The NFL season is finally underway, and that means a big few weeks ahead for Madden 23. This year's Gridiron sim dropped on August 19, with a new 'FieldSense' mechanic providing the main on-field focus. Ultimate Team inevitably gets minor tweaking, while there are welcome changes to franchise mode too. Still considering a purchase? Then, much like a Tom Brady pass into the end zone, you've landed in the right spot. Below we have player ratings, the best teams and much more in your one-stop 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 was the Madden 23 release date?
Historically, EA always likes 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 was set midway through this year's pre-season matches. It landed 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 is the Madden 23 cover star?
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 are the top Madden 22 ratings?
All ratings are now official, and four players made the Madden 23 99 Club at launch – meaning they have the maximum possible overall score. They are Aaron Donald (RE, LA Rams), Davante Adams (WR, Las Vegas Raiders), Myles Garrett (RE, Cleveland Browns) and Trent Williams (LT, San Francisco 49ers). You can read profiles of this quality quartet in GR's Madden 23 99 Club guide.
Inevitably, the Rams roster is absurdly stacked following their Super Bowl triumph. As well as the 99-rated Donald they boast 98s for Cooper Kupp (WR) and Jalen Ramsey, 91 for Bobby Wagner (MLB), and 85 for Matthew Stafford (QB).
Need more numbers goodness? Then we have three more key scouting reports for you. You can check out the highest-rated rosters in our Madden 23 best teams guide. Or, if you're more interested in individual brilliance, stop off at our Madden 23 X-Factors list and Madden 23 ratings guide.
Madden 23 features are focussed on FieldSense
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. “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 review instead.
What’s been added to Madden 23 franchise mode?
EA Tiburon provides year-round updates to franchise mode, which carry over from one game to the next. The most recent arrived in April – and all its new additions are indeed in 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're fairly cool. When trying to sign a player in free agency they 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’. This adds more depth than simply planting a sum of money on the table, and receiving a 'yes' or 'no' answer.
In July, EA added a new Madden 23 franchise mode deep dive. You can read it on the official EA website.
What’s missing from Madden 23?
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, there's no 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. "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 failing 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.