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Madden 18 ‘Longshot’ walkthrough and guide

All the right answers in Madden’s story mode — but you still have to earn it on the field

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The goal of Longshot, Madden 18’s first “story mode,” is to get Devin Wade drafted. It also possible for Colt Cruise, Devin’s best friend, to be drafted, if Devin makes choices that highlight Colt’s talent during on-field scenarios.

The user plays Devin through a series of dialogue choices and football drills meant to improve his grade for the NFL draft. This guide will identify and explain all of the choices Devin may make and how they affect his scouting report.

Longshot Act One

The backyard game

  • The choice to change or keep the play Colt suggests has no effect on the outcome.

In the quick-timer play sequence, press Square/X to fake the pass, then X/A to throw it.

This brings up a minigame in which the user steers the ball in flight. Steer the ball right, away from the outstretched arms of Devin’s dad, into Colt’s hands. This is an easy throw.

Longshot guide: on the road to Indy
Devin’s first big choice: Post a picture of Colt taking a leak, or no?
EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts

On the road to Indianapolis

Devin will take a picture of Colt as he takes a leak by the side of the highway. He can either “Prank Colt” or “Show Mercy.”

  • Pranking Colt will post the picture to social media and result in a poor character comment for Devin.
  • Showing mercy will give Devin a good character comment for showing good judgment.

Back on the road to Indianapolis, Devin will have the option of singing along with Colt (to Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb”) or refusing. Neither affect his scouting report.

At the hotel in Indianapolis

Colt will want to take a picture for his social media in front of the Regional Combine banner at the hotel. Devin can agree or disagree to participate.

  • Agreeing will get Devin a poor character comment for spending too much time on social media, noting that this habit made him late for the Combine. Devin will have the choice of charming or pleading with the desk clerk to get in; either choice will be successful.
  • Disagreeing will result in no positive or negative outcome.

At the Regional Combine

When Colt speaks to Devin during the director’s introduction, Devin has the option of encouraging or hushing Colt.

  • Encouraging Colt results in a silent fist bump and no poor remarks.
  • Hushing Colt will get Devin reprimanded by the director and a poor remark in the character column. (“Issues with following instructions at the Regional Combine.”)
Getting the passing reticle to its target quickly is key in Longshot, especially on deep throws.

First drill at the Regional Combine

  • Devin’s moves during the first drill will be Left, Back and Right on the left stick.
  • Then press L2/Left Trigger to bring up the passing sequence.
  • Using the left stick, move the reticle that appears by Devin’s feet down the field to the target, and press square/X to make the throw.

Devin will have a short amount of time, represented by a circle winding down on the passing icon, to complete this throw.

Completing this throw will give Devin a positive draft grade for pocket movement and throwing accuracy.

Second drill at the Regional Combine

  • The first passing route is L2/Left Bumper, then Triangle/Y
  • The second passing route is L2/Left Bumper, then Square/X
  • The third passing route is L2/Left Bumper, then X/A

Note: The third pass is a deep throw. There is almost no time to complete it after the icon pops up. Most players miss this throw if they don’t know what button to press in advance. Be prepared to hit X/A the instant you get the reticle onto the target.

Each throw will result in a positive or negative draft grade depending on its success. The story will continue.

Help Colt?

After the passing tree drill, Colt will complain about the passes he’s getting and ask Devin to swap places in his line so he can throw to Colt.

  • Refusing will result in no bad remark on Devin’s scouting report.
  • Helping Colt will result in the negative note “Seemed to continue having problems being disruptive at the Combine,” on Devin’s scouting report.

Helping Colt will bring up a passing situation where Devin can either throw short to Colt or throw him a long ball. The icon for the short pass is a square.

Devin is going to get a poor character comment for jumping the line if he completes either throw, so if this was your choice, take the short route as the long route will be just as hard as the deep ball from the passing tree.

  • The resulting conversation options with Colt have no effect on Devin’s scouting report.

It is possible to fail this throw. The story will continue.

An example of what the pass-steering mini-game looks like in Longshot.

The Out Pass

Press Square/X when directed. This brings up another steer-the-ball sequence. Do nothing as the ball flies through the air. Wait for No. 15 to make his turn right. Once you can see his face, begin steering the ball right into his outstretched hands.

If you fail this throw, you must repeat it until successful for the story to continue. If you complete it on the first try, you receive a positive draft grade, plus an extra comment that says “Elite arm strength. Can make any throw.”

An old rival and the producers

The encounter with Mario Gonzalez, a high school rival who provokes Devin, will not affect Devin’s scouting report, so choose whatever dialogue feels best. Devin and Colt will be introduced to Ross Fountain and Julia Vasco. Whatever his dialogue choices with them, he will return with Colt to Texas with the option to join Longshot still a possibility.

