September 3, 2004 12:47 PM PDT

'Madden NFL' called for unnecessary roughness

Armchair quarterbacks want leading video game publisher Electronic Arts to give up 20 yards and replay the first down, after discovering a vexing glitch in the latest version of the company's top-selling "Madden NFL" football game.

Owners of "Madden NFL 2005," the new installment in one of the biggest franchises in video game history and a perennial cash cow for EA, are complaining about the glitch in online forums and demanding various remedies. An online petition--with 300 signatures and counting--essentially calls for a recall, in which EA would replace current game discs with ones in which the glitch is fixed.

The glitch involves one new feature and one old one--both intended to make the game a more realistic recreation of professional football. The new "formation shift" feature allows a player to move offensive players at the scrimmage line, potentially confusing the defensive line. It apparently works too well, tapping into the older "fatigue" feature meant to recreate a team's gradual decline on the field. Keep punching "formation shift" commands during a game, and the opposing defense will get so fatigued that it all but falls over.

The glitch is an annoying curiosity for those experiencing the game in single-player mode but a potential joy killer for those looking to compete against other players online.

"If this (formation shift) is used several times before the ball is snapped, the entire defense will be exhausted, therefore hindering their ability to compete," according to the petition. "A person can very easily do this to their opponent without their opponent even realizing that they are being 'glitched'...This glitch may have very well ruined this year's version of the game."

An EA representative said players can either turn off the fatigue feature or use a work-around that bypasses the glitch by calling an audible play before the ball is snapped.

The former solution is mandatory for most online games since EA patched the servers used to host online games for the Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation 2 consoles. The patch requires owners to turn off the "fatigue" setting during online play, a solution that spoils the realism of the game, some customers have complained. "Playing with the fatigue off takes away some of the strategy and realism of online games," one player wrote in a posting to EA's online discussion forum for "Madden." "The running game almost becomes useless...Where's the fun in that?"

Cheating and "cheese play" have been an ongoing issue for game publishers, as consoles have acquired Internet capabilities, with online miscreants discovering untold ways to suck all the fun out numerous games.

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Madden NFL Online Gameplay RUINED!
We, of, are writing to you to complain about a recently released product from EA's EA Sports division - namely Madden NFL 2005. Madden NFL 2005, due to a programming glitch the game, is flawed. The glitch involves a new feature - intended to make the game a more realistic recreation of professional football. The new "Formation Shift" feature allows a player to move offensive players at the scrimmage line, potentially confusing the defensive line. It apparently works too well, tapping into the fatigue of the opposing Defense.Keep calling "formation shift" commands during a game, as you come out of the Huddle and the opposing defense will get so fatigued that it all but falls over.
To properly counter the glitch, the player on Defense would need to reset there Defense via a on the field audible, before the snap of the ball. However, this solution was not good enough for EA Sports, so instead of either placing a proper patch to rectify the problem for online play, EA has forced all it's customers to play RANKED games with the Fatigue turned "OFF" - even though the FATIGUE option shows that it is turned "ON".

With the fatigue "OFF", the sim aspect of the game is ruined for online play, yet EA Spots fails to realize any of this and do anything to correct the problem other than the solution I have just mentioned, which at best is "bandage" to the problem.

Many of us find this solution unacceptable.

Many of us buy and play Madden NFL not only for the online play, but the simulation of a NFL game. While it is true that with the Fatigue "OFF", cheesers (another online term for Cheaters) will not be able to use the glitch online, playing with the Fatigue "OFF" also takes away some of the strategy and realism of online games. The running game almost becomes useless, except for possibly setting up Play Action, cause no matter how much you pound the ball at the Defense - they will never get fatigue. Where's the fun in that? Last night I played two games from Play now with player's who passed 90% of the time because running the ball accomplishes nothing. Players also are calling more Quarters and Dime defenses because they KNOW that no matter how much you run the ball - they're defense will still be fresh as daisy's for the next play.
On Offense, QB will be able to scramble all day and never grow tried. Which means the likelyhood of a defense either knocking out a McNabb or Vick out of the game has now become nil. This also means the likeyhood of a Fumble has become even less likey - even with the Hit Stick! EA, by turning "OFF" the Fatigue factor, have made this game too arcade-like. Many of us who have supported EA Sports over the years did not buy Madeen NFL to play a arcade style of Football.
EA Sports' solution is basically saying that if I (or any other sim-baller) wishes to play a RANKED game I have to play an arcade totally unrealistic style of Football online. However, if I want to play a SIM game of Football I can do so, but it would have to be an UNRANKED game where I don't get any type of rewards at all. So instead of SIM ballers getting the chance to go up in Rank or build up there Win/Loss records - we get nothing now. All the Leader board stats, Trophies and online perks are being denied to us. EA's response and actions have left a bad taste in the mouth of Sim Madden Ballers everywhere that play Madden online and do so to play a sim-style of football. They've not only taken away our right for sim-online game - but basically left us little or nothing to play for. This, we feel, is not fair to us.
EA has recently been bragging that they sold 1.6 Million copies of Madden in one week. That, is an incorrect statement. WE, the loyal fan base, purchased 1.6 Million copies of the game! And this is the "Thanks" we get for standing behind EA Sports and Tiburon.
EA wants us to keep quiet about this. That's why they haven't really gone public with this as they know it could hurt the sales of Madden. That's why they haven't posted anything online about it and why when you play a RANKED game the FATIGUE is marked as being "ON" but it isn't.
We've supported EA over the years and we deserve better treatment and service than what they're giving us!
We all deserve and demand one of the following resolutions:
1) The option to return our game for a FULL Refund. It's a Defective product.
2) Fix the game and re-release it. Allowing those of us with Defective copies to trade ours in - no questions asked.
3) Put a REAL Patch in place and fix it so the glitch is no longer effective online. If anyone on the field should be getting fatigue it should be the Offense!
Currently there is also a online Petition that has reached 0ver 900 signitures and that figure is climbing every hour.
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EA, EA Sports and Tiburon need to address this problem in a satisfactory fashion and stop cheating it's loyal customers.


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