The Wii U version of Madden NFL 13 will be gimped compared to its PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 brethren, publisher Electronic Arts confirmed in an interview with ESPN.
The Infinity Engine, which brings real-time physics to Madden for the first time this year, will be absent on the Wii U; that version of the game will use the collision and movement systems from Madden NFL 12. "We definitely wanted to get the physics into the game," explained producer Yuri Bialoskursky, but "it's just something we weren't able to achieve for this first year on the new hardware."
In addition, Madden 13 on Wii U is missing Madden Ultimate Team, a popular online mode that lets players build teams using digital trading cards (and one that is a cash cow for EA, thanks to its microtransactions). "It's another [feature] that we plan to add in as we go," said Bialoskursky. Online Team Play, which allows for three-on-three co-op games, is also nowhere to be found. (Instead, the Wii U version of Madden 13 allows for up to five local players to enjoy a game together.)
On the plus side, EA Tiburon is demonstrating an otherwise strong commitment to online play. Connected Careers, the other major new element coming in Madden 13, is a complete overhaul of the old Franchise, Superstar, and Online Franchise modes, and it's available on the Wii U. Details on the console's online infrastructure remain scarce, but the fact that Tiburon managed to implement Connected Careers — an internet-driven mode that 32 users play together in an online league — should be taken by potential Wii U buyers as an encouraging sign.
"Online [play] is definitely an emphasis for both Nintendo and for us," Bialoskursky told ESPN, "and we can't wait to see people out there engaging more so than they probably ever have on a Nintendo console."
The Wii U version of Madden NFL 13 will also offer console-specific features such as GamePad integration for calling plays and drawing hot routes. The functionality resembles the optional touch controls in Madden 13 on PS Vita, but it appears that the Wii U game is much closer to the PS3/360 version's feature set.
Madden NFL 13 is a Wii U launch title, and is due out for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Vita on August 28th. Check out five screenshots from the Wii U version below.