First flashback game: Mathis vs. Post

This game takes place in Devin’s past and will not affect his scouting report.

The user controls Devin at quarterback. The downs aren’t timed, and there is no play clock. Devin cannot call plays, cannot audible to another play and cannot make hot route assignments to his receivers. (This is the case throughout Longshot.)

If the play called is an option run, X/A hands the ball off when the ball carrier crosses Devin; otherwise Devin keeps the ball and the user runs with him.

Note: If the user is facing a third or fourth down and long yardage, look for Colt on a streak or seam route. The CPU appears to leave him open. It is also impossible to throw an interception in these games. Defenders will just drop the ball.

The final pass play in this game is a quick-timer event. The correct inputs are:

  • X/A plus left stick left to dodge the defender.
  • L1/Left trigger and then Triangle/Y to throw the pass.

The dialogue choices from here to the end of Act One, when Devin says goodbye to his father’s memory at the trophy case, do not affect the story or Devin’s scouting report.

Longshot Act Two

Longshot contestants Madden NFL 18
Devin Wade, Mike Scmyzniak, Josh Butterly and Tredarious Johnson, the contestants on Longshot
EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts

Longshot’s premiere

  • Devin’s dialogue choices prior to the first skills drill do not affect his draft grade.

Skill competition No. 1

Devin will be throwing at shooting gallery-style targets, trying to beat Josh Butterly’s score, which is always 11. The passing reticle is similar to the one from the Regional Combine drills, except that the target may be raised or lowered with the right stick.

You will have to put the reticle icon almost over a target and, in the case of a moving target, time it perfectly to hit it and score.

Easy targets for big scores are the bucket-like circles in the far left and right corners for four points each. Defeating Butterly earns the trophy/achievement “Carnival Games,” gives Devin a positive draft grade and advances the story.

Skill competition No. 2

This play-calling assessment is one of the most unexpectedly harrowing sequences of the whole mode, unless the user knows what is coming or writes down what Coach Jack Ford says to Devin. Here is the proper sequence for all three plays.

First play
  • Strong I Twins
  • Flex Dagger
  • X Dig
  • Y Shallow
  • Z Go
Second play
  • Singleback Ace Pair
  • Y Stick
  • X Slant
  • Z Go
  • U Flat
Third play
  • Gun Bunch Weak
  • Double Trail
  • X Go
  • Y Dig
  • Z Shallow

It is possible to fail all three of these and still continue, albeit with very bad marks in the scouting report.

Second test: Football IQ

The correct answers to give Ford are:

  • 1. Safety
  • 2. Square/X (the split end) is the hot route.

Third test: Field test assessment

  • The buttons to press to throw the ball in time on each route are, in order:
  • L2/Left bumper, then X/A
  • L2/Left bumper, then X/A
  • L2/Left bumper, then Circle/B
  • L2/Left bumper, then Square/X
  • L2/Left bumper, then Triangle/Y

In the conversations with Ford and Mike Scmyzniak that follow, Devin’s answers do not affect the story or his scouting report.

Devin Wade and Jack Ford in Longshot, Madden NFL 18
Jack Ford has his doubts about Devin Wade. So does Devin Wade.
EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts

Study session

After the long cinematic, Devin meets Ford in his office. His first conversation choice here, when Ford asks him if he knows defensive and offensive formations, is to hesitate or confirm that he does.

  • Choosing confirm will give Devin an extra positive grade in his scouting report.
  • Hesitating does nothing, good or bad.

Ford then quizzes Devin on some football basics.

  • For the first question, the offense is in the singleback formation (Circle or B).
  • For the second question, the safety is the player marked with Square/X.

Second field drill

This is another read-back of a play. The correct sequence is:

  • I Pro
  • Bench
  • X Out
  • Z Post
  • Y Option

For Ford’s follow-up question, the correct answer is “Right side receiver runs post.”

Completing all four play-call readbacks earns the user a trophy/achievement.

The conversation choices from this point until the next study room sequence will not affect Devin’s draft grade.

Second study session

Back in the conference room after the montage, the correct answers are:

  • 1. Run the ball.
  • 2. Throw the ball.
Another example of the passing drills. Again, get the reticle to the target ASAP, then deliver the ball with the correct button.

Third field drill

Following the long montage, Devin will go through three passing plays designed to get him to recognize defensive matchups. The correct choices are:

  • First pass: Throw the ball to Colt. Move the reticle over his target and press Square/X.
  • Second pass: Throw the ball to the tight end, No. 88. Square/X
  • Third pass: Throw the ball to Colt, Square/X.

