Madden 22 finally has the title's third and final post-launch Franchise Mode update, and the dust is starting to settle on this installment.
Looking back at the promises from the peak of #FixMaddenFranchise, we''ll look to answer whether EA Sports managed to fix Madden Franchise with Madden 22.
Madden 22 Franchise Mode promises were made before Madden 21 was released
Before we get to the question of exactly what Madden 22 has done for Franchise Mode in this series, it's important to remember what EA Sports actually promised to add.
#FixMaddenFranchise gained traction in mid-2020 and before long the trending sensation had reached such heights that EA Sports felt they had to respond.
On August 3, 2020, EA Sports posted Gridiron Notes specifically on Franchise a few weeks before Madden 21 had been released.
In this post, they emphasized "Madden as a live service," a common talking point where they've insisted players simply be patient and expect more features after launch.
They made "high-level Franchise commitments" to both Madden 21 and Madden 22, and pledged Franchise updates would hit both titles even after they'd been released.
While Madden 21 got some leeway because these pledges were made so close to launch, it's their promises for Madden 22 that are now coming home to roost.
For Madden 22, they pledged to add coaching and staff management, scouting improvements, new scenario engine enhancements, a new team chemistry system, more Commissioner Tools upgrades, and new relocation and branding assets.
What new features did Madden 22 Franchise Mode get at launch?
Going back to the release of Madden 22, there was plenty of hype around Franchise Mode, but the feature most focused on was Scouting.
EA even dedicated a nearly hour-long presentation at EA Play Live 2021 on July 19, 2021 to the Scouting upgrades coming to Franchise.
The only problem was that Scouting was never expected to be part of the game at launch, which ultimately made the focus seem disingenuous.
Madden 22 Franchise Mode did get the following new features at launch: Franchise Staff with coordinators, new weekly strategy, Season Engine improvements, and an upgraded Franchise hub.
Franchise Staff was definitely the biggest hit at launch, as the ability to hire and fire both offensive and defensive coordinators had long been requested by Franchise fans.
This feature actually delivered as promised with a Talent Tree tied to each Franchise Staff role that became an integral part of building your Franchise.
Weekly Strategy went hand-in-hand with the Season Engine, both of which attempted to introduce more goals and more cutscenes setting up or paying off those goals.
While the execution on what these provided was fine, they still left much to be desired in Franchise Mode, and under the hood improvements like Trade Logic and other tuning didn't make much difference in the end product.
When did the post-launch live service Franchise updates arrive?
Heading into the release of Madden 22, EA had not only promised the scouting update but two more significant Franchise updates post-launch as well.
With an entirely revamped scouting system taking center stage, it was natural for players to expect a similar quality of upgrades in the other two of these three post-launch Franchise updates.
All of these well-meaning promises started falling apart pretty much from the beginning, as the scouting update they'd promised to drop in September landed a full month later in mid-October, nearly two whole months after the game was available.
The new scouting system, which we looked at in-depth here, was definitely an improvement but still found itself riddled with issues including terribly predictable mock drafts and major bugs that persisted for weeks.
From that point, speculation began to bubble about what could be added in the other two promised Franchise updates until a report by Mike Straw of SGO shook things up on November 30, 2021.
That initial report stated that the two extra Franchise updates they'd promised had been completely canceled and elaborated on frustrations among the development team.
In an uncharacteristic move, a few days later EA refused to comment directly with SGO and pushed out a statement to IGN insisting that they were committed to Franchise as part of the "live service" plans and would still deliver two Franchise updates "in the new year."
This essentially punted their responsibility into 2022, and the clock continued to tick away as the second Franchise update didn't arrive until March 10 with the third and final on April 21, 2022.
Did Madden 22 fix Madden Franchise?
Finally, now that we've got a full picture of the promises made by EA and their frequency (or lack thereof) in delivering them with any level of consistency, we can see how it all looks.
Following the scouting update, it took EA Sports another five months to drop anything else of note, which turned out to be just five new Franchise Scenarios.
Six weeks later, they dropped five more Franchise Scenarios, and as far as EA is concerned they've done exactly as promised by giving these "live service" Franchise updates after launch.
Looking back at their Madden 22 promises, they did successfully deliver coaching and staff management, new scenario engine enhancements, scouting improvements, and Commissioner Tools upgrades.
The supposed new team chemistry system is nowhere to be seen, nor are any new relocation and branding assets, the latter of which still leaves Franchise Mode without any real level of team customization.
Custom teams remain handcuffed to the relocation system, and even when successfully triggering relocation players are left only using their pre-built locations, names, logos, and uniforms.
While EA always hedged their language with phrasing like "not fully committed" but "exploring creatively" as well as usage of Madden as a live service, it's continuing to become clear these phrases seek only to lessen the blow when they eventually don't deliver or underdeliver.
Even after all these updates, Madden 22 Franchise Mode is far from fixed as some of the most basic expectations like team customization haven't been addressed and lingering bugs continue to affect players.
New scenarios feel more like a band-aid at this point, dressing up a few extra cutscenes for a mode that may only be salvageable with a ground-up restoration.
EA Sports seems content that nothing needs to arrive at launch or even at a reasonable date after launch, and fans are continuing to lose patience with the process as a result.
Madden 23 may be their last gasp to regain the trust of fans who have hoped to see more out of Franchise Mode in the last two years, but only if EA is lucky enough to have any left that haven't already jumped ship.