In addition to all of the improvements made to the running game, we’ve also given you more tools on the defensive side of the ball on Madden NFL 17 on Xbox One and PlayStation®4. Zone coverage is fundamental to pass coverage in the NFL. In Madden NFL 17 we’re propagating a core piece of technology we call “Behavior Coordinator” to our zone coverage defenders – more on that below.
Prior to Madden NFL 17, our zone coverage logic was written independent of the play. Simply put, our zone assignments didn’t work together and therefore had no concept of a global scheme. It was a priority based system that evaluated the coverage level of each receiver in order to determine who to pick up. Additionally, we only had three underneath zone coverage assignments (flat, curl flat, and hook) and we had to use those three assignments in a variety of coverages, that in real life, ask the players carrying out those assignments to do drastically different things.
When we began to discuss the improvements made to the QB AI in Madden NFL 16, we detailed our new AI architecture called “Behavior Coordinator”. Behavior Coordinator gives us the ability to create new sets of behaviors for a given situation. At the beginning of the Madden NFL 17 production cycle we decided our underneath zone coverage was the next logical choice that would benefit most by the new AI architecture.