Complete Details on Connected Franchise Mode for Madden NFL 15

Posted August 6th, 2014 at 11:15 am


After a long wait for information on Connected Franchise mode EA Sports today sent out full details and video going over the new features and improvements in Madden NFL 15. Typically Franchise is promoted early on in the marketing process but this year was held until late which created concern over how much work had been put into the mode.

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The two biggest new additions are Game Prep and Confidence which were noted in the retailer product summary last week. Game Prep takes the place of practice, and Confidence replaces hot and cold streaks. Other changes include adding the IR-Designated to Return, new Pro Bowl team selection process, the ability to hire and fire staff during the season, streamlined process for spending points on improving player attributes, multiple commissioner control, and a new option for simming forward. 

Every player now has a confidence rating between 1 and 99. That confidence rating is dynamic and will change based on what happens to the player and his team from week to week, and is is NOT an indication of how confident the player generally is in real life.

Among the things that can change a player’s confidence are losses, poor performances, trades, etc. How much confidence fluctuates is determined by several different factors: whether the player is a starter or backup, their consistency rating, and how big the game was. Get blown out by a rival at home? Confidence drops more than a one-point road loss.

Wondering how much each player’s confidence changed after a big win? There’s a screen that shows every player’s individual changes, allowing players to go back and track the changes in confidence.

So what does confidence do? Simple. If a player’s confidence is high, their key ratings temporarily increase. If it gets too low, those same key ratings drop.

This was done to represent players that outperform their expectations, as well as players that are struggling. Before last season, did anyone think that Josh Freeman would be a free agent at the start of October? That’s what Madden 15 is trying to capture with this new system.

Quick Tip: Every player starts CFM with a “normal” confidence rating of 50. Once confidence start dropping to below 25-30 or increasing to 75-80, that’s when ratings changes will occur.

Game Prep
Game Prep replaces Madden 25’s practice mode, and was designed to allow you to make the ultimate choices in developing your team. Each week, players are given a set amount of time to prep each week.

This time fluctuates based on season schedule, so bye weeks or Monday night games will impact preparation for the following week, just like the real-world NFL. Players have multiple activities to choose from each week, and each activity costs a specific amount of time per player.

There are two types of activities in Game Prep – one increases players’ confidence, while the other earns XP. If you’re trying to develop a young team like the Jaguars or Bucs, focus most on getting your players XP. If you’re a team like the Seahawks or 49ers, it’s better to focus on increasing confidence, so that the team is prepared each and every week.

CPU teams have extensive logic that determines what they work on every week. Bad teams will focus mostly on developing their players, while contenders will focus on confidence first and then earn XP if confidence isn’t an issue.

How much XP or confidence each player earns depends on factors such as coach traits and a player’s development trait. If a QB possesses the “Superstar” development trait and has Jim Harbaugh as a coach, that player will earn more XP or confidence than a player with an average coach/trait. NFL coaches like Andy Reid and Jim Harbaugh are known for developing QBs, and that is what the development team attempted to capture.

Players also have the choice to run in-game skill drills for XP or Confidence, with points rewarded based on success in the activity. We want to reward players for putting in the time with in-game skill drills, so those are more valuable than activities that do not occur in game.

Game Prep is not designed to be a grind. If players choose to ignore Game Prep on any given week, we’ll use the same logic that CPU teams use to automatically reward a player with XP or Confidence. It’s up to you when you want to jump in and control how players are developing.

Quick Tip: Check out the depth chart to see which key ratings have increased or decreased.Ratings that have increased will be green, while decreased ratings are red. This carries into games, as well.

Free Agency Redesign
Offseason Free Agency has undergone a redesign that adds several different factors when attempting to sign a player. When a player evaluates whether they want to sign with you, they no longer take only money into account. Now they evaluate your team’s needs, scheme, coaching ability, etc. All of those factors are displayed on the screen, which makes it easier to see why a player spurned an offer. The other team may have just been a better fit.

Random Draft Classes
For the first time in CFM, draft classes are entirely random. Every name, rating, trait, face, etc. is randomly generated every season. No two classes are alike or predictable. This is something we’ve wanted to do for the past few years. Our fans have been very passionate about random draft classes, and this addition adds unlimited replayability to Connected Franchise.

