It’s been over a month since Madden NFL 23 launched and was promptly dragged by fans and some NFL pros alike. Unfortunately, despite some updates, it doesn’t sound like the “most polished version” of Madden in years has improved a ton, and a few players are starting to give up hope.
“It’s an embarrassment and makes me really mad I decided to get a Madden title for the first time in 6 years,” one player wrote in an email to Kotaku. “It spits on the grave of the man who graces the cover.” That assessment is on the harsher end of the spectrum, but social media and EA’s own forums are full of players still voicing similar complaints well into the game’s live service lifespan. While the perennial grievances about bugged plays and outdated in-game references persist, more serious issues with broken modes, lost progress, and balls repeatedly slipping through receivers’ hands for incredibly unlikely interceptions have fans stewing.
“There are too many interceptions!” posted one player on the EA Answers website in August. “Almost all somewhat covered routes are caught by the CB’s.” Today, there are over 100 responses. “I have had so many passes where the corner appears to be in man coverage, I then throw the ball at the receivers break and the cornerback instantly turns around and picks off the ball,” reads one. “What skill can I acquire to prevent defenders from doubling the speed of all my receivers to catch up in a fraction of a second?” reads another.
Others have shared visual evidence of the issue on the Madden subreddit. “How does the ball go through my receivers hands for an interception?” a player wrote yesterday in one of the more upvoted posts. “I’m so sick of this happening all the time.” The rest of the comments were filled with players commiserating. Solo battles, daily challenges players complete for rewards, have been another sore spot, with players reporting that they don’t properly reset after they’re completed.
Even more frustrating for some is Madden 23’s franchise mode where players build up a team over several seasons. Players have been reporting lost progress for weeks when the game freezes, crashes, or they disconnect from a match. Others can’t get the mode to progress beyond a certain point, essentially soft-locking their simulated journey. “So @EA yall ever gonna fix franchise mode for madden 23?” one player tweeted recently. “Our league keeps getting kicked back to the 2nd round of the draft.”
Complaints about shortcomings in Madden’s annual update are nothing new, and some veterans have become accustomed to braving the rough launch period until things start settling into place, but the ambient anger seems to have reached a new level this year. A couple of weeks ago, Madden streamers started circulating the hashtag “packstrike” on social media to boycott the Ultimate Team mode’s slot machine-based microtransaction economy. Top players spend anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars on card packs for a shot at unlocking the highest-ranked players for their competitive online teams while EA rakes in billions. They called on the publisher to lower reroll costs for packs and improve their odds before players spend any more money.
“I asked this when it started but at what point does #packstrike turn into #maddenstrike?” Madden YouTuber WheelzFL tweeted yesterday. YouTuber EricRayweather was equally dire, arguing in a new video that it’s up to EA’s next title update to save the game. The October patch doesn’t have an official release date yet, but it’s expected to be a big one. “We are aware of several issues that players have reported within Franchise mode and our team is working as quickly as possible to resolve these issues,” an EA community manager posted last week. “Continuing with our commitment to live service, our next Title Update focuses on player feedback from the launch-window of Madden NFL 23.”
But it’s clear there’s a big contingent of Madden players who simply want more transparency and frankness about the current state of the game. Few seem to dispute that Madden 23 makes a number of improvements to the series’ overall gameplay, but the ongoing glitches are threatening to overshadow any bright spots. “Both of these things are true,” tweeted Madden streamer Fendler. “Madden 23 gameplay is the best it has been since ‘19 at least. We should seriously consider boycotting the game entirely as things stand right now.”
EA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.