Madden NFL 25 Complete Connected Franchise Owner Mode Impressions

by
Posted August 23rd, 2013 at 10:00 am

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The name change to Connected Franchise is accompanied by a whole new career path in Madden NFL 25. For some time Owner mode has appeared to be what will determine most the value of this year’s edition in the series at least in terms of new features.

What follows is a run-through of the Owner mode experience. There simply was not enough time to analyze every feature included within, but instead this represents a general overview of how the mode shapes up and its potential lasting appeal. Every snap was played in every game of the season as well as running into year two and testing out a few features independently. Check out the FB album for nearly 100 screenshots and don’t miss the full write-up of general gameplay, presentation, and mode impressions that also went up today.

SETTINGS

When starting the first thing to choose is the career path. Owner, Coach, or Player. Coach and Player are the same as were found in Connected Careers last year. Owner adds on all the executive functions. Then comes creating the character (can choose to use a Game Face) or picking an active player/coach/owner or legend.

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Again there are backstories to choose from. As an Owner they are “Former Player”, “Lifelong Fan”, and “Financial Mogul” – each one has their advantages and disadvantages. Selecting the team to use is followed by all the settings that can be adjusted for the league. “Online” and “Offline” franchises are essentially identical this year in terms of features.

The franchise run through here was played with 10 minute quarters and accelerated clock running down to 18 seconds on All-Pro difficulty with no changes made to sliders.

OWNER MODE SPECIFIC FEATURES

While Owner mode encompasses everything a Coach does – including playing all the games – it also adds on new responsibilities. Those include making media statements (which only happened three times during the season), setting prices on concessions items and merchandise, and hiring and firing staff. Of course there is also renovating stadiums, building new stadiums, or relocating teams to other markets. Like coaches, owners also have a set of goals to achieve.

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What I initially did was go into the Finances section and lowered ticket prices, lowered the cost of Ryan Tannehill signed footballs, increased the price on Mike Wallace and Dion Jordan jerseys, and upped the price on some concession items. Interestingly better food (likely with improved margins) can be offered when a stadium’s concessions facilities are highly rated.

The goal I had with the Dolphins was to build them a new stadium or, if there was some sort of resistance to that, move them to another city. There was nothing stopping me from getting started on a new stadium which could be built for kick-off the next season. This won’t necessarily be possible for every team since the circumstances dictate options.

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A few weeks after choosing “rebuild” came time to choose the stadium that would be constructed out of 10 options. I went with one of the cheaper ones (Basic Canopy). Considering the fair weather fan base let them complain. They’ll show up if the team is winning! You’ll see in those sections also a fan Twitter feed where they make comments about prices, things that need to be improved, or in this case them being critical of the stadium choice.

In year two the new stadium opened which was pretty neat. Even for being one of the lesser options it definitely felt special. One thing to note is that it seems having a new stadium means no more blimp shots of it prior to the game or in between quarters. It’s a shame that the outside of the stadium is never seen again after viewing the image used originally to help select it.

m25newdolphinsstadiumownermode

Relocating is handled in a similar manner to building a new stadium. When deciding to relocate (if the option is available for the team) early in the season the opportunity will be presented to choose the destination. There are 16 options – including Los Angeles, Portland, Ireland, England, Brooklyn, Toronto, and Mexico City – each one offering their own market size, personality, and fan interest. Each city offers up funding for a stadium (bigger market size means more money available for it) along with three options for team name and accompanying uniforms or you can stick with the current ones. Stadium choice follows a few weeks later. The eventual move takes place the next season.

In a few tests I moved the Oakland Raiders back to Los Angeles and kept the Raiders name instead of changing it. I also moved the Rams to Portland and made them the Lumberjacks. When changing the name you also get to decide between three different sets of uniform styles (traditional, modern, and classic).

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Simming ahead to the 2016 season in one franchise the CPU Raiders, Rams, and Jaguars had all relocated. Though their current situations make them candidates to move that seems extreme.

