Importance of Franchise Mode to Madden Apparent as Consumers Wait for More Info

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Posted July 30th, 2014 at 10:45 am

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On Monday EA Sports turned to promoting Ultimate Team mode for Madden NFL 15. After months of consumers waiting on Franchise news, it was the most disconcerting development yet. Typically Ultimate Team is held for last, when the greatest number of people are seeking out information on the upcoming game, as the company attempts to draw in that more casual audience to their revenue-generating mode.

Franchise has been talked about in May and June in the past, when those paying attention are of a somewhat more hardcore crowd. Thankfully a blurb on retailer sites added some vague info on a couple new features to soften the frustration.

Clearly Ultimate Team is where EA would hope to push more consumers. But is that happening at a cost to Franchise mode? Whether it is or isn’t, that is going to be the perception if nothing noteworthy was implemented in the mode. I sought reaction to what it would mean if Franchise mode wasn’t improved significantly and the response was swift and emphatic.

The vast majority, overwhelming really, of well over 100 replies suggested it would have an impact on their purchase decision. Just some examples of that sentiment:


A handful of respondents would grudgingly buy the game despite their disappointment. Represented by these examples:


A small number of people have complete disinterest in the mode so any advancements made there would be irrelevant to them. A few examples of that:


Word all along has been to not expect anything monumental for Franchise. Now, that wouldn’t prevent there from being meaningful improvements, but they may not be that confident in marketing them. What was first known was that there would be some new uniforms for relocated teams and maybe some new cities as well. Nothing else was presented until the retailer summary which added the new details on developing players and fluctuating “confidence” levels affecting performance.

Is that enough? Some will hope they’re holding back to make a splash but that has not been the M.O. for EA and especially when it comes to Franchise. The most recent examples are the introduction of Connected Careers in Madden NFL 13 (announced in the lead-up to E3 in early June) and Owner Mode in Madden NFL 25 (revealed in May). Those represented huge revolutions and additions and they were the focus much earlier in the marketing schedule.

It should be noted that Franchise mode will be improved just by incorporating the improved gameplay and presentation elements. But there is an apparent importance to treating the mode with a certain level of respect and dedication when compared to other areas such as Ultimate Team. Clearly a lot of people are looking for something here that EA has yet to provide.

Whether Franchise is the most important mode Madden’s success is questionable, but what isn’t is how it affects the more dedicated year-to-year fans that after hemorrhaging those types over the last decade EA can’t afford to keep losing…no matter how much money they may bring in with Ultimate Team.

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  • Brian Mann

    Who the hell just plays MUT? I don’t get it.

  • Brian Mann

    Who the hell just plays MUT? I don’t get it.

    • MCJedi1

      I’m not a MUT fan, but I see the attraction….it’s called “Fantasy Arcade Football”…EA just can’t drop the arcade label, it’s in their video game DNA, not to mention that it helps pay their NFL exclusive licence bill.

      • Brian Mann

        Yeah I get all of that, It’s just that the one guy in the last tweet said “as a MUT player, I haven’t touched franchise….”. So he just buys Madden to play MUT. It’s his money and game, I just wouldn’t find it all that appealing.

      • Keith.

        “it helps pay their NFL exclusive license bill.”

        — Bingo. Truth be told, given the billions of dollars of losses reported by EA since 2004, nothing really is enough to pay the exclusive license bill, but the UT stuff does make the losses smaller than they’d otherwise be.

    • Weekend Roady

      I don’t get it either, I always wanted realism in my sports games, not a total fantasy makeover. I’ve maybe played two ultimate team games (on not even on Madden, I think just FIFA) and the appeal wasn’t there at all.

    • chris9465

      its a stupid all star team mode that makes you pay a ridiculous amount of real money to progress

  • mad

    I just wish more consumers didn’t buy the game so EA Sports aren’t the only ones making this game.

    • Khadeem

      I completely feel you on this, but it is easier said than done. I told myself I would refuse to by NBA 2k14 and Madden 25. Then I got sucked by peer pressure into buying Madden. Then I got bored of not having any games for next gen so I bought NBA 2k14. I think thats why these companies get to put out mediocrity. There is no competition and they have a market of big sports fans that they suck in every year.

      • agent916

        That’s a “YOU” problem bro.

        • Drew Douglas

          Yeah, bro.

  • Jay

    In my opinion there were no major flaws with Franchise mode. If the improvements in game play AI live up to the hype, that will make franchise better.

