The annual sporting titles are rolling round again, and one game in particular has caught the ire of fans.
Madden 21 has had reveals and trailers ahead of its late August release, but the community is far from happy. The issue stems from a seeming lack of care about Franchise Mode, the core off-line game mode so many players enjoy.
EA has responded saying "we hear you", but can they actually deliver?
Madden 21's timeline
With a 28 August release date, most of Madden's features are already set in stone.
Much like a massive cruise liner, changing direction on these enormous EA Sports titles is a long, slow process.
EA may have been anticipating some criticism for the limited changes to Franchise Mode. However, multiple trending hashtags that had the likes of Shannon Sharpe & Skip Bayliss discussing it... That would have been a bigger blowback than expected.
EA has responded to such massive community criticism, with the Executive Producer taking to twitter.
SCREEN GAME: Exec. Producer responds to #FixMaddenFranchise
However, nothing was promised for this year.
The work from home issues
For over three months now, game developers have been working from home like much of the rest of the world.
With that comes a string of difficulties. While these don't seem to have impacted the release date for Madden, they have surely created problems developing new features.
SEE YA: Some Franchise Mode players might be skipping this year's game
Undoubtedly, EA has had to push some ideas for Madden 21 into Madden 22.
Unfortunately, the impact seems to have been entirely on Franchise Mode.
A mode that has gone unloved for years. EA claimed to be re-focusing on Franchise Mode just a few years ago, and last year the Pro Bowl returned and a scenario engine appeared in Franchise Mode.
That focus seems to have quickly shifted though.
Franchise Mode moving forward
Seann Graddy's statement seemed to indicate more post-launch support for Madden 21, but that is unlikely to include new scouting, in-depth contract negotiations, restricted free agency, or any of the features players have been begging for.
However, the talk of "Madden 21 and beyond" is encouraging.
THE LONG ROAD: Face of the Franchise offers plenty of solo gameplay this year
While gameplay has improved no end over the years, Franchise Mode has been static.
Face of the Franchise seems to be taking an exciting step forward this year, we just hope classic franchise mode gets the same treatment soon.