Random Branching Storylines
Rookie Branching Storylines are now completely random. This allows us to have more players change throughout the season, and also opens up the ability to have a lot more commentary during the NFL Draft. All storylines are based on the storylines we’ve added to the game over the last two years.

In-Game Overall Ratings
Another big change in Madden NFL 15 is seeing the same overall (OVR) ratings in game as the depth chart. If a QB is an 85 overall in your scheme in the front end, they’ll be an 85 OVR in game as well.

Completely ReDesigned Relocation Uniforms
The uniforms shipped with last year were not up to our team’s quality standards, so I took it upon myself this year to learn how to make uniforms in Madden and redesign every relocation uniform in CFM.

You’ll no longer see the same uniform style for every team; each team has different styles that reflect what future uniforms might look like. We also were very excited to work with the community in the Uniform Design Contest, and incorporated several of the winners’ designs into the game.

Redesigned Buy Packages Screen
One of my favorite changes this year makes it easier to buy packages as a player, coach or owner. Players can now buy multiple packages at once and commit to changes with one press of a button instead of having to buy one package at a time like previous Madden games. We’re hoping this change makes it easier to upgrade players going forward. We’ve also added a filter to the coach buy package screen that should allow for easier navigation.

Owner Mode Financial Model Changes
Our team listened carefully to fans, and made big changes to Owner Mode. Every sellable item (concessions, merchandise) now has a sweet spot that determines max profit that can be earned. If prices stay at their default levels, you will always leave money on the table.

Owner Mode is now much more challenging when it comes to making a profit, and teams with older stadiums in smaller markets may be better off building new stadiums or relocating altogether.

As always, the best solution in Owner Mode is winning. Win and the fans will spend money. Our goal was to make Owner Mode much more challenging this year, and we feel like we’ve accomplished that.

Sim To
One of Madden 15’s late additions is very helpful to players that like to simulate multiple seasons at a time. Players can sim to a point in the future (the next draft, the offseason, next season), and the game will advance until it reaches that point. We even added an option to simulate ten years into the future! In online leagues, only commissioners can simulate ahead.

Removed FOURTH Down Watching
Last year, Madden kept you on the field on fourth down if you were a holder on extra points or blocker on a field goal. We’ve removed that, creating a more seamless experience.

Progression/Regression Recap
We’ve added a screen that tracks when players regress or progress in Connected Franchise. This should provide clarity as to why player regress in the offseason, whether it’s failing to reach season goals or losing a step because of old age. There are also news stories that talk about players “losing a step.”

Redesigned Weekly Goals
Weekly goals for players and coaches have been completely revamped with refreshed goals that, react to player status, team ratings, types of games, etc. Goals now take into account where you are in the depth chart. You will no longer be expected to rush for 100 yards as the third-string running back.

Multiple Commissioners
The team sat down early in the development cycle with our EA SPORTS Game Changers, and one of the things that came out of that meeting was a new commissioner tool. Online commissioners can now assign other league users as commissioners so that you always have someone who can advance the league if the primary commissioner is away.

Autopilot Control
Another suggestion that came out of our discussions with the Game Changers was allowing players to determine how long to put a team on autopilot. If you’re going on vacation for one week and want autopilot to turn off after one week, you have that ability.

Relocation Tuning and League Setting
Along with creating all new uniforms, we tuned CPU relocation so that it very rarely happens early in CFM. Teams still rebuild stadiums in their home city, but it’s pretty rare for a CPU team to up and move. At the request of the Game Changers, we also added an additional setting that allows you to prohibit CPU teams from relocating at all.

Injured Reserve (IR) Changes
Users can now remove an injured player from IR if they heal quickly. Use this functionality carefully, as it’s only allowed once per season.

Hire/Fire Staff During the Season
In order to give owners more control, it’s now possible to hire or fire staff members (head coach, trainer or scout) during the season.

Pro Bowl Update
The Pro Bowl now mimics real life, as conference affiliations have been removed in favor of two legends serving as captains.

CPU Uses Alternate Uniforms
CPU teams now have a chance to wear alternate uniforms in a regular season game. There’s also a news story that reacts to the team doing it.

Sim Engine Changes
The simulation engine now includes things like consistency, confidence and development. In Madden 15, young players with great development traits will have slightly better “simmed” stats than normal. This allows great young players to progress quickly and become stars in the league.

