EA Sports has released the first gameplay trailer for Madden NFL 15, as well as a screenshot that showcases an odd new addition to the series: tattoos.
The trailer starts off with the Luke Keuchly teaser we saw last week, and then switches to all-new gameplay footage. Madden NFL 15 is focused heavily on defense, and the trailer reflects that by showing Kuechly, a linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, shucking off blockers to track down and stop Marshawn Lynch, running back for the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
Last year’s Madden 25 was good, but the next-gen editions felt a bit like touched up versions of the Xbox 360 and PS4 games. This gameplay video shows that EA has created a truly next-gen title with Madden 15, with drastically improved player models and animations. It’s quite visually impressive, and we’re hopeful that E3 will show us even more gridiron eye candy.
The screenshot, revealed on EA’s Twitter page, shows San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, including his heavily tattooed arms. In the real world, Kaepernick is heavily tattooed, with his biceps covered in biblical references, and for the first time ever, Madden 15 will allow the virtual Kaepernick to wear the same ink as his real life counterpart.
Back before Madden went HD, there were players with generic tattoos, but not specific ink that reflected real life. Since 2006, Madden has not included any body art on its players. While the early games’ lack of ink can be blamed on insufficient technology, more recent offerings have eschewed tattoos for legal reasons. While some believed the exclusion of tattoos to be a PR-based directive from either EA or the NFL, Sean Graddy, line producer for Madden NFL 15, explained to Polygon that it comes down to copyright issues; "It really comes down to a piece of art asset here that could be [copyrighted], frankly, as we've learned over time.” This issue came into sharp focus last year when a tattoo artist sued EA and former running back Ricky Williams for Williams’ appearance on the cover of 2004’s NFL Street, alleging that EA used his artwork without permission or payment before eventually dropping the case.
This year, Madden will include tattoos of players who have secured permission from the artists. That list includes Colin Kaepernick. Graddy explained that Kaepernick secured the rights because he "takes his tattoos as a personal self-expression that he wants represented in any product or marketing thing that he's a part of.”
No other player in Madden 15 will have real-world tattoos, and no downloadable content packs will add new ink, but EA is looking to add more body art in the future. "We want to do this with every player, frankly, and we're hopeful that more players over time actually go out and secure the rights so that we can use their tattoos as well," said Graddy.