The first news conference

While this sequence will result in negative remarks on Devin’s scouting, they seem unavoidable. Role play the choices as you see fit. Either way, the news conference is a disaster, and Devin and Colt leave for Mathis shortly thereafter, ending Act Two.

longshot truck argument madden nfl 18
Back in Mathis, Colt has some hard words for his best friend. But Devin needs to hear them.
EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts

Longshot Act Three

The conversation with Colt in the truck will not affect Devin’s draft grade.

Second flashback game

Mathis vs. Serita begins with a quick-timer sequence. The correct inputs are:

  • X to snap the ball.
  • Left stick to the left to dodge.
  • Left stick to the left plus Circle/B to spin.
  • X to stiff arm.

Play the rest of the game normally as you did the first flashback game. The climactic sequence will be another steer-the-ball-play.

  • Square/X initiates the pass.
  • Steer the ball just left of the defender’s chin, then move it back to the right to Colt.

Alternatively, it’s possible to hit the defender on his back shoulder pad, and Colt will catch the deflection.

Third flashback game

The Mathis vs. Serita rematch begins with Devin ordered to play defense because a teammate is injured.

If you’re unsure what to do, hold on to L1/Left Bumper to make Devin follow his assignment automatically. Try to contain any receiver coming across his path. Follow the line connecting him to his man assignment for reference.

If you see a red line directing Devin to the backfield, this is a blitz; go hard at the quarterback to make the sack.

In the interception quick-time event that concludes this sequence, the correct inputs are:

  • Triangle/Y to intercept the pass
  • Left stick left plus R2/Right Trigger to dodge the defender and score a touchdown.

It is possible to be tackled instead of score a touchdown, if you fail the juke move after the interception. Successfully completing this sequence will result in a positive remark on Devin’s scouting report about scouts reviewing his high school tape.

Successfully completing all of the quick-timer events in the high school flashbacks earns a trophy/achievement.

Dan Marino Longshot Madden NFL 18
Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino shows up to mentor Devin in Longshot’s third act.
EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts

Returning to Longshot

Devin will get two positive remarks on his draft report for returning to the show, without the user doing anything.

In the meeting with the executive producer, Devin must choose to fire Ross. Doing so will give Devin a positive character comment for showing leadership.

Dan Marino

After Ross is canned, Dan Marino shows up to mentor Devin. None of Devin’s dialogue choices with the Pro Football Hall of Famer have any negative outcome. The scene moves outside to an unstructured 7-on-7 game to loosen Devin up.

The game is passing plays only, and Devin has four seconds to release the ball. First down is 15 yards. Devin cannot move past the line of scrimmage. First team to 21 wins. Devin will play safety on defense.

It is possible for Devin to rack up extra bonuses to his draft grade in addition to winning this game outright. If the game cuts to a scene of Marino shouting encouragement, Devin’s getting graded up. We received bonuses for a nice touch on a long pass and for completing five passes in a row, for example.

Another look at the passing-for-points mini-game in Longshot.

The Military Base

Longshot visits a U.S. Army base in Dubai for more detail about Devin’s past. Marino joins the visit. He and Devin have a competition in a squad bay throwing at improvised targets similar to the one in the first episode of Longshot.

Beating Marino is very difficult. It awards “Who’s the Man?” the second-most rare trophy of those awarded by the Longshot mode on PlayStation 4. Fortunately, losing to Marino only dinged our draft grade by 0.1.

After this, the story moves to another 7-on-7 game, except this one is four downs to make the end zone, no first downs. Devin will again play safety on defense. You can’t sack Marino, so don’t bother blitzing him. Just cover Devin’s assignment and make good throws on offense.

The sequence ends on a feel-good note with Devin’s former commanding officer, and everyone heads back to Austin.

The Interview

Mario, the punk-ass from the Regional Combine, is on the opposing roster for the Longshot finale. Devin has the option of letting him play or booting him. Letting Mario play will give Devin a good mark for character. Refusing earns him a bad one.

Devin is also asked asked on to Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan’s show on Real Football Network. Resist or agree, he’s still doing it. Devin’s answers can give his scouting report one last boost before heading into the competition finale.

Here are the response choices and their outcomes:

  • First question: Open up/Joke — no effect.
  • Second question: Lean on coach/Lean on friends — choosing “lean on friends” gets Devin a positive character remark. “Lean on coach” has no effect.
  • Third question: Praise Capt. McCarthy/Praise friends — no effect.
  • Fourth question: Honesty/Bold — Choosing bold gets a positive mark on Devin’s draft report. Honesty has no effect.
  • Fifth question: Downplay stardom/Embrace stardom — no effect.
  • Sixth question: Insult Scmyzniak/Excuse Scmyzniak — Insulting Devin’s rival from the opener will result in a negative character remark. Excusing him has no effect.
  • Seventh question: Praise show/Thank you — no effect.
julia vasco and devin longshot ea sports madden nfl 18
Devin and new producer Julia Vasco tie off loose ends before the finale of Longshot.
EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts

The Finale

The final skills test is a series of five drills in 11-on-11 competition at a packed Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. It has the greatest effect on whether Devin is drafted. Every segment can be failed, and the story will still advance.