Nice job by EA Sports to get in Levi’s Stadium for the 49ers beginning in year two of franchise mode. Typically something like that is held back for the year it is introduced. Though the Vikings were also mentioned in the Twitter feed as moving out of Mall of America Field their future stadium is not included so they would still need a new one built by an owner in the mode.

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Players with high marketability can also factor in and that may be something to consider in signings or trades. The higher the popularity and personality of a player, the more their merchandise is going to move and they may impact other measurables as well.

I did not spend much time analyzing the influence that changes made in all the Owner areas had on team revenues. It’ll take some time to get a feel for how much effort needs to be put in to monitoring changes. They more just lingered in the background for most the season and entering the offseason those revenues started to come into play beyond just the new stadium.

PRESEASON

Preseason games have been disastrous in the past. Auto-switching first to second to third units resulted in star players showing back up on the field later in games and risking injury while kicking and punting became laughable. A few changes appear to have been made to limit the mess that was being created but they’re still not true preseason affairs.

The first unit plays though the first quarter. Like in the past the second unit replaces the starters after the first quarter ends even if that is in the middle of the drive. All four games are treated equally. The starters won’t play any longer in the second or third preseason game.

At least now the preseason games aren’t digging down further into the depth charts where things really started to get bad. Kickers and punters are thankfully not swapped out at all.

Presentation wise there is nothing to indicate it is the preseason. The commentary, crowd, and on-screen graphics are all the same as a regular season game.

SEASON RESULTS

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It was a tough start to the year for the Dolphins. Offensive line struggles coupled with being devastated by injuries made it seem that every single yard had to be fought and scratched for. On defense it was a struggle to stop the opposing QB from converting third downs. Things started to open up in the middle of the season though. The run game started to click with Lamar Miller emerging as a go-to back, receivers started getting some separation, and Ryan Tannehill started hitting Mike Wallace for big plays. Check out the results of the games below.

at Browns 20-13 Loss
at Colts 41-24 Loss
vs Falcons 31-27 Win
at Saints 26-21 Loss
vs Ravens 39-28 Loss
vs Bills 31-24 Win
at Patriots 44-17 Win
vs Bengals 33-6 Loss
at Buccaneers 29-21 Win
vs Chargers 24-10 Win
vs Panthers 27-10 Win
at Jets 41-23 Win
at Steelers 24-13 Loss
vs Patriots 13-7 Win
at Bills 20-14 Win
vs Jets 34-17 Win
10-6 Regular Season Record. AFC East Champs!

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vs Patriots Wild Card Playoff 13-9 Loss

Knew it would be tough to beat the Patriots three times in a season and that turned out to be the case. Had Tannehill and Wallace not gotten hurt, and been there at the end, the game could very well have gone the other way.

INJURIES
There is reason for some concern pertaining to injuries. Following week three my Dolphins had nine players on the injured list. The team got somewhat healthier later in the season but there would still be at least a few injuries every game. Sometimes the players would return later in the game and other times they were hurt for extended periods.

It isn’t so much the rate of injuries but who they happen to that really stands out. Skill position players are hit far more often – didn’t see a single offensive lineman injury – and the same guys tend to get hurt over and over throughout the season.

It’s wise to avoid contact at all costs. I was cautious about Ryan Tannehill all season – limiting read options plays, sliding or going out of bounds at every opportunity – and he still got hurt five or six times. In fact, the first time scrambling with him was in the third quarter of the season opener, and what looked like a mild hit knocked him out for four weeks.

Across the league from simmed games injuries appeared to be fairly well balanced. There was a wide variety (not just abdominal tears like was so prevalent in the demo) of injury types as well as pertaining to the severity of them.

Unfortunately there is no IR designated to return option to use on one player a season. Only regular IR is available which means hanging on to a player that will be out deep into the season on the active roster and not getting the opportunity to replace them for that stretch.

This isn’t a huge problem for Madden since players aren’t deactivated for each game and rare is the occasion where anyone on the bottom of the depth chart is needed. Still it would have been a nice authentic touch to have in franchise. So would having players listed as “questionable” going into a week. It’s always interesting to find out what players are deactivated an hour before game time. Sometimes there are surprises. In Madden’s franchise mode there is just no suspense.

