You know those short hook routes where your receiver stands three yards in front of the first down? Or those swing routes where the halfback runs straight out of bounds? They're supposedly a thing of the past in Madden 11.
Giving the first details of the upcoming game to IGN, the game's developers are going for improved wide receiver intelligence through a development tool they've built and named the Catch Debugging Tool. Basically, it makes the receiver more aware of his position on the field. So on curls, he knows the yard-line he has to make, improving that route's usefulness in third-down situations. They'll also be programmed to wait on the ball, not motor back to it and get clocked behind the line of scrimmage.
That's not to say receivers won't come steaming back to the ball if the situation calls for it. They'll lose yardage if it means returning to an underthrown ball to grab it and prevent an interception. Additionally, the wideouts will know more of where they are when it comes to sidelines and the back line in the end zone, with the intent of making those breathtaking pinpoint throws you see in the real NFL come more to life in the game.
For a first taste of what to expect in the next edition, this isn't so bad. Last year they slowed down the pacing and added the gang-tackling mechanic, which fleshed out the running game. It only follows that EA Sports would buff up the receiving, which seems like it hasn't seen a major AI upgrade in forever.