  • Trey Warner

    Where’s Keith to say that all these changes won’t make a difference?

    • bebb

      He’ll say 2K’s franchise is better because there you have to pay money for each feature and then post about the stock market lol

    • hungryandrew

      In all honesty, it wont. Same outdated animation engine.

    • Keith.

      Seems like a bunch of fantasy land nonsense to me. If you enjoy franchise mode stuff, then have fun. But to me it’s a snore.

      • Wait…Franchise is “fantasy land nonsense” yet you play MyCareer mode in 2K14 exclusively? That’s delicious irony.

        • Skopin

          That’s because My Career is part of 2k. So it is great by default.

          • Keith.

            No, it’s because franchise and dynasty type modes are a dying breed in sports games. MyCareer and NBA/The Show Live modes are MUCH more popular than fantasy land franchise modes. Don’t believe me? Even the NBA Live devs know it’s true:

            “Q: So is Live Seasons in the top three for modes that people spend time playing?

            A: Yes – Ultimate Team, Live Season, and then our traditional Rising Star and Dynasty modes. You really see a difference if you look back five or eight years ago – it was all about Dynasty mode. … [W]e’re getting away from that dynasty mode where there’s that fantastical approach to it where I can just do whatever I want. It just gets away from realism a little bit, and I think there is definitely a segment of our audience that enjoys that and wants that control, but I think the evolution is happening through that connected experience and live services.”

            “Q: Does this mean by extension that Dynasty mode is becoming less prominent in your development cycle?

            A: I would say yes right now. What we’re trying to do is incorporate some of the cool moments and the control you have either as a coach, player, or general manager within other game modes.”


          • Khadeem

            are you crazy online franchise the new movement idiot

          • Khadeem

            I would block your dumb ass, but you make laugh.

          • Skopin

            I’m more interested in gameplay and AI. Personally, I’m happy to just play quick games if the game plays well. Once the gameplay and AI are where they need to be, then they can worry about modes. The same goes for any sports game. I hate hearing news about new modes before I hear what gameplay changes have been made.

      • Casor_Greener

        This is huge. Damn bro stop hating

      • Khadeem

        U are a troll. U r so blatantly biased its laughable.

      • Dustin

        Games are fantasy dude. You are like 50 but yet you come and complain about GAMES here any chance you get it seems and have such strong opinions about it. That, my friend, is a snore.

      • swimfunk

        you just prefer watching other people play in #thepark

      • Dustin

        All games are fantasy.

  • Molo

    Any word on Practice Squad or the IR/Roster Size issues?

  • Lucy Liu

    Sounds great to me even though the heard of Anti-Maddeners will hate them without seeing them in action.

    • hungryandrew

      Herd, learn to spell.

  • vidal5150

    Hey pasta, can u still edit players and take them into CFM like last years Madden?

  • Tony

    Pasta, Any word on if this will be availble for 360/PS3?

    • Everything should apply to both generations of the game. But I’ll try to confirm that.

      • Tony

        Thanks for looking into this, Bryan. EA has always been quiet in this regard. Also has EA released any gameplay videos for PS3/360? I am assuming everything we’ve seen was for One/PS4.

        • No, and I doubt we’ll see anything official from them. But at least we’ll get random people streaming and posting videos at some point, even if its close to or at release.

  • jr

    So they change the pro bowl set up to mimic real life, do you get to play this year. Better question is it still an option to play. I always make it to the Super Bowl so I wouldn’t know honestly. Also, it would be nice to have the pro bowl teams as playable teams in exhibition

  • MCJedi1

    This is going to be interesting! Pasta, any word on custom playbook availability for online & offline?

  • PPerfectCJ

    “Our fans have been very passionate about random draft classes, and this
    addition adds unlimited replayability to Connected Franchise.”

    Uhhh…I think we’ve been very passionate about being able to EDIT draft classes.

    • vic

      Exactly what I said we’ve been asking for custom draft classes for years it’s disappointing but if all these new additions actually work it’s a good start

    • Sergei

      If EA were avoiding that feature because it could potentially lead to more lawsuits like NCAA, would it change your opinion of how they handled this part of Connected Franchise? Just a bit of reframing.

  • PancakePatterson

    Thank you EA!!!

