Though the specs have yet to be confirmed, the Wii U is widely expected to be as, or slightly more, powerful than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Thus, unlike with the Wii, all versions of Madden NFL 13 across the board could have technically been identical across the big three’s respective platforms. Nonetheless, the Wii U will be receiving an inferior version of Madden NFL 13, which will exclude the highly touted, realistic Infinity Engine and the popular Madden Ultimate Team mode, in which the player can create an amalgamated team using purchased or earned in-game currency.
When confronted about the omissions by ESPN’s Jon Robinson, the game’s producer, Yuri Bialoskursky, had this to say:
“It’s not for a lack of want. We definitely wanted to get the physics into the game. The Infinity Engine is something that is a point of interest for Madden fans, it’s just something we weren’t able to achieve for this first year on the new hardware… Madden Ultimate Team is something that we’re not going to have in year one. It’s another one that we plan to add in as we go. “
This story seems kind of familiar. It is understandable that porting over a game to new hardware for the first time is a daunting technical challenge, and implementing a brand new physics engine on new hardware is probably an exponentially harder task. But that doesn’t really explain the absence of Madden Ultimate Team. I would venture to guess that the lack of an established online marketplace for the Wii U would cause some problems for a mode that includes the ability to purchase coins using real money. I suppose the mode could have been implemented using only the coins earned through playing games, but… naaaah, that’s not profitable.
So what is Bialoskursky’s favorite feature of Madden NFL 13 that is specific to the Wii U?
“[B]ut for me, honestly, I love the playbook. Everything is laid out in front of you and I can quickly just tap through everything and still have the ability to change my mind, tap back and substitute my guys. It’s really resonated with our hardcore guys in play test, and I can see why because it’s just quick.”
So the biggest advantage of Madden on Nintendo’s new console is… choosing plays from a touch screen instead of using the controller. Not too revolutionary, and I struggle to see how it’s such a big time saver over using the controller.
But wait, there’s more! You can use the touch screen to draw routes, including hot routes:
“Drawing your own hot routes where you don’t have to pick from a predesigned series of hot routes is another. We give you that top-down view of both the offense and defense so you can quickly disseminate how the defense is setup, and then draw a route to take advantage of their weaknesses. Then on defense, if you play “Madden,” you know you only have a couple of seconds before that ball is snapped, and to actually hot route your defenders on the other consoles, you have to switch to that guy, you have to open the menu, press a button, then switch over to the next guy and repeat. It’s a little, I don’t want to call it clunky, but it’s cumbersome. Here: tap, drag, tap, drag. If you know what you want to do, it’s really quick and it’s really easy.”
OK, that seems like it could be a more efficient method to shake up the included route structure. But again, this feature seems familiar. Essentially, it appears as though Madden NFL 13 is going to be awfully similar to the PS Vita version. For those of you expecting to purchase a Wii U after it is released this holiday season and want to play a fully-featured version of the only console football game, I suppose there’s always Madden NFL 14.