Madden NFL 19 producer Ben Haumiller puts it bluntly: the second season of Longshot (called Homecoming) “gets you back into playing Madden, which is what you bought the game to do”.
True to his word, our foray into the second season of Madden NFL’s cinematic story mode felt like it had much more of a consistent gameplay element than the first Longshot, a mode which poured heavy with the flow of cinematic cutscenes.
Of course, that isn’t to say those are a rarity in the second – EA Tiburon has just had time to refine the recipe in a more balanced fashion this time around. Haumiller provided an anecdotal rough guesstimate that Longshot: Homecoming has 60% more gameplay than its predecessor, a number that isn’t exactly a minute change.
This season is all about Devin Wade finally having his chance to prove himself in the NFL, while Colton Cruise struggles to turn his highschool glory days into a chance to impress any team that will give him a shot. The first season was all about the highschool and the combine, but now Wade and Colt’s two very different situations are poised to bring two very different kinds of gameplay into the fold.
They are very different as far as the glitz and the glamour. We have our own commentary team for the highschool side of things, which really kind of it gives it that down home folksy highschool feel. It’s a lot of fun in highschool, too, because you can make players stand out so much more because the talent level is so much wider at the highschool level. Guys who are your best players stand out.
The NFL side of things has a smaller talent gap. That’s an issue that we have in general in Madden, because we’re trying to differentiate players – but these are the best players in the world at what they do. Even the worst guy in the NFL – he’s pretty good. It’s the same sort of thing here, but Devin is the fringe guy who’s trying to make the team and who’s not gifted with the first-round talent attributes.
Ben’s words certainly echoed true from what we played – Colt could easily blitz past the highschool defensive lines, but getting a clean pass through with Wade during a Cowboys game against high-stat NFL opposition was much more difficult. In a sequence of events that is probably too-real to many NFL dropouts, plays we felt we pulled off disappointed the Cowboys coach, played for Ron Cephas Jones – yet another Emmy nominated actor involved with the project (the first being Mahershala Ali).
Take a look below at the first half hour of Longshot 2 gameplay below, but beware of spoilers – while this season certainly puts players on the field more often, there’s still plenty of story driven cutscenes in the video below:
It’s clear that EA Tiburon wanted to inject a fair bit of humor into the cutscenes, with most of the lines delivering well enough. Beyond that, they certainly advance the story in a fashion we hadn’t expected – especially with Colt now forced to take care of an unexpected sibling in a series of events that feel like they would be at home in an episode of Nashville, with acting on par to match. The first season of Longshot did a great job of weaving the plots of Devin and Colt together, and the duo seem destined for yet another crash course reunion in Longshot: Homecoming – though for one to succeed, it’s likely the other must fail.
Ben was still tight-lipped on how Longshot: Homecoming would ultimately conclude, but did promise that most (emphasis: not all) of the story would wrap up at the end of Homecoming. Given that Wade is struggling to make his mark in the NFL this season, it only makes sense that the real Super Bowl push only happens in NFL 20. Either way, gamers will still get a sense of completeness at the end of this year’s iteration, though they certainly won’t be saying a final goodbye to either Devin Wade or Colt Cruise when the credits roll – and that’s not just because you can put Wade into franchise mode afterwards.
Madden NFL 19 will release for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on August 10, 2018.
You can find John on Twitter at @Makelevi, where getting any new followers is the real longshot.