The makers of Madden NFL 17, the most realistic football game on Earth, have confirmed to Kotaku that their latest game puts the Sun in the wrong part of the sky. During evening games in Los Angeles, the sun appears to set in the east, a problem that probably won't be fixed until next year's sequel, according to development studio EA. The new Madden's astronomical error was brought to our attention by a 31-year old Los Angeles football fan named Eloy, who tells Kotaku he's been playing Madden games since 1994 when he had them for his Super Nintendo.
Eloy contacted Kotaku's tips line about a week ago with a notice about a "Madden glitch" and included a screenshot of a physically impossible sunset from Madden NFL 17, which came out in August.
In the game, as in real life, the Los Angeles Rams now play home games in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. That iconic stadium and former Olympics venue is oriented with its end-zones to the east and west. The south, west and north sides are lined with stadium seating. The end with the Coliseum's iconic stone archways is the east.
Here's a Google Map shot of it, incorporating satellite imagery.
The screenshot atop this post, however, was taken from an LA home game that was set to begin at 6:30PM. The sun is setting on the side of the archways, off to the east.
"It feels like a backward sunrise," Eloy said, noting he'd been to numerous games in the venue and knows what a sunset there should look like. He had expected more from the video game recreation.
Eloy knows this isn't a big life-and-death issue, but was disappointed that the game got this wrong. He's a huge Rams fan. He's been following the team for decades. The Rams had been based in LA until their 1995 move to St Louis and only announced a return to LA this year. In the interim, Eloy would use Madden to at least virtually put the Rams back in LA. He'd load up a game of Madden and use features like "create a team" and "relocate a team" to customise the St Louis teams with LA Rams rosters and put them back in California. He was excited that he wouldn't have to tweak anything in this year's Madden. The Rams would be in LA, simple as that.
He was dismayed to recently dive into Madden NFL 17 and find out that the evening games looked all wrong. As he peered closer, he saw other flaws that made him think EA really had to rush to relocate the virtual Rams to LA. He said the new Madden gets the Rams' new stadium turf and team colours wrong, too.
"I may sound picky and compulsive on attention to detail," he added. "But EA Sports [tells] fans year after year that they make sure no detail should be left out the game."
As inconsequential as the position of the Sun in Madden may be in terms of its impact on gameplay, it is a surprisingly prominent goof. Madden NFL 17 begins with an interactive sequence that all players must complete. That sequence is set in the Los Angeles Coliseum near the possible end of the 2016 season as the Rams prepare for a crucial play. They have one chance left. The crowd is cheering. The coaches are stressed. And the Sun is setting, just on the wrong side.
Following his initial tip, Eloy sent screenshots and map comparisons of other stadiums. The Sun is in the wrong spot elsewhere, too, he believes:
Eloy's analysis of Madden NFL 17 sunsets over the stadiums for the Cowboys and the Chiefs.
Eloy isn't exactly outraged over it and seemed to be having a laugh over his own investigation. "Thanks for hearing this fanboy out," he said.
We contacted EA about this, knowing that Madden games, like so many other games, receive lots of post-release patches that fix errors and add features. We weren't sure how easy or worthwhile it would be for them to flip the Sun. It sounds like EA will do it, just not this year.
"It's a testament to our fans that they know everything about their favourite teams, including where the Sun sets in their stadium," an EA spoksperson said. "Our art team is investigating the issue, and working on correcting it for future editions of Madden NFL. In the meantime, we hope players enjoy this sneak peek into what the world might look like if the Earth rotated in the opposite direction."
And now, Madden fans, you probably know what the first announced Madden NFL 18 feature will be.