Despite the fact that EA Sports has an exclusive license to produce video games for the NFL, it doesn't prevent them from pushing the envelope when it comes to their Madden NFL series. In Madden NFL 13, EA Sports has raised the bar significantly with the addition of what is referred to as the Infinity Engine.
According to the EA Sports developer blog, the Infinity Engine is "a system that augments animation based on contact with other players or objects on the field." What that means is that with the use of real-time physics, every tackle in every game is a completely new and unique experience.
"With the Infinity Engine, the tackles are dynamic in that momentum and velocity and mass all take part," said Madden NFL 13 lead presentation designer Patrick Bellanca in a recent interview with The Broad Street Line. "The game is no longer predictable in the tackling system."
After a few minutes with the game, it's readily apparent that Madden NFL 13 both feels and plays differently than any other football game before it. This year, there is now more of a chance for big plays as the action on the field doesn't merely finish with a canned animation.
Ball carriers can now fall on top of another player, and as long as their knee doesn't touch the ground, they can get back up and continue running. And for the first time in the series' history, tackling Calvin Johnson looks and feels completely different from taking down Santana Moss.
If the goal was to make it so that no two tackles—and therefore, no two plays—look the same, then the Madden NFL 13 development team did a remarkable job.
"Adding the Infinity Engine changes the way you play Madden," said Bellanca. "It brings a new feeling ... it brings more 'wow' moments than we've ever had in a Madden game."
The Madden series has always been known for top-notch gameplay, but as Bellanca states, "The Infinity Engine let us go beyond what we considered to be top-notch."
As impressive as the game looks now, EA Sports is already on record saying that this is just the first iteration of their new animation system. So, as the Infinity Engine evolves and is tweaked over time, expect future editions of the Madden series to set the bar even higher in terms of realism.