While the football world waits to see whether or not Johnny Manziel’s run-and-gun style will translate to the NFL, gamers can already test the first round pick’s skills against the best of the best as the highly touted (and debated) QB, along with every player picked in the first round of Thursday night’s NFL Draft has already been added into Madden NFL 25 via an online update. The players now appear exclusively as part of the game’s popular Madden Ultimate Team mode, where gamers purchase packs of virtual cards in order to put together a dream team of superstars.
“This is the first time we’ve ever added the entire first round into the game like this,” says Ryan Simmons, senior product marketing manager, EA Sports. “Madden is the first place where you can see experience what it’s going to be like for these guys to play in the NFL. Ultimate Team is the fastest growing mode in Madden, and every year we’re looking for new ways to continue to foster growth and enjoyment for fans.”
To add the players, it took a team of 20 Madden producers/developers/engineers working together to create the player, run through a quick Q/A session, then drop each virtual athlete into the game immediately after they were drafted.
Each draftee will have two versions of their card available to discover by purchasing Madden Ultimate Team pro packs at $1.50 per pack.
“The standard card will be rated a 90 based on the shared belief amongst teams and fans that a first-round pick is going to have an immediate impact on their team,” says Simmons. “There will also be an upgraded version of each player that fans can get by having the athlete and his corresponding collectible item. Each of the projected first-round picks has corresponding collectibles with them on each team. For instance, there’s one for Clowney on the Texans, Clowney on the Rams, etc. Once the player is drafted, if you have the collectible of them on the correct team as well as the Draft player item, you can trade it in for an upgraded player and a coin reward.
“These collectibles have been in packs for a while now, so fans have likely seen them when they opened new packs and got new players and items. “
Upgraded cards will feature higher player ratings, making players like Manziel even more dangerous as a polygonal passer/runner.
Unfortunately, just like the old days of ripping open wax packs and hoping for that rookie card, there are no guarantees that just because you’re purchasing a new pack, that you’ll find a Manziel or Clowney in your collection.
Adds Simmons: “If you don’t have luck finding the draftee you’re looking for in packs, we also have an auction house, where you can use in-game currency or a cash purchase to acquire the card you’re after. I can’t tell you the exact odds of finding one of these first round picks in a pack, but the great thing is, now they’re in the game, where they weren’t before, and adding all of these players really adds a lot to the Madden Ultimate Team experience. There’s something just so exciting about having these rookies already in the game. “Personally, I can’t wait for my Manziel card. The classic Madden quarterbacks have always been those skilled running/passing players, and I just think he’s going to be a lot of fun to go in and play as.”