Polygon’s Samit Sarkar spoke with Madden’s creative director, Rex Dickson, about Madden NFL 16 at a recent demo. There’s been a divide in NFL games fans since ESPN NFL 2K5 over a decade ago. Some fans still say that ESPN NFL 2K5 was, and remains, a better game than the many entries in the Madden franchise.

Dickson believes that those folks would change their minds if they picked up the new Madden game, Madden NFL 16. Sakar played the game, and agrees that it’s pretty dang good. There are new features, such as being able to press X (on the PS4) to hit the receiver instead of going straight for the ball. He noted that while—in this particular play—he wasn’t able to stop the receiver from catching the ball, he did push the character out of bounds. This is a pretty advanced mechanic, unlike anything Sakar has seen in Madden.

Dickson noted that “It’s probably the biggest ‘wow’ moment generator we’ve put in the game in 20 years.”

EA Tiburon aims to fix some of the long-standing issues with the Madden franchise, as well. Dickson wants to win back those players who swear by ESPN NFL 2K5, and righting some of those problems is the first step to doing so. A list of the legacy issues that have been fixed in Madden NFL 16 has been released.

While Madden sales had declined over the past few years, last year’s game was the second best-selling title in 2014 (in the United States), just after Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Madden NFL 15 sold more than 6 million copies. It’s not quite on par with the 8 to 10 million copies-a-year that Madden boasted back in the PlayStation 2 and GameCube years, but Dickson is confident that the franchise is going to find its footing again.

Madden NFL 16 will be available on August 25 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

Keezy Young

Keezy Young

Keezy is a gamer, illustrator, and designer. Her background is in teaching and tutoring kids from ages 9 to 19, and she's led workshops for young women in STEM. She is also holds a certificate in teaching English. Her first memory of gaming is when her dad taught her to play the first Warcraft when she was five. You can find her at Key of Zee and on Twitter @KeezyBees.