Madden NFL 20's X-Factor abilities turn elite players into superheroes

We already know quite a bit about Madden NFL 20: it will be on PC again this year, it's arriving on August 2, and at long last a genuine career mode is returning to Madden, called Face of the Franchise. 

At EA Play at E3 today, we learned more about Madden 20's Superstar X-Factor, the system that lets you unlock special abilities for star players after completing objectives. The X-Factor will help differentiate elite players from one another, created to "make the sure the stars felt like stars" according to Seann Graddy, the game's executive producer.

For Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, for example, completing four passes of thirty yards or more will unlock his exclusive 'Bazooka' ability, which will increase his max passing distance by fifteen yards.

It feels to me like the abilities could wind up being a bit OP—some of the X-Factor abilities we've heard about are things like perfect passing accuracy on cross body throws and perfect accuracy while throwing on the run. I get the idea of wanting elite stars to truly stand out among the rest of the players, but no matter how gifted a player is, no one is perfect. On the other hand, it does kind of suck to be controlling the best players in the league and watch them goof up a simple play. But it happens. 

Meanwhile, Face of the Franchise will let you create your own college quarterback and steer them through the college championships, the NFL draft, and into a starting quarterback role in the NFL. A new Scenario Engine will generate "unique playable scenarios, events, and dynamic challenges" in both the Face of the Franchise and the standard Franchise modes "that build the story of each fan’s distinct NFL career."

Other new features are the addition of the RPO—run-pass options—new signature animations, and more formations ripped from the playbooks of NFL teams. New plays will be added to Madden during the season based on real plays. 

There will be a closed beta of Madden NFL 20 from June 14-16.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.