08 Jan 2021 8:58 AM +00:00

Madden 21 January Title Update: Franchise Mode Changes Broken Down

We are big advocates for Madden Franchise Mode, and it's just received another new set of upgrades and changes!

That's right, the second of three planned releases from EA to improve Madden’s Franchise Mode is finally here.

The #FixMaddenFranchise saga has been a struggle all year, so will the new Franchise Mode Update help fix things?

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Latest News - Franchise Mode Gated After New Madden Update

The Madden 21 January Title Update landed with some turbulence, introducing new issues that resulted in players not being able to play Franchise Mode with online or Cloud saves.

Madden 21 January Title Update Franchise Mode Down Changes
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NOT IDEAL: EA were forced to gate MUT 21 Solo Battles and Online and Cloud Save Franchise Mode after the January Title Update arrived

This issue persisted for hours, but has finally been fixed by EA.


READ MORE: Madden 21: Franchise Mode is DOWN After Update

While it was a rocky launch, let's go over the content of the new January Title Update and its Franchise Mode changes.


Madden 21 has been rocked by demands for improvements to Franchise Mode.

The feeling in the community was so strong that the game itself has been review bombed, despite it clearly being a game deserving of more than 0.2 out of 10.

Despite being critical and agreeing with fans' sentiment, we also recognize that EA has taken responsibility and is working to fix it.

READ MORE: See the franchise edits we want to see in Madden

It was always a race against time, and in October we felt it might be too late.

And for many, it might be.

But late is better than never, and in the next couple of weeks, we will see the 2nd of the three updates.


1st Update Recap

These are the updates that were delivered in November and our view of the impression they have made:

Dev Trait Regression Tuning

This is the backend work that often goes unnoticed in updates. Whilst there's no fancy front end this update was crucial and exactly the kind of update we were looking to see.

Giving commissioners the ability to adjust the total allowable numbers of star, superstar, and x-factor players is a great blend of depth and control.

Different leagues want different settings and this enables that.

READ MORE: Madden 21 roster update predictions for Wk17

That said, some of the implementations of the logic is a little crude. Whether it works from Overall, Age, or something else we don't really know.

We have seen examples of players winning an end of the season award - getting the boost up a dev, only to then be knocked back two devs by the algo.

Rating: 8/10

Playoff Bracket

We wanted a big more depth, so we can't complain. But as far as metaphors go, it's the first step into the padding pool.

CUTE: It's nice, but really a minor addition
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CUTE: It's nice, but really a minor addition

There are some opportunities to improve it from where it is. EA could add links to news, stats showing previous matchups between the teams, etc.

But it's a step in the right direction.

Rating: 5/10

Player Card Career Stats

Another simple addition, but one that will bring joy to many.

NERDS: We do love stats
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NERDS: We do love stats

We love being able to live a career with players and understand their body of work over multiple seasons.

Hopefully, this is a step in the direction of improving all the elements of stats within the game to reduce the reliance on sites like Daddyleagues.

Still missing the history for Team stats though.

Rating: 7/10


X-Factor Customization

Like the Dev Trait tuning, this is another addition that commissioners especially will love.

Not all X-factors are made equally and the ability to adjust them is crucial to giving the feeling of control and immersion that we constantly refer to.

READ MORE: TOTY Predictions for Madden Ultimate Team 21

A simple edit, but probably the one with the biggest impact (although this round of updates is small).

Rating: 9/10

Retirement Screens

Something that only really annoyed you once a season, but it's good that it's fixed.

BASIC: Glad it's here, but not a gamechanger
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BASIC: Glad it's here, but not a gamechanger

Previously, your player would just disappear and you would have to deduce that because he was over 33 that is what had happened.


A definite improvement but not one that will have the reddit Madden community upvoting.

Rating: 6/10

Arriving in the 2nd update

This is what EA has said about the things coming in mid-January;

Personnel Logic Improvements

What EA said:

  • New guidelines for CPU draft logic to assist teams in whether they should or should not have interest in drafting a first round QB. Addresses teams drafting two first round QBs in consecutive years, along with other roster-context considerations QBs a more authentic window to develop before a replacement is considered to be drafted.

This will be a useful edit as there is nothing more infuriating (and tempting) than dodgy trade logic with CPUs.

Hopefully, this extends beyond QBs though. No longer should you be able to get 99 OVR Offensive Linemen for a 7th rounder and a chocolate bar.

Commissioner Controls: Undo FA Signings - Offseason Only

What EA said:

  • “Commissioners are able to undo FA signings in the offseason directly through the transaction log. Simply click on a signing and revert it to send the player back into the free-agent pool.”

This will likely go under the radar but commissioners world over will be rejoicing. In leagues with lots of human-controlled teams, tools that help them manage things are massively welcomed.

Commissioner Controls: Team Override Settings

What EA Said:

  • “Giving commissioners of leagues the ability to turn on/off or allow users to keep individual settings for Heat-Seeker tackling, Ball Hawk, and Switch assist – one of our top requested commissioner requests, this creates a way to level the playing field regarding assist features.”

As a member of a league, I am a big fan of this. There are always issues with some players playing in different settings and giving commissioners headaches to ensure a level playing field.

Commissioner Draft Tools

What EA said:

  • “Giving commissioners the ability to assign autopilot during the draft, along with pause/resume functionality. This has been a top community request for a number of years now.”

Long term, the draft could do with a lot of improvements - but this is a good step. You've not lived until you have seen a commissioner accidentally sim an entire draft in a 32 person league.

Commissioner House Rules: Play Cool-Down and Repeat Play Limits

What EA said:

  • “After these settings made their debut last year in MUT and Superstar KO, House Rules became one of the most requested features for franchise players and we are incredibly excited to bring them to you. Take control as a Commissioner and 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.”

The biggest update in our view. The main reason players lean to Franchise over MUT is realism and play style.

In Franchise leagues there's often a period of adjustment for players to learn the league ethos and play style.

These limits help enforce that. They are customizable so not restrictive but again gives hard-working commissioners the chance to reduce their headaches.

READ MORE: Big additions to THE 50 in Madden 21 ultimate team

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