Madden released this playbook video today, highlighting the defensive control in the upcoming game. The last video was focused more on the running game, now you can see what it’s like on the other side of the ball. GIFs and some info directly from the Madden presser to follow:

Last year, the major focus of the Infinity Engine was figuring out the basics of speed, momentum and other factors. With the introduction of Force Impact and a year of additional tuning, the dev team can now bring the power of Infinity to the Hit Stick. This allows for the biggest, most impressive hits yet, creating moments you’ll want to recreate over and over.

Furthermore, if you manage to pop a ball carrier with the Hit Stick while he’s performing one of the special precision modifier moves, the chances of causing a fumble increase. So if you’re up against an opponent who loves flashy moves, line him up with the Hit Stick and see if he doesn’t get a bit more conservative. This concept carries over into the passing game as well, as cornerbacks and safeties who trigger the Hit Stick as a receiver makes a catch have a higher chance of jarring the ball loose.

Those who opt for a more conventional approach this year have the option to enable heat-seeker tackling to help square up and bring down the ball carrier. Heat-seeker is enabled anytime you hold down the Hit Stick, defensive assist or wrap tackle buttons, and essentially guides your defender on the proper angle to intercept the ball carrier and bring him down. Heat-seeker tackles can also act as a counter to precision modifier moves when employed by defenders with high agility or awareness ratings.

The ultimate goal of heat-seeker is to provide assistance without taking control away from the user, as well as eliminating small errors like oversteers. Also, there’s a bit of risk/reward with heat-seeker, as defenders with lower awareness or agility ratings are more susceptible to a fake-out by the ball carrier. Players will have to find the balance between going for the big hit or using heat-seeker for a helping hand. For those who prefer to play without assists, heat-seeker tackling can be turned off entirely for both online and offline games.

Another way we’re balancing the defense is with a new defensive recovery mechanic. Often times in the NFL you’ll see a player overrun a play or miss a tackle, but immediately take steps to get back in the action. In Madden NFL 25, defenders can make the same hard cuts as ball carriers to quickly change direction and renew their pursuit. Speedy defensive ends and other high-agility defenders are even more valuable, as they can recover on plays and chase down runners on the backside. Defenders can also utilize the acceleration burst to close the gap on ball carriers and make a play before the runner gets into space.

There are times when you just can’t get in position to either deliver the big hit or wrap up the ball carrier, and those are the moments when a dive tackle can be the difference between a short gain and a touchdown. Dive tackles have been tuned in Madden NFL 25 to utilize more momentum so that defenders have a better chance of catching runners from behind and tripping them up. Also, new lunge tackles let defenders dive past the lead blockers to take out the legs of the ball carrier.

Last but not least are a few under-the-hood improvements that affect a defender’s reactions in various situations. For instance, defensive awareness plays a big role this year, as defenders with a higher awareness rating are less likely to bite on fake-outs. So when a ball carrier attempts a juke on a high-awareness defender, that player is likely to make an appropriate reaction and still make the tackle.

Another example is retuned pursuit angles, where defenders take smarter routes to the ball in order to track down ball carriers and make plays. In addition, defenders will now “break down” and prepare for a tackle as they get close to the ball carrier. This controls their momentum and puts them into the best position to make a play.

As you can see, the defense in Madden NFL 25 is more than ready to meet the challenge posed by offense. Ball carriers may be able to Run Free, but the defense has some powerful weapons of its own.