Player Progression, Scouting, Practice, and Trades
The use of XP for upgrading players and coaches, scouting players for the upcoming draft, and completing practices for XP all appeared to be the same as last year. Values may have been altered but conceptually they haven’t changed. Due to time considerations these elements were simmed most weeks. Seeking out trades either manually or through the trade block is easier to do given the changes to the menus but I did not have the time to test the fairness of the trade system. The CPU did make a few trades between themselves.

PRESENTATION, COMMENTARY, ATMOSPHERE

This is the area where Madden NFL 13 flatlined with the introduction of Connected Careers and sadly Madden NFL 25 has done almost nothing to improve from that with Connected Franchise. It’s really disappointing that something so acutely lacking last year would go practically untouched and it severely damages the intended immersive nature of the mode.

There are no on-screen graphics showing division standings or playoff race. The QB will get his stats shown upon entering the game the first time on occasion but I did not see anything showing season stats for other players or for the team.

There is also no ticker or studio update to deliver scores from around the league. The halftime show is the same basic thing as any other game just showcasing a few replays. When in a game there is almost nothing that ties back into the league or developments with the team as the season progresses.

The Twitter and news feeds return though no longer on the home screen of the mode. There are even mentions about the new stadiums coming for the 49ers, Vikings, and the one being built for my Dolphins at the tail end of the year. Breast Cancer Awareness month is still represented in October, and my season didn’t get stuck with the pink beyond that month like happened often in Madden 13! However there is no Military Appreciation Day which would also be great to have.

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Commentary references are limited to mentioning that a team was successful or struggled the previous week on third downs. The opening also did mention once that the Dolphins were on a three game winning streak. Literally though that’s it. Nothing about the standings or playoff race, last week’s result, season statistics for players or the teams, or who’s not playing due to injury. They did note in the opening to the last regular season game at Sun Life Stadium that it would be the last game played there (since my new stadium was set to open the next year).

I went into the last game of the regular season tied with the Patriots for the division lead but with the tiebreaker on them. You wouldn’t have known the division crown was on the line. It wasn’t mentioned by the commentators and there was nothing on screen to signify what a critical game it was. In the playoffs the commentary is essentially the same as the regular season. Like last year the playoff games have team intros.

The crowd is only at about 60% capacity in any game that has rain or snow. Even big games, playoff games, and the Super Bowl! In what NFL does EA think fans don’t show up to games when it rains? All crowds sound the same and with the exception of a few unique chants there is no personality defining the experience of playing in different stadiums.

The one really cool touch to the presentation comes with the intro videos that are exclusive to primetime games and the playoffs. Otherwise there isn’t much to talk about improvement wise.

The games just feel completely bland and isolated from everything going on only in the menus. Really disappointing all around.

STATS AND SEASON RESULTS

Overall the scoring numbers look about right from user-games but I had some worry that they were high considering the below average number of possessions and offensive yardage gained with the 10 minute quarter, 18 second rundown settings. Refer to the full gameplay impressions for insight on why that might be the case.

Notable Dolphins stats
Ryan Tannehill (13 games): 2232 yards, 22 TD, 12 INT, 63% Comp
Lamar Miller (12 games): 223 carries, 1245 yards, 5.6 Avg, 10 TD
Daniel Thomas (14 games): 104 carries, 358 yards, 3.4 Avg, 3 TD
Mike Wallace: 69 Rec, 1446 yards, 21.0 Avg, 11 TD
Brian Hartline 56 Rec, 651 yards, 11.6 Avg, 6 TD
Dannell Ellerbe: 84 tackles, 3 sacks
Cameron Wake (11 games): 44 tackles, 19 sacks
Dion Jordan: 42 tackles, 12 sacks
Brent Grimes: 37 tackles, 1 sack, 8 interceptions, 7 pass deflections

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League Awards
MVP: Colin Kaepernick
Coach of the Year: John Harbaugh
NFC Defensive Player of the Year: Bobby Wagner
AFC Defensive Player of the Year: Derrick Johnson
AFC Offensive Player of the Year: Ray Rice
NFC Offensive Player of the Year: Colin Kaepernick

Scores for the simmed games in the league came out looking pretty good. There weren’t a ton of really high scoring games or blowouts – one or two sprinkled in each week – but overall good variety of results.

