Leaked information before the EA Play event told us that something called X-Factor abilities was being added to Madden NFL 20, but we got a full rundown of what those abilities do during the press conference.
Much like badges in NBA 2k, the X-Factor abilities give certain players special capabilities that will change stats and allow more options for how plays can unfold during a game.
The X-Factor abilities are split into two distinct types, Superstar and Zone. Superstar abilities are the main focus of the mechanic, helping to make the star players of the NFL play more like the superstars they are by giving them an added edge against their opposition.
50 different players who are considered to be the top-cut of the entire NFL will be the first to receive these extra, and in some player’s cases signature, abilities. Though it is stopping at 50 now, more players will be added to the group as the actual season progresses post-launch.
Zone abilities are the more common of the two, with most players who are starters on teams having at least one available to them. These lesser abilities will require a player to complete a requirement to activate a bonus, such as completing four passes of 30-yards or more to enter the Zone and gain the Bazooka ability, which will increase a quarterback’s maximum pass distance.
Another key difference between Superstar and Zone abilities is their effect duration.
Superstar abilities are passive and boost or hold an aspect to that player as long as it is equipped to them. A good example would be the Escape Artist ability, which will increase a player’s speed and agility when scrambling on passing plays to an elite level, upping the chance that they can avoid defenders who are rushing them.
On the other hand, Zone abilities are not always active, and even if they are active, a player can be knocked out of the Zone under the right circumstances. If a quarterback completes the requirements to enter the Zone and activate the Bazooka ability, a defensive player can knock them out of the Zone by sacking them.
All of these abilities have been implemented into every game mode of Madden 20, including Franchise, Quick Play, and Ultimate Team.
A player like NFL MVP and Madden 20’s cover athlete, Patrick Mahomes has access to four Superstar, and four Zone abilities, including a signature No Look Deadeye Superstar X-Factor. That ability gives him perfect passing accuracy on cross-body throws, something that will drop the passing accuracy for any other player in the game.
More signature content like that will be announced the closer we get to the Aug. 2 release date of Madden 20.