  • Nfl Sim Ballers

    Anyone looking to join a Sim League for Madden 15? Xbox one.

  • God

    I’m as anti EA as the next guy but I’m actually encouraged. I will definitely be buying this game day 1.

  • Skman

    Pasta, is there any chance they fixed re-signing/restructuring player contracts? And did they give any indications of unrestricted player position changing? Thanks man.

    • I’m guessing they would’ve detailed changes such as those with everything else today. Haven’t been told of anything in addition to this.

  • Khaleel Ward

    This sounds great. Finally bringing back training in CFM. I did not like practice at all. I really hope the draft classes are random though. I wonder how many different Confidence activities we will see

  • Bolt94

    Did they fix sim stats for qb’s?

  • Chris

    I’m not sure if anyone else is interested but, I enjoyed playing the other games on the NFL schedule while playing my franchise. will that be available in Madden 15 r a I stuck laying with the same team???

  • patrick

    Any options for player contracts? One of the biggest updates ive been watching for. As you progress through seasons, and not having the ability to restructure contracts until final year really ties your hands cap wise.

    Andrew luck has a 32 mil cap charge right now, and currently only option is to cut him, clear cap penalties and resign him.

    In previous maddens that had the ability to do this managing cap was much easier and more realistic

  • Nfl Sim Ballers


  • TMack1986

    All the pro bowl talk is stupid unless we can actually PLAY the pro bowl this year. I could never play it in madden 25.

  • Panamajack13

    I’d like to see either game film from other games or at least the money plays they use in a pinch. That would make people have to be more creative in the plays they use overall.

  • alex

    I haven’t played Madden for a few years, so I got a question. Is CFM the same mode as offline Franchise mode, or are they different and all of these changes are going into both?

    • Dustin

      Yes, it is the same

    • Jay (The Truth)

      The “Connected” refers to combination of Franchise Mode and (Formerly) Superstar mode. Few years ago when they combined them, changed the name to Connected Career Mode. Most got confused and thought they got rid of franchise. With the two modes being together, you pick a coach (Or owner) to play it as franchise mode, and vice versa for a player. Also can switch back and forth at any point, even during the season.

      • alex

        OK, I think I remember that now. Thanks.

        • Jay (The Truth)

          No problem

  • AmazinsCowboys

    Looking forward to the game. One thing that you could do in Superstar mode back on the PS2 was play as a Kicker. I enjoyed it and think that could be really fun and a quick way to progress really deep into a career. Too bad it doesn’t sound available though. I would like that a lot to have the option of playing as a Kicker.

  • matt

    Is their still a player mode? Or just owner mode?

  • jr

    He has a child like gripe with them because 2k couldn’t afford to scoop the license away.

    • Keith.

      EA can’t afford it either, which is why they’ve been bleeding money for close to a decade now.

  • Keith.

    If you’ve played The Show or NBA 2K on PS4, think about the football game we could be playing and then ask me the question again.

    • Khadeem

      I hope 2k football wouldnt be anything like this game. You are stupid bro. Its like you have the mental capacity of a fork. Have you played 2k in its full capacity? You only play My Career. You dont experience online gameplay or play other users. You have no true knowledge of how the game functions. You comments, ideas, and thoughts dont make any sense.

    • Trey Warner

      NBA 2K is pretty overrated…They haven’t added or improved on anything significant in 3 years.

    • Brian

      I was really hard on Madden before the start of last-gen, and I was extremely pro NBA2K. But this year, have wasted all that time and venting my anger about last year’s 2K, I don’t even think I’ll buy it, honestly. It wasn’t apparently better than Madden. It just wasn’t. Nothing you can say will make me think otherwise. And you know the product last year was bad on 2K. And I know you knew that they were losing customers right and left though all the network outages and incredibly stupid things like not being able to set a lineup right out of the box in the franchise mode. If they weren’t you wouldn’t be on here blasting Bryan for every damn time 2K dropped free points on us as if they were pennies from heaven.

    • Skopin

      I would love to see what SCEA could do with football.

    • Skopin

      I would love to see what SCEA could do with football.