You can check out the league leaders in various statistical categories and final records/standings within the giant set of screenshots for Connected Franchise mode.

OFFSEASON

As an owner the offseason adds in the tasks of signing head coaches, scouts, and trainers. Each one depending on their prestige will carry with them bonuses that apply to the team.

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Outside of that the offseason is very similar to last year. Free agency is handled in the same manner and the NFL Draft is mostly unchanged. The addition to mention there is Adam Schefter offering comments on some of the picks. It sounds authentic though I’m not sure if Schefter is the guy you’d expect to provide analysis on college players.

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES

♦A transaction log is included after being inexplicably left out last year.
♦The user interface makes much more sense and is laid out more efficiently.
♦Position changes can be made during the offseason. Does affect some ratings.
♦Custom Playbooks can now be taken into a Connected Franchise.
♦Fantasy Drafts are available for both online and offline franchises.
♦A season can be started utilizing any saved roster set or by doing a Fantasy Draft.
♦Draft Classes can be imported from NCAA Football 14 (did not have time to test).
♦After preseason is when you can import the draft class.
♦EA hasn’t announced anything on being able to transfer Xbox 360/PS3 franchises to One/PS4. Given it would be used as a selling point the fair assumption then is that it won’t be happening.

OVERALL OUTLOOK

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Owner mode provides some compelling elements which will be especially fun when joined by friends but Connected Franchise as a whole fails again in tying events from the league into the actual games. That could severely dampen long-term enthusiasm towards the mode.

  • MH11

    Position changes… Have a question… On past maddens (not last years) i was able to move a LB to MLB or DE. Or a CB to S. Or a RB to WR. Or WR to TE. Is that in this madden? I was so mad it wasnt in last years

  • fam

    Can you create a player and bring him in the owner mode. Example, I’m geeky in that I make myself a QB and while in owner mode I am the QB and I have a long, wonderful career. From 2012 back, I did this in Franchise mode.

  • fam

    Can you create a player and bring him into owner mode/off line. Currently I create a player with Madden 2012 and older and make him a part of a franchise.

  • Globespanner

    In Madden 25-owner mode

    I Cannot figure out how to set coach mode (I want to call plays, but let the passer throw uncontrolled by me).

    Can you tell me how to set that. Currently it wants me to do the passing

    • fam

      I would think on modes under the madden level you just hit the button to hike and then don’t touch anything.

  • Jsfootballo77

    Do u know how to sim the hole season at one time t u have to do it week by week

  • Johnny Vicars

    Seeing that miami beat the pats twice in the season makes me think the game is not very accurate.

  • JaredL

    In the 2012 mode, I was irate with how limited my trade options were during the draft. Is it the same this year?- or can you propose your own trades and barter like you could in Madden 2011 and beyond?

  • David N Tadiello

    How do I just play a season without having to create players

  • marty

    Pasta…how do you use a custom roster in offline career mode? Rodgers should be 98 but no matter what I do he is 94 in Franchise mode

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      When you start up a new career it asks you whether you want to use one of the official rosters (right now there’s just the one as an option) or import a roster. That’s when you can pull in an edited one.

      I’m not sure but I would think ratings will still move around based on scheme fits. That’s why you’d see some players immediately have their ratings shift up or down.

  • stauto

    can you use created players in franchise mode. im not an nfl fan at all but I liked creating myself and a couple mates and playing franchise (naturally we were a lot better then realistically imaginable) but im not interested in online play just sitting on the couch having a game with my mates.

  • Joshua Hoch

    Connected Franchise still has a regular franchise mode with the Coach option buddy

  • Smush Crook

    Did the game let you keep the Raiders logo and uniform when you relocated them?