    • Khadeem

      So no restricted free agnecy, waivers, and horrible draft classes arent flaws

      • vic

        Some guys just are not SIM players and don’t care about it being like real life which is why this guy doesn’t have a issue with franchise last year.. me personally I thought it was terrible draft classes draft scouting, free agency, schemes ratings it just all looks so lazy and talentless. It’s a shame really

    • chris9465

      only major flaw is its as deep as a puddle theres no restricted free agency one way to sign contracts….2K5 was deeper and more customizable in 2004 than madden 15 is in 2014

  • M

    Ultimate team modes are killing most sports games.. Years ago I thought that the massive influx of revenue would expand budgets and deliver massive development improvements, but that hasn’t been the case at all. NHL has left EASHL to die, Madden has ignored long standing franchise issues(scouting/draft issues, player body size issues, player progression, sim stats, CPU team building logic, playbook/scheme customization, coaches/asst coaches) in favor of squeezing extra UT dollars out of customers. There’s no chance of a release day purchase for me.. I’ll be sitting tight with M25 and avoid paying another $60 to draft CB’s with 95 str, and 62 spd. And OT’s with 87 spd and 61 str.

  • M

    Ultimate team modes are killing most sports games.. Years ago I thought that the massive influx of revenue would expand budgets and deliver massive development improvements, but that hasn’t been the case at all. NHL has left EASHL to die, Madden has ignored long standing franchise issues(scouting/draft issues, player body size issues, player progression, sim stats, CPU team building logic, playbook/scheme customization, coaches/asst coaches) in favor of squeezing extra UT dollars out of customers. There’s no chance of a release day purchase for me.. I’ll be sitting tight with M25 and avoid paying another $60 to draft CB’s with 95 str, and 62 spd. And OT’s with 87 spd and 61 str.

    • Khadeem

      yea last year a drafted 3 DT’s that had 86 speed in connected franchise…..the draft logic is ridiculous

    • chris9465

      donnie more does not know the difference between a lineman and a quarterback when doing his ridiculous attributes

  • Joshua Maffe

    I think they should split the game and start selling a Madden Ultimate Team game in addition to Madden cause from what I see you either love MUT or you hate it plus we all know EA would love to try and increase their profits by making it into 2 games.

  • Tony Adams

    Madden sucks, but the PS4 is dry.. I like the NFL and I need a new game to play.. I might rent it from gamefly instead of buying

  • Tony Adams

    Madden sucks, but the PS4 is dry.. I like the NFL and I need a new game to play.. I might rent it from gamefly instead of buying

  • Keith.

    Pasta, no article about Pure Pool? My wife and I played a few games last night, and we both thought it’s great (if you like pool). She never plays video games but enjoyed this one.

    • Khadeem

      Nobody cares bro

  • J.Rut58

    MUT sucks it’s ruining the game it takes time away from other things that need to be worked on, and alot of you fall for it. It’s a money grab only

  • Mike Mckenna

    It’s all about the micro tran$action$… They see how much FIFA is benefiting from FUT, so they figured they’ll jump on the bandwagon and ditch Franchise mode to just push MUT… Typical EA logic – Money over consumer satisfaction!

  • Mike Query

    Havent bought this game in years. Still undecided this year with the gameplay improvements. Good to see people are finally seeing EA for who they are.

    Too many people act like EA is doing us a favor by making games, we are the ones paying all the money for their crap product.

  • alkamist1

    I hate mut it’s the worst thing ever, I’m only buying this yrs game only because my team is all over this game and cover… I will put it up after I play it, but it looks like the same damn game and will probably play like lasts yrs game.

  • SlickLiving

    Ultimate Team not a fan of NEVER use it

  • MBird

    What I would like to know is, why can we not down vote a comment anymore? Since it’s nearly the (generally) hated Madden season, I really miss the count of how many times someone has taken the time to login and down vote the mostly delusional comments from EA fanboys. Is this now similar to little league when everyone gets a trophy for participating so that no one gets their feelings hurt? BTW, still enjoy the site.

    Anyway, I WAS (ten years ago) a huge Madden franchise guy, but once again, I will be waiting for the reviews to see if this game is worth it, and then most likely complain until NBA2K15 comes out, so that I can then complain about that game and its overuse of VC.

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      I don’t know, actually, why that is. Happened after a Disqus update and I never thought to check into it cause I wasn’t sure anyone cared anyway! But now I will see what’s up with that.