    • talos

      excellent answer! Madden is so stuck in the mud – afraid to make an original game departing from the current formula. Fanatics are so buried into its narrow margins they can’t see the actual potential this game has. Obviously I’m not a fanatic, but I do love football, and want to play a great NFL football game. Hell, I’d even settle for a good football sim without the licensing. EA should take a year off – throw all the code away – and start from scratch. Which obviou$ly will never happen. If NFL licensing were smart, they would NOT allow this monopoly to continue for one basic reason – competition yields better games for F sake! Better games means better sales, means growing the league…

  • Colin t

    Not to sound like Keith, but instead of creating some option that has your opponent wear an alternate jersey every now and then, why can’t I just select their uniform on my own, you know like I did on playstation 1. Well there’s always madden 16

  • vic

    “Another big change in Madden NFL 15 is seeing the same overall (OVR) ratings in game as the depth chart. If a QB is an 85 overall in your scheme in the front end, they’ll be an 85 OVR in game as well.” Ok so does that mean if I have a fast receiver rated 70 and change my scheme to speed he’s going to be 90 overall in game???? That will ruin everything

  • Big Roc Nasty

    So we still don’t have position coaches, coordinators, or practice squad??

  • Taylor

    Only IR issue I know of is that the game would freeze during season games in depth chart. But I hope thats fixed!

  • RON

    pasta can you control all 32 teams in offline franchise

  • Trey Warner

    I assume…Even when they took it out in M13 they added in an update like a month later. So I doubt they will remove it again because a lot of people use it.

  • FukIT_ImOnOne

    I won’t be happy with franchise mode until they bring back a good scouting system. Use the base from 2k basketball, which allows you to work out the rookies and put them through drills to see if they fit what your looking for. Off season is a huge thing for me so little stuff like a combine which is a huge event in itself around April should be included

  • jr

    Lol so many posts bashing Keith he can’t even keep up

  • alex

    Pastapadre will madden 15 have a real soundtrack? ?

  • Tazdevil20

    So they added some nice things, yet I still can’t set up a draft board to pick players if I can’t make the draft? I could understand if this was something really difficult to add, but in all honesty, this should literally take a couple of hours of implementation at the most.

  • football boy

    this sounds pretty cool but I wish as far as the stadium go s you could have the option to fully customize it from what type of score board you have to what type of locker room to concessions and seating and even field and is it a dome or an open field lighting or will u have grass or artificial instead of the pre set stadiums that the used last year I don’t see why they cant do that

  • Steven H ✅


  • JJ

    Random Draft Classes huh…

    Because God knows we all love those skinny 5’10” linemen with skateboard elbow pads.

  • JJ

    Random Draft Classes huh…

    Because God knows we all love those skinny 5’10” linemen with skateboard elbow pads.

  • The last Madden I had was Madden 13, I traded it back in less than a month. Skipped last years because I hated the changes they had made in 13 to the franchise mode. Looks like they have added/changed a lot of the things I wanted. Might have to try Madden again this year.

  • Danielle Rennifer

    Speaking of Franchise Mode, hope the mobile version will have Franchise Mode similar to Madden 13 on the Vita as it will do well on phones and tablets for up to 15 years w/ off-season on coaching changes (inbox message similar to FIFA mobile on top 5 Transfers), players retiring (also inbox message on list of teams losing players to retirement), free agency, NFL Draft on upcoming rookies, and adjusting depth charts. Jim Nance & Phil Simms or Al Michaels & Chris Collinsworth (similar to Clyde & Andy in FIFA mobile) on commentary will work in either way. This will help NFL fans satisfied on playing Madden from tablets/phones even having to pay 8 or ten bucks to purchase the game in the App Store.

  • Will

    Once a draft has happened can you edit the players name of the person you drafted?

  • lion575a

    Really the biggest issue I have with Madden 15 I dont blame on EA, but my issue is I enjoy playing through NCAA and importing into Madden ….. but no NCAA this year. If they allowed us to import from NCAA 2014 or even create a draft class I would buy this game, but for now will stick with Madden 25. Am still having a blast with it.

  • Allen Bright

    Why can we not adjust uniforms on game day in connected career, it goes to default, which leaves Dallas in dark vs dark home team and that sucks

  • Allen Bright

    Why can we not adjust uniforms on game day in connected career, it goes to default, which leaves Dallas in dark vs dark home team and that sucks

  • Allen Bright

    Have seen a few gray uniforms and helmets for few different cities, just let us pick colors at least. Other than Houston getting to have oilers uniform, need more options