Set for kickoff: Electronic Arts will release Madden NFL 17 late this summer

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Madden NFL 16
It’s OK, football fans. You can breathe. There will be a new Madden this year. Madden NFL 17, the next entry in the annual football sim franchise, is on the way and will hit stores August 23, publisher Electronic Arts announced.

In fact, almost everything about the announcement screams “business as usual.” Madden 17 will follow the clockwork release rollout the series has fallen into over the last decade. Now that the game is official, EA will give fans their first look at the new game and reveal which player gets the coveted/feared place on the game’s box art during the 6 p.m. SportsCenter broadcast on ESPN on Thursday.

Once that’s out of the way, the game is on track to launch in mid-to-late August, as it has every single year in recent memory. There will be ads, sure, but most fans don’t really need to hear more. If you love Madden, you love Madden: If you’ve been picking up the new game every year, no one needs to convince you to come back again.

There is at least one substantial change to this year’s pre-release fanfare, though. As Polygon pointed out, for the first time since Madden NFL 2010, EA has decide to pick who will grace the game’s box art internally. The publisher has held an annual fan vote to decide who gets the cover each year since 2009.

For now, the question is, as always, will Madden NFL 17 change enough — either by improving visuals or with new gameplay systems — to warrant purchasing yet another game? With last year’s Madden NFL 16, there was a general consensus that the changes to how players controlled their receivers and defenses made the experience more fun. We’ll start to get a sense of how the new game stacks up later this week.

Madden NFL 17 will be available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One at launch. EA Access subscribers on Xbox One, however, will be able to play the game early.

Pre-order on Amazon

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