Madden 21 Franchise Mode: These changes could take it to a new level – Contracts, Scenarios, Practice & more
Madden 21 offers an opportunity for EA to get Franchise mode right. What should they focus on?
The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up the 2019 NFL season in Super Bowl LIV.
While the Chiefs took the Lombardi Trophy home and are set on retaining it next season, we are turning our eyes to what we can expect from Madden 21 in August 2020.
Here at RealSport, we have listed out the three things we want to see EA tweak and improve for Madden 21.
EA Sports has long been accused of complacency with regards to the franchise and career modes of all their games. They have focused on graphics and licensing for a long time, which has allowed rivals such a PES and NBA 2K to overtake them in areas like gameplay and quality of story modes.
With the NFL, due to their exclusive license, they don’t have a competitor to worry about. But we can keep lobbying this as the most important area of improvement they can make to franchise mode.
As of right now, there are a handful of scenarios for player breakouts, some media interventions and dealing with opposition players.
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They are very static, often difficult to achieve and when it comes to the media interventions they are best completely ignored. It is disheartening when you receive a scenario that a player tells you they are unhappy with the lack of game action… when they just had 10 receptions in a game.
The whole thing needs an overhaul and the scenarios need to be much improved in terms of depth and intellect. There should be hundreds of scenarios so that they aren’t repeated multiple times in just a few times being played. And they need to be cleverer and more reflective of what is happening in the game.
This isn’t a difficult fix, but it is time-consuming and it’s definitely the number one thing that will make a huge difference to franchise players.
Improved Contracts and Financial Management
Along a similar path of improving the immersion and quality of experience, Madden has struggled to keep pace with the NFL in terms of its contracts and financial gameplay.
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In real life, the NFL has evolved from simple contracts containing a number of years and an amount of $. They now structure deals to be front-loaded, back-loaded, a certain amount guaranteed, options and performance-related bonuses.
Madden introduced the 5th year option mid-way through this season which was a hugely welcomed addition. The fact that a few massive names, mainly the guy on the cover – Patrick Mahomes – were coming up to that point forced EA’s hand a little.
We just want more of it. Previous versions of the game have actually had better functionality and ability to do some backloading, but they ditched this in favor of a simpler method that’s easier to understand and manage cap space.
There’s definitely space for both methods, so this should be the kind of option that can be chosen in the settings to give the ability to play both types.
Further tweaks to XP and Development Traits
This is something EA has been tweaking slightly over a number of years and it is getting better, but more is needed.
This year, they reduced the average rating of players so that your standard player was rated around the 75-overall mark. This threw a lot of people, including some actual NFL players.
Alongside this, they up weighted the importance of development trait by introducing Superstar and X-Factor abilities. These were positive steps and have gone down well, but much like the scenarios through which they are linked, it needs to be deeper and smarter.
For example, players can increase their development traits through breakout scenarios that come up periodically. But they can’t lose them. So over the seasons, there gets to be a congestion of the traits and there are 35-year-olds clinging to abilities that in reality, they should have lost.
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Another example is how flat the training element feels. You select three players to give extra XP focus, but this could be drastically improved by giving varying levels of risk and reward based on doing more training, but it affecting stamina and injury risk.
Current practice modes are fine, but they aren’t anything close to actual NFL practice.
It would be amazing to take an install session, walkthrough, or individual drill that helps your players get boosts rather than just rep plays or schemes over and over.