  • iluspook

    I know you addressed this to Padre, but…*puts on Padre hat*

    Owner mode is no different from coach mode, except for some added micromanagement features, such as pricing of stadium items and some press conferences. These are added in the menus when you’re the owner. Virtually everything else plays just as if you chose coach mode, meaning you can play all of your games, progress your players, or just sim whatever you don’t want to do. Choosing coach mode just eliminates the micromanagement features, while owner mode adds them for ya.

  • iluspook

    I certainly agree. We may have no pro bowl in a few years in the actual NFL, so perhaps EA is being prophetic here (and lazy), and really, it’s not something I really miss that much. HOWEVER, it IS in the actual NFL this year, so it SHOULD be in the game.

    It’s strange to see the slogan, “If it’s in the game, it’s in the game”, when it’s really not true.

    Still a very fun season of Madden, methinks!

  • yardo

    How can you choose the team captains in career mode offline?

    • GKelly25

      Good question.

  • Gtex

    How do you upload custom play books to connected franchise?

  • jon

    I cannot figure out where/how to fire my head coach?? Is there a setting that I need to tweak? I can’t find an option in the season or offseason to fire the coach.

  • hawaiiguy

    If I use a legend in player mode I can not do trades. If I pick coach I can not use the legend on my team. Is there a way to do both? I want to have deon on my team and be able to trade players to upgrade my team.

  • JaredL

    Yes or No question: In owner mode/connected career… Franchise mode, during the draft, do you have the option to create trades?- or can you only accept CPU trade requests like in Madden 13?

  • tg80

    Has anybody experienced a problem with settings saving in connected franchise mode? Everytime I backed out and went back in the data had reset. For example if I wanted to turn ball hawk on, then I go back into settings and it reads off again

  • Dave

    Great review. Very informative. Just one question. Why 10min quarters instead of 12? Was this to keep scores realistic? Did it affect the progression of your players? And, were your players able to keep up with the rest of your league statistically?

    Your play style is the same as mine. I may just roll with all-pro default 10min. if I can have a competitive CFM and keep up with the rest of the league statistically.

    Thank you!

  • Harry Potter

    What level did you have the game on, when you played?

  • Orbit Storm

    I’ve come to terms with the fact that Connected Careers plays second fiddle to EA’s golden goose, Madden Ultimate Team. It’s really a pay-to-win mode for inept users with a gambling addiction. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never enjoyed MUT, but the quicker I realized it takes precedent over every other aspect of the game, the less I liked playing it. EA has patched countless minor bugs for MUT (on a weekly / monthly basis) and left glaring flaws sit idle for years.

    Overall, wonderful review. If only EA would start sharing reviews from competent players such as yourself, instead of those provided by sites that they influence or only played five minutes of the game (notably IGN).

  • Craig Keehr

    Is there a way to save a game when you arein the middle of it.
    My son says he can’t.
    When it is time for bed, and he is only half way throug a game he says he has to finish it or he looses his new stats??

    • Omar Ayala

      There is no save game feature you have to plan out the time depending how long are the quarters.

  • c

    In cfm offline how do you choose your team captains?

  • Angel Paniagua

    how to use the legends in career mode in madden 25

  • philllll

    can you make a created player a captain in owner mode or any mode?

  • john

    can you make your created player a captain in owner mode or any mode for that matter? you use to do it in the older madden games

  • Nate

    Hey how can you change your team captain in franchise mode?

  • devilsparticus97

    i just beat patriot 66-14

  • mm

    The only thing I hate about owner mode is the free agency each season. It seems as though every star player,no matter how important to the team they are, goes unsigned or traded. I signed Von Miller, Jacoby Jones, Ndamokung Suh, and Clint Boling all in the same offseason

  • mike8677

    Caramel jizz on saltines.

  • Alex

    If I like the madden nfl games but got ncaa 14 and want to put my awsome player from ncaa in madden 25 and play as him in madden 25 my career can I.

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