Keep in mind that Longshot is keeping a grade on Colt in the background, too. It’s affected largely by how much Devin throws to him. If Colt doesn’t get a chance to shine, Colt cannot be drafted.

Devin will be presented with situations where the best choice is not to throw to Colt, and in one test he will be ordered not to throw to him at all. Disobeying the latter will cost Devin dearly in his scouting report. Failing that and another segment of the finale will be enough to cost Devin the draft, no matter what he has done before.

Devin will have to play almost perfectly if the user wants both him and his friend to be drafted. Michael Young, the mode’s writer, told Polygon that this was the outcome in only 18 percent of playthroughs before release.

There is no save-scumming in The Finale. If a user wishes to retry a stage, they must start over from the beginning.

These are the drills:

Put the game away

With four minutes left and starting from his own 20-yard line, Devin has to maintain possession or score. There is no clock. Ballcarriers brought down in bounds will run 15 seconds off the clock at the end of the play.

Devin must run the lone play given to him by Ford. He doesn’t get any deep routes, and he doesn’t get many running plays to call either. Focus on making short passes to the middle of the field. Don’t just stare at the red primary route.

As long as Devin’s team is in possession of the ball when the four minutes ends, he passes the test. Even if the last play is a fourth down and Devin’s team does not convert, as long as the clock runs out, he passes the test.

Game winner

In the same untimed format as above, Devin has two minutes to score a touchdown, starting from his own 20-yard line. This is the kind of stuff Madden players do all the time, and Colt and Chad Johnson will usually bail out Devin with a long catch-and-run.

Back against the wall

Starting on his one-yard line, Devin has to get to field goal range (the opponent’s 35) in three minutes. This is probably the hardest test of the five, given how much passing Devin has to do and the threat of an interception always there. Don’t be afraid to run the ball with Devin when the defense sags back to defend the pass. Try to see the whole field and understand where the holes will be. It may be a good idea to go through the game’s skills trainer before tackling the finale, as it provides the same kind of defense-reading drills that Devin goes through earlier.

On your own

Devin begins on his 40-yard line with one minute left to score a touchdown. However, Devin is told by Ford that scouts want him to prove he can play without Colt as his security blanket. So Devin is ordered not to throw to Colt.

Completing a pass to Colt fails this test even if Devin drives the team to a score. The dialogue option in the huddle, where Devin can tell Colt what’s up, or lie about it, has no effect on Devin’s scouting report.

Given how much failing a segment costs Devin in his draft grade, it may be better to freeze Colt out and complete this task as ordered, then give Colt the spotlight in the next trial.

Longshot Texas sack Devin Wade
The last trial in Longshot’s finale recreates the play that caused Devin to quit Texas.
EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts


In a recreation of Devin’s last play at Texas, the drive begins with a quick-timer event in which Devin may choose the safe option (a short throw to running back Justin Forsett) or to force a long pass to Colt.

Making the safe throw to Forsett is the correct choice and will give Devin a good draft grade, and Ford will compliment Devin when he comes to the sideline. But the choice will cost Colt dearly and may ensure that he is not drafted, especially if Colt was frozen out in the preceding trial.

Throwing to Colt will give his draft chances a huge boost; Devin will not take a hit in his scouting report, but he will not get the benefit of making the good choice, either.

If Devin chooses to throw to Colt, it brings up the final steer-the-ball sequence, one of the hardest to get right the first time. Thread it between the defender’s outstretched arms; don’t try to go left or right of them.

After this, Devin is told to take his team into the end zone. He can now call from one of three plays on the screen. Try to hit Colt with the winning pass if you can. It triggers a great cut scene and commentary from Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis.

Madden NFL 18 - Devin and his dad, Cutter, in Longshot story mode
If Devin doesn’t get drafted, stick around, there’s still a happy ending.
EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts

The Draft

In Longshot’s long denouement, Devin and Colt discover where, or if, they will be drafted. There’s nothing left to do or affect, so just enjoy the scenes and conversations and react to them as you feel Devin should.

If Devin is drafted, he will go to the favorite team he selected in the interview with Kirwan and Miller. If Colt is drafted, he will be drafted by that team’s rival.

It is not possible for both Devin and Colt to go undrafted. One, the other, or both will be drafted by an NFL team in this scene.

If you get to the last pick of the draft, Devin isn’t being drafted.

If Colt is drafted but Devin is undrafted (Young, in an email to Polygon, called this the “True Director’s Cut” outcome) there are still two more dialogue choices after the final touching flashback with Devin and his father. Again, these decisions are entirely left to the user’s taste.