We all but knew that Madden NFL 21 was coming to the Xbox Series X (and the PlayStation 5). After all, the football franchise has been around since 1989 and is the foundation of EA’s annual sports strategy. It’s also one of the key games in its live-services business. And if America does fall under a second wave of the coronavirus after reopening the country too early, it may be the only NFL we get in the fall.
EA tapped Super Bowl champion QB Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs to reveal gameplay of Madden NFL 21 today during the Xbox 20/20 video presentation. It’s one of 13 games that are a part of Microsoft’s lineup for the Xbox Series X, its next-generation home gaming console. And similar to Cyberpunk 2077 and all Xbox Game Studios releases, it’s got a feature akin to (but not) Smart Delivery, so you’ll have access to the most-advanced version of it. (So this means if you buy Madden NFL 21 for the Xbox One, you’ll get the Xbox Series X version when you upgrade consoles. Think of it as cross-buy but with next-gen privileges.)
In an email, EA clarified what this means: “Players must purchase Madden NFL 21 on Xbox One by December 31, 2020, and upgrade to Xbox Series X by March 31, 2021.” During the reveal, EA showed how Madden NFL 21 looks on the Xbox Series X, and it looks more realistic than ever before.
Update, 9:05 a.m. Pacific: Added clarification and short statement from EA.