Madden 09 online update

Posted April 30th, 2008 at 4:55 pm

In his latest forum posting, Madden 09 lead producer Phil Frazier notes a couple of things relating to the game including a statement that they are likely going to be able to get variable weather into online unranked games. In the course of one week it has gone from no online weather, to talking about the possibility of it, to it being a 95% certainty that it’ll be included. Hopefully that will include online league games which are in essence unranked games as well and would add to the experience that comes from playing a real season.

In speaking with Phil Frazier at the NCAA event last week I was able to express the frustration of the community around the general neglect that online play has received in the past several years. Admittedly it was somewhat of an overreaction on my part to lay it all on the lack of weather online but it came from that place of overall frustration and that it could possibly be a sign of the neglect continuing. He addressed the issue of online performance issues by mentioning that they have four engineers dedicated solely to getting the online games running well. That is a significant commitment being made. The discussion took place shortly before hearing about the inclusion of online leagues which appear to be well thought out (as long as they have playoffs). So clearly online play is getting some focus this year.

I didn’t limit it to just online weather and increasing the options in unranked games. I also brought up the desire to have stats and records tracked in them. Essentially the idea should be that unranked games offer pretty much every option there is offline to be selected (that is why they’re unranked) but at the same time they shouldn’t be treated as if they didn’t exist. It has always bothered me that I can’t look back upon what I’ve done throughout the year because the games were unranked. He seemed open and understanding of those thoughts so we’ll see where that goes in the future.

So I feel much better about the online prospects this year and encouraged that the community’s thoughts are really being heard. Hopefully at a minimum the online performance is up to par and the online leagues function as expected. Along with the focus on those areas adding in options such as variable weather is a sign of good things in the coming years.