What is this game?
Madden NFL Overdrive transforms the way you play the game with the introduction of Player vs. Player (PvP). These are quick-hitting, fierce offensive battles with one simple goal – outscore your opponent.
You’ll earn Fantasy-like scores, meaning you get points for everything you do on the field. From every rushing and passing yard to each touchdown, all of it adds to your score. There are no kickoffs, just short drives for big points. This fresh take real-time PvP experience is the heart of Madden NFL Overdrive.
What did I contribute?
In order to make the complexities of American Football more understandable I embarked on an effort to take some familiar concepts to gamers and apply them to this IP. We ultimately implemented classes and archetypes, which paved the way for not only our audience to more easily understand some of the core underlying strategies in football, but members of the development team as well.
This concept of identifying clear focused strategies and indicating what situations they were best for and what they could be countered by was huge. The team and player base now had a new and easy to understand language for talking about the game and balance decisions we were making.
The opportunity as identified by the business side was to create a fun and compelling new PvP game mode for the Madden IP. We did just that. Teams would be led by a single Captain, each with a specific class and a unique ability. By making scoring fantasy based, keeping matches short, and balancing the unique Captain abilities we successfully created a very quick, very fun new way to play the game. We took this idea from concept straight through to completion and accomplished exactly what we set out to.
The previous tutorial system was a huge risk in many ways. I worked with Engineers to build a more flexible tutorial system allowing for more iteration on the content side without the need for an engineer down the road when doing content iteration. I designed this tool, tested it, and used it to build all of the launch tutorial content in the game.
In order to have a smoother onboarding ramp for players I also designed an entire program for launch to teach players about the new classes and game mode we had created for the game.
One of my contributions to the team was establishing best practices with regards to research and data driven design. With the help of fellow designers we were able to shift from a culture of going with our guts to logical reasoning and gathering data to help inform decisions.
In addition to the culture shift in logic I also began working on fostering a culture of inclusion and camaraderie that would improve morale, slowly at first, but picking up momentum as time went on.
One big contribution to the team that I began on this project and pushed real hard on future projects was documenting pain points with any of the tools the team was using, and collaborating with engineers and other team members on the most practical solutions. This turned out to be a really valuable practice giving insight into areas that would become serious bottlenecks in the future for the team. Knowing these ahead of time allowed us to plan for them and advocate for more resources to focus on them.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Tiburon
Model: Free-to-play, live service
Modes: PvE, PvP, Auction
Team Size: ~ 30
Dev Cycle: ~ 1 year