One of the more curious surprises at the EA conference yesterday was the leadoff for Madden 18, featuring their new, story driven 'Longshot' mode.
More details on 'Longshot' have been released by EA since the conference. According to EA, players will take control of a college washout named Devin Wade, who is attempting to break into the NFL Draft through a regional combine.
The story of Longshot will be include branching dialogue choices, multiple endings, and growing relationships, ironically eschewing the more traditional sports gameplay you would expect from a Madden title. Many of the sport simulator mechanics, such as XP and practice modes, will be absent in Longshot.
In fact, very little football will be played in Longshot, instead offering a complete story in one package.
"It's definitely a risk, but I didn't want to just follow some formula because I think you ultimately end up with a cliched, boring experience," stated creative lead Mike Young, in an interview with USGamer. "For people to really care they have to have surprises, they have to really connect to the people, to not just be, 'From Zero to Hero. I'm going to win a Super Bowl.' We've had that."Several major details with Longshot include the use of past NFL stars in the story. Of note is Dan Mario, ex-Miami Dolphins Quarterback who will be Wade's mentor, and appearances by Chad "OchoCinco" Johnson and Bill Cowher. Young is hoping that the inclusion of real NFL stars will make players feel involved in the world of the NFL in a new and exciting way.
Another major part of Longshot will be a classroom setting, which was compared to Rockstar's Bully. In this portion of the game, Wade will learn all about football formations and other useful things to help further increase his knowledge of the game. All of this, including your relationship with your friend Colt, who is described as a "Danny Amendola-like wide receiver" and their future in the NFL Draft. Multiple endings are planned, including one where both Colt and Devin do not get drafted at all.
The only place where football will be played is in a few sequences, most notably at a high school Football game. The sequences at the Combine will feature several mini games, quick time events, and 7v7 football.In this, your performance, along with your attitude, can help determine the future of Wade.
Young stated that he hopes Longshot is a success, as this is just considered an origin story for both Colt and Wade. If fan reaction to the mode is positive, there may be additional episodes and seasons available as DLC in the future.
Of course, other expected modes in Madden 18 will still be available for players. Young notes that Franchise Mode is still intact as an option and Ultimate Team is tied into Longshot a bit, unlocking cards for Marino and Johnson, as well as Wade's father who will be available as a coach.
Longshot is hoping to capture some of the magic found in another EA sports franchise, FIFA 17's "The Journey" mode. We shall see if Longshot has the same effect.
What are your thoughts on Longshot mode, and Madden 18 in general? Leave your comments below, and be sure to check out all of our coverage at our E3 coverage hub.