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Madden 21 Franchise Update: Credit where it is due, these changes are a step in the right direction

Franchise mode has been a plague on Madden 21, but there are finally things to celebrate for fans.

The January Madden 21 update has landed with some pretty major changes, so let's see how it has gone down.

Update Summary

The update had some key gameplay updates including zone coverage and the removal of time exploits aimed at winning games through making an opponent quit.

But by far the focus of this update was franchise mode.

This was the second release from EA to improve Madden’s Franchise Mode.

The #FixMaddenFranchise saga has been a struggle for EA all year, but this was a major step in the right direction:

New Commish Controls

  • Draft Auto-Pilot: Assign auto-pilot during the draft.
  • House Rules: Dictate how many times a play can be called in a game, and how long a player must wait before calling the same play again.
  • Undo Free Agent Settings: undo FA signings in the offseason directly through the transaction log. Click on a signing and revert it to send the player back into the free-agent pool.
  • Team Override Settings: Commissioners now have the ability to turn on/off or allow users to keep individual settings for Heat Seeker tackling, Ball Hawk, and Switch assist.

REALISM: This league only allows each play to be called twice in a game
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REALISM: This league only allows each play to be called twice in a game
  • Personnel Logic Improvements - New guidelines for CPU draft logic to assist teams in whether they should or should not have an interest in drafting a first-round QB.

  • Trade Logic Improvements - We are focused on delivering improvements to player and draft pick evaluations to create more rewarding and authentic trades for Madden 21 that we will continue to build and improve upon in the future.

  • Franchise League History -We are adding a new tile where you can see the Super Bowl and key award winners from each year of your franchise. This will include how many times a team has won the Super Bowl in the franchise, along with MVP, Coach of the Year, Offensive/Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive/Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Super Bowl MVP.

Are the changes good?

Put simply, yes!

Commissioners the world over are celebrating the additional controls and flexibility in the game.

These tools allow self-management in ways that leagues can increase the level of simulation and realism. They are flexible so each league can be set up to suit the players.

The House Rules update is a particular stand-out.

Setting limits to both the number of times a play can be called (play limit) and how many plays you have to wait to call it a 2nd time (play cooldown) are huge improvements.

This kind of playstyle is what separates MUT from Franchise and leagues often have issues with players mixing these modes up.

There are still examples floating on r/Madden of the trade logic not working correctly, but these can't be verified as post-update but some examples are because the current player is injured:

FIX NEEDED: Because Joe Burrow is injured, the logic took a QB
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FIX NEEDED: Because Joe Burrow is injured, the logic took a QB

Overall, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Which in the EA community equates to silence.

A lot of damage has been done to the confidence of fans in the game this year, but this is definitely a huge step in the right direction.

Some may argue that these things are long overdue and simple things to fix, they might be right but that doesn't change these edits are steps in the right direction.

What next?

First thing first, EA needs to recover the PC servers that hold the CFM games in Madden 21.

This happened last year on consoles and left a lot of fans locked out for nearly a week.

They then need to take further steps forward in making Franchise mode more immersive and desirable to play.

It's likely these are pushed and rolled into Madden 22, but there's a risk that EA might lose some annual customers if they don't show some progress in Madden 21 that gets them wanting to buy the next installment.

Our Christmas wishlist remains the same;

  • Improve the depth and quality of scouting
  • Improve the options in offering different types of contract
  • Make game data deeper and more accessible offline
  • Improve the importance and options included with training and backroom staff

There is plenty that needs to be done to turn around fans' opinions, but this was a step in the right direction. House rules are a game-changer for 32 person franchise leagues.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Madden page.