    • Brian

      I don’t quite understand the “delusional EA fanboy” comment. You can just as easily be a delusional hater. Someone who has grown to distaste Madden so much you fail to see the growth made by the product. And the thing you 2k fans don’t get is that taste is completely subjective based on the gamer. I try my best to be impartial when it comes to NBA2K and Madden. I’ve bought each title the past five years, save from NBA2K10. And I would say from ’11 to ’13, no contest, NBA2K was the better game. Madden 10 was a low point for me in the life of the series. And not until last year has it rebounded in my eyes. I thought 13 was a huge improvement over its predecessors, but I suffered serious franchise fatigue from playing it almost two decades. 2K was a fresh outlook on basketball. And really the first non-college basketball game I enjoyed fully since NBA Jam.

      But much like Madden 10, the last iteration of 2K zapped the enjoyment level for me. And I had high hopes for the next gen offering. It looked magnificent. But, to me, the game was busted. It was pompous. I can’t look at it any other way. The intro said 17 years in the making, then after passing the text, the screen went black. I couldn’t get to the main screen. Half the time I couldn’t access my custom rosters which were stored online. Which I hate. Your franchise mode too. To me that doesn’t make sense. When the network is down, I can’t continue. I hate that. Can’t create players to use in your franchise. Hate that. Contracts were busted in franchise. Ball warping happened way too often. Bugs that have persisted since 2K9 remain to this day. Then you couldn’t even set your lineup without use of virtual currency, amongst other vital tasks. WTH? Meanwhile, I picked up the next gen offering from Madden, and I thought sincerely, after sitting out a majority of years since 10 (really just not playing Madden as much), that this title is better. Plain and simple. And if having specific reasons as to why I prefer Madden over 2K currently still makes me a fanboy, than you’re the one disillusioned. Because you simply don’t know what to think of other tastes that are outside from yours.

      • MBird

        “I don’t quite understand the “delusional EA fanboy” comment.”

        Of course you don’t, and in regards to your, “you fail to see the growth made by the product,” apparently this “growth” you speak of wouldn’t have been needed if EASports hadn’t gutted the franchise when moving from PS2/Xbox to PS3/360 in the first place and making gamers wait years for the “new features” to be put back in the game. Most of the same money plays work in Madden that always have, it gets highly repetitive when all you have to do to win a game is come back to those plays over and over again and the only way the game can beat you is if you decide to make it actually hard and not use those plays. When you get tired of holding yourself back to actually make things interesting, you get game modes, particularly “franchise” mode, that it seems they make more unrealistic every year, all the while hiding behind the fact that they are the only company that gets to make an NFL game. So while there are, undoubtedly, people who think the glass is half full, while EA seemingly fills it little by little every year, there are those of us who remember it was EA that emptied half the glass in the first place.

  • Aaron Johnson

    As someone who bought FIFA (2014)for the first time, im not surprised Madden is headed that way. They shove the Ultimate style gameplay down your throat in that game with the load screens, menu buttons etc. Im wondering if Madden is building the same type of fan base with Ultimate which is why the marketing/design focus has changed. Still seems bad to me simply because this is the first gen release on the next gen console. Either way, lets hope more comes out soon.

  • MoneyMayweather

    MUT flourishes because of youtube commentators like TDK.

  • Matt

    I have purchased every Madden since 01 and I am a fan of MUT despite never spending money on it. I love the challenge and satisfaction of beating the people who have paid to get good cards with my free Lions-themed team.

  • Sean Conners

    a lot of the gameplay features inherently should improve franchise. i think some are forgetting that. as far as the mode itself goes, they still need to find a way to do actual random draft classes to end the “draft sheet” stuff …. and a way to reset games and/ or pick games up at a certain point or a disconnect point would be huge.

    • vic

      Dude what are you talking about gameplay features have no impact on the franchise when we say we want more we are talking about waiver wire restricted free agency, a better free agency , custom draft classes…you say they need to figure out how to randomize draft classes to avoid the cheat sheet? They need to fix the draft first the ratings are all f’d up the hell with randomizing them this whole game is for mut and online players they pretty much give the middle finger to off line SIM players..

  • The Great Leon

    I have not bought or played a Madden since Peyton Hillis year. The game just seems so uninspired. I like the Franchise mode in sports games, I like to play but also sim years in advance. EA just touches up the franchise mode when a new console comes out and leaves it the same. I also use to only get Madden for the draft classes because I preferred NCAA. Since that is gone I really don’t care about Madden.

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