EA seems to have taken the criticisms of Franchise Mode to heart and dedicated multiple Madden 21 title updates to fixing the mode, with the third and final landing on March 4, 2021.
It looked to be the most promising yet, with Madden 21 developers taking a hard look at the long-ridiculed and broken trade logic in Franchise Mode.
Unfortunately, these last-ditch efforts to fix a game that's been in the hands of players for over six months still aren't enough to make Madden 21 the game it should've been.
Trade Logic update is long past due
Players have been poking fun at the flawed Trade Logic within Madden NFL's Franchise Mode for years, coming up with nonsensical ways to trick opposing coaches to hand over highly-rated players for practically nothing.
One of the core issues was a team only valuing players based on how they fit that team's particular scheme, so highly rated players that didn't fit their needs could be tossed away with no true return.
EA Sports finally heard the call, and this third Madden 21 Franchise Mode Update took aim at that feature, but it's far too late for it to make a significant difference for a game that's been out half a year, even as it lands on EA Play.
However, the fact that this issue was finally addressed does signal some positivity when looking forward to the release of Madden 22, which may be the light at the end of the Franchise Mode tunnel.
Madden Ultimate Team is all about the money
An unfortunate reality that has become more and more clear in the last few years is that developers are looking at things with a revenue-based lens rather than a quality-based one.
While Madden Ultimate Team is definitely a feature that many players enjoy, especially with frequent content drops and new challenges while putting the spotlight on legends, it comes with a catch.
The reason developers would much rather focus on Ultimate Team modes like MUT 21 and their MUT Heroes Promo is that it incentivizes microtransactions, encouraging players to drop a few extra bucks to earn better pieces for their team.
Until EA Sports can re-center its priorities and put an emphasis on quality for features like Franchise Mode that aren't fueled by microtransactions, the Madden series can't truly move to the next level and live up to what it was in the past.
League History is nice, but doesn't work retroactively
One of the changes made in the latest Franchise Update is the addition of League History, which is a quality of life improvement players have been hoping to get for quite some time.
Unfortunately, it's one that is only active for current Franchise Mode seasons and won't take into account any past seasons.
Any dedicated players who have already built up a legacy and history in their Franchise Mode won't be able to utilize the new League History feature for their past, but only starting with their current season.
While League History is a positive addition for future titles, it makes little difference for players who have likely been building their Madden 21 Franchise Mode since the game launched in August of 2020.
Madden 22 might finally get Franchise Mode right
As much as these changes remain unable to fix the issues with Franchise Mode in Madden 21, they do give us some really positive signs when looking forward to Madden 22.
The title will likely be due out this Fall, though an exact release date is still unknown, and expectations will be high following the rise of #FixMaddenFranchise and EA Sports seemingly taking those challenges to heart.
All of the changes made, especially in the latest Franchise Mode update, ultimately mean more for Madden 22 than they do for Madden 21.
Staff Management leak signals Coordinators for Madden 22 Franchise Mode
On top of all of the news about Madden 21 Franchise Mode that came with their latest update, the screen behind Madden NFL Executive Producer Seann Graddy tipped their hat and leaked changes for Madden 22.
As seen above, the screen positioned directly behind Graddy shows a Staff Management feature that appears to signal Offensive and Defensive Coordinators will be returning to Franchise Mode in Madden 22.
While this Staff Management addition, a feature that once existed in the Madden series years ago, may not #FixMaddenFranchise all on its own, it is another positive sign that EA Sports has been listening and is committed to Franchise Mode moving forward.
Despite their best efforts to retroactively fix their mistakes and bandage Madden 21 into having the Franchise Mode that fans wanted, even as the title hits EA Play and may see a new player base, these updates still aren't enough to save Madden 21 Franchise Mode.
Instead, it's time for players to look forward to Madden 22 to see whether or not EA Sports carries these beginnings into a properly upgraded and evolved Franchise Mode with the next installment in the Madden NFL series.