The hype for Madden 21 is just beginning!
The amazing power of the new consoles, as well as the ingenuity of EA's team, should open up all kinds of possibilities for Madden.
The Franchise community is getting frustrated and it opens the door to competitors. Over at 2K they have made a name for trying to fill these gaps where they can due to not having the luxuries around licensing that EA has built up. The result is that they are constantly commended for their high-quality gameplay and immersive franchise modes.
In the world of the NBA, this has led to them effectively beating EA Sports outright. It stands to reason, that whilst the exclusive licensing in the NFL means this is very unlikely to happen to Madden - it's still a message to not rest on their laurels.
Data drives the game
It's worth noting, Madden 20 was one of the best recent Maddens. The feedback has been positive. So if we consider that the gameplay has improved in recent years, then it makes sense to focus on what can be improved in the Franchise mode.
What did tarnish a good game for Madden 20, was a period of a few weeks where a lot of leagues went down due to data issues. It's still not entirely clear why or what happened, but it is clear that it plagued EA for a few weeks - with some well-established leagues wondering whether their year was actually over only 2 months after the game was released.
They did eventually resolve this and most leagues were restored, but it does raise the question - how important is data to modern gaming?
Having saves on the cloud has improved the ability of developers to use console space for gameplay and graphics purposes and reduce the impact of big downloads (unless you're playing Call of Duty!). But it does mean that data, and access to it, is suddenly a lot more important. Consoles are virtually defunct now if they don't have an internet connection.
Madden 21 - Improve Access to Data
With solid data structures in place Madden 21 can make the strides we want to see with regards to immersion and connection to both online and offline.
When you are fully invested in a team as part of a CFM league, you are constantly considering changes and improvements to make to the roster. The days of gaming only at your console are over.
Whether you are working out which free agent to bid for, or cutting an underperforming star on a high salary - you want to be able to look at this without needing to be at a console.
Currently, most leagues use a site like Daddyleagues to manage their franchises offline. This is a halfway house as it gives you full visibility without the ability to action anything.
FILLING THE VOID: Daddyleagues is an amazing service that shouldn't need to exist
I have all the information about my team, my competitors and free agents that I would need. I can scout the stats of my next opponent and I can work out how many wins I will need to make the playoffs. But I still have to log on to action anything, such as make a signing or a cut.
Improve the Companion App
EA sports have started the journey to fully implementing an online and offline link through their Madden Companion App. Again, this has more functionality for managing your MUT team, but from a Franchise perspective, you can ready for advance and put yourself on auto so your opposition can play the CPU.
It seems fairly obvious to increase the functionality of the app. It has been around for a couple of years, and with some issues around the performance and accuracy put to bed - now would be the time to improve it.
Some suggestions for what should be able to be done through the Companion App for Franchise;
- Checking Standings
- Checking Stats
- Signing Free Agents
- Checking Salaries and Cap Space
- Cutting players
- Moving players to Practice Squad and back again
- Submitting and accepting trades
- Re-signing players
Something that would be even more impressive would be if they integrated a messaging platform. All leagues are run on the back of a forum or messaging service and often have integrations with the likes of Daddyleagues to help with the experience. It would be really easy for EA to take this all in house and capture the full experience, even if there was a small fee I'm sure this would be taken up by most of the full leagues.
SIMPLE: Integration = Immersion is the equation
What do you think should be included?