Madden 12 Art Director Interview
Sean W. Gibson / Jun 27th, 2011 No Comments
Madden 12 is going to be released on August 30th for all platforms and this year’s edition boasts a ton of new features. There’s a new collision system, advanced defensive A.I. upgrades, custom playbooks and a whole new level of presentation in this edition. The franchise mode includes more than 100 new features and enhancements including expanded rosters, a rookie scouting system and a free-agent bidding system. But out of all the new features that has the Madden Nation buzzing, the new graphics and presentation are the ones that has everyone talking.
We sat down with EA’s Mike Young, who serves as Creative Art Director for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. In this exclusive interview we talk about what’s new in Madden 12 and see what it’s like to stay motivated to release new editions of the most popular sports game franchise in video game history.
GI: Sean Gibson, Gaming Illustrated. If you could give me your name and your job title, please.
MY: I’m Mike Young and I’m the art director of Madden NFL 12.
GI: Okay so showing off the visuals here at E3, you’ve got a bazillion different platforms with a bazillion different variables for capabilities. As the art director how do you juggle all of that?
MY: Well fortunately I don’t have to juggle it. I just work on the Xbox 360 and the PS3 titles. But we do help our other partners keep an aligned look and we share assets.
GI: I’m sure you don’t envy the other art directors who have to design the game for iPad 2 or DS or other platforms that have inferior capabilities.
MY: All that stuff is really interesting and cool but it’s too much for one person to take on.
GI: So what’s new with this year’s edition? Why don’t you talk about within the art scope what’s new with Madden 12.
MY: Art – tons of stuff is new. We have a brand new broadcast presentation. We worked with CBS in the off season and we basically did ride-alongs with their studio. We went to games and learned how they shoot the games, where every camera is in the stadium and we replicated those elements in the game. So we have every camera in every real stadium that you’d see on TV and we’re using it the right way. In addition to that we worked with NFL films and every scene in which you’d normally on a TV broadcast see a handheld or a steady cam, we actually have this great technology similar to what James Cameron had on Avatar where our NFL films cameramen are filming our feeds and that translates directly into the game. So we’re really proud of that.
On top of that we have all 32 teams’ authentic pre-games and the player introductions. So we’ve added pyro, we’ve added inflatables, cheerleaders, mascots, all of it is 100% authentic to the real teams. Player models have gotten a drastic overhaul. Scaling proportions, the ball scale. We’ve added equipment, 20 new face masks, four new helmets, two new shoe manufacturers, flag jackets, back blades; it’s a lot of stuff. 3D grass is brand new, too.
GI: So you’re telling me there’s nothing new on Madden 12 basically. (laughing)
MY: It’s pretty much a new roster. (laughs) No, it’s total overhaul. We really feel like on this generation it’s the biggest year-over-year improvement ever.
GI: So presentation is always big with Madden and when you’re looking at the flagship franchise of EA Sports, you know it must be pretty rewarding to know that what you do is not just about game play, it’s also about presentation. It really gives the Madden game a professional polished real-life look. How do you keep raising the bar year to year?
MY: Well I think there’s our stuff, but our community is always asking for more and more and we have reality to also look at. And really, we just wanted to capture the true NFL. We have thousands of players to replicate and 40 stadiums; so there’s always new stuff to push ourselves towards and I think that’s the challenge. Everybody has their favorite player or favorite team and getting all those details right; their uniforms, the towels, like if a guy wears a different face mask we’ve got to get that in the game. So it’s really about getting all that authenticity plus keeping up with the rest of the industry with great new graphical features like HDR lighting and depth-to-field, you know, keeping up with all the trends and pushing our game.
GI: You look pretty content… Happy with this release?
MY: Yeah. And you know you’re never really content because you’re always wanting to do more and more and more. But it’s great to come out to a show like this and over the last couple of months interacting with our fans and they seem really content and really happy with how much we’ve done this year. So in that way I am content about it. But we’ll keep pushing and pushing but I feel like honestly we couldn’t have done anymore for our fans this year and that feels good.
GI: Well thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it. Congratulations.
Stay tuned right here at Gaming Illustrated for more about Madden 12 as it breaks.
tags: ea sports , madden 12 , mike young