Madden has taken itself too seriously for decades as the realistic-as-it-gets facsimile of NFL football. The next game is flipping its hat around and sitting backward on its chair, all to let you know that it has a cool side too.
EA Sports has revealed a new game mode for Madden NFL 21 called "The Yard." It's an arcade-style take on football, six players per side on playground fields. Behind-the-back passes, pitch after pitch after pitch, plenty of showboating -- you know the vibe.
The obvious analog is to the NFL Street games of the mid-2000s, but don't expect an authentic recreation of those. NFL Street had a lot of little touches that leaned even further away from realism. Style points for flashy play, a GameBreaker superplay meter, stats-altering equipment -- it was all so fun. Madden's The Yard looks to be somewhere between normal Maddenand Street, like an itch half-scratched.
The first taste of The Yard is out today as part of the Madden NFL 21 Mobile launch. That's a free app meant to promote the official Madden 21 launch in late-August. It has a singleplayer version of The Yard. On PC and consoles, The Yard will have full online multiplayer functionality. However, progression carries over between mobile and the official Madden.
Or, for the authentic experience, bust out the PS2 and NFL Street.