credit: EA)

We don’t need an official reveal in order to answer this one. EA Tiburon provides year-round updates to franchise mode, which carry over from one game to the next. The most recent arrived in April – so all its new additions should make it into Madden 23.

For instance, bye weeks were overhauled in that April update. EA’s comprehensive Gridiron Notes elaborate: “We’ve updated our bye week scenario from text messages to modular cinematics with all new choices and impacts. You’ll be asked how your team is handling the week off. You’ll be posed with choices of taking a team bonding retreat to build team chemistry, self-scouting to identify weaknesses to correct coming out of the bye or continuing to grind through the week to help with the development of your players. Each choice comes with a different positive and negative effect and as the coach, it’s on you to decide what your team needs and how to put them in the best position to succeed in the stretch run of the season.”

Other new in-franchise scenarios include team turmoil, in which you need to resolve internal issues between a powerful offense and a struggling defense, and X-Factor hot streaks. The latter sees one or more opponents start a match with their X-Factor activated, increasing the challenge of overcoming them. Get at them early and you can extinguish the fire; leave them in the zone and they play like a boss character for the entire match. It’s a neat in-game representation of real-life player form.

In June, EA confirmed more specifics on how contracts will work in Madden 23 franchise mode, and they sound kind of cool. When trying to sign a player in free agency they’ll have specific demands, such as playing time or living in an income-tax-free US state. There are four offer types available: team-friendly, player-friendly, neutral, and ‘max offer’. It sounds like it’d add more depth than simply planting a sum of money on the table, and receiving a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

What’s likely to be missing from Madden 23?

ESPN NFL 2K5

(Image credit: 2K)

Back in 2018, I wrote about 13 lost features we need restored to sports games. Five of them were from American football games and, nearly half a decade later, four are still missing.

For instance, we’re unlikely to see dynamic attendance. In real life, fans leave stadiums en masse if their team is on the receiving end of a blowout, or don’t turn up in the first place towards the end of a horror season. Yet in Madden, every stadium is packed, start to finish, for every game. That’s no accident – it’s a demand made from on-high.

“We incorporated accurate attendance for all the teams, and Jacksonville always had these terrible turnouts,” a former EA Tiburon producer told Sports Illustrated (opens in new tab). “The Jags owner got all pissed off when he heard there were empty seats when you played as his team in the game. The team called the NFL and we had to fix it immediately.”

Also unlikely to make the cut, from that same feature: Chris Berman’s half-time show as made famous by ESPN NFL 2K, the option to create your own team like in EA’s NCAA games, and the return of the Madden ambulance. Okay, that one is very old-school, and forgivable. And in fairness, importable draft classes are in the game now, and have proven a very welcome addition.

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