Madden fans have demanded changes to the franchise mode for years and they will finally get it. The Madden 12 franchise mode will get a makeover with big changes, new features, and improvements that already have Madden players and message boards buzzing.
Right around now every year EA Sports begins to unveil details about changes and improvements to the upcoming Madden 12 game to create a buzz. Every year EA focus one particular area of criticism from gamers and use that feedback to make improvements. This year EA are tackling the franchise mode which will get the long overdue facelift that I and others have been anticipating for the last few years.
The beautiful thing about the Madden video game is that it offers something for everyone. Players generally zero in on one particular favorite mode whether it is online playing, franchise, online franchise, or superstar and spend most of their playing time in their mode of choice. For me it is and has always been the franchise mode.
A new blog from Josh Looman of EA Sports chronicles all of the new Madden franchise features and improvements. Here is a quick rundown of the Madden 12 franchise features and tweaks.
– Preseason Matters! Roger Goodell can’t figure out how to make the NFL preseason matter, yet EA Sports figured it out. I will freely admit that I simulate the preseason in all of my franchise modes. Other than having the opportunity to start some key rookies, it is rather pointless. Not anymore.
Madden 12 will increase the preseason roster size to 75 players. Franchise players will be forced to make the tough cuts throughout the preseason. Only a few of the rookies will have their player ratings revealed which is a bit odd. The ratings for the rookies who make the team will be unlocked at the end of the preseason. The idea here is to discover if you have any Tom Brady-like stories of low rated rookies making your team.
The blog talks about memory limitations in the past that only allowed a team keep a roster of 55 players regardless of injured reserve and true roster updates. This happened quite a bit and was frustrating if you tried to keep the rosters true to the real team.
Injured reserve is given a much more important role now as your roster expands once your player goes on I.R. and you can sign a new free agent.
– Place your bids on Randy Moss. EA will introduce free agent bidding to Madden. This has excited a lot of Madden forums. The idea here is that you will wind up in a bidding war similar to online auctions to get your man. The process will also include new contracts to the game.
I am probably in the minority here. I am not nearly as excited as some people are about this. If you play your season true to the game and you have no salary cap, then what is the point of the bid system? You can just come up with crazy bids with no repercussions to get your player. I think it is a step in the right direction but there are a few improvements that can be made to this process to make it more fair and realistic.
To make this really work, I would send every NFL player a survey of what is important to them in free agency along with a top ten list of teams they’d like to play for. EA should then incorporate those surveys into the game and use this to help determine whether a free agent signs with you or one of the other bidders. It is far from perfect, but it is a lot better than just bidding without consequences.
– Role players matter. Players will be given “roles” with each team throughout the season. Roles could be “fumble prone” (Adrian Peterson) , “shutdown corner” (Darrell Revis), “trench warrior” (Nick Mangold), etc. The Madden blog cites an “RPG element” as the need for the addition of player roles.
– Pull a Nick Saban. One of the most disappointing things about the franchise mode is that you are locked into your team once you pick them. In order to play with another team you need to start the franchise all over again. Madden 12 has changed that and players can now change the team they control before the offseason starts. So if you are in year 9 with your team and dominating, you can swap to a different team and start the rebuilding the process all over again. Tell the media you aren’t going to St. Louis, and well take over the Rams before the season starts.
– You are who you say you are. One of the things that had disappointed me in the franchise mode is that if I have three back to back spectacular quarterback weeks, my QB rating stays exactly the same. In Madden 12, a player’s performance will impact his rating and the rating will change week to week on performance. This is a welcome and long overdue change to the franchise mode.
Additionally, gamers can go in and edit player attributes to every player in the game within the franchise mode. In the past, you had to go outside of the franchise mode to make the edits and then start a new franchise mode to get your new player. A great example of frustration was last year when Michael Vick was given a ridiculous 58 fumble rating. In order to change that you had to go outside the game and restart your franchise to make the changes apply.
– Trade the 2015 first round draft pick. I love this addition to the franchise mode! Players will now have the option to include future draft picks in player trades. Play as the Raiders and trade your first round picks for the next three years for an over the hill lineman and remain true to Raider form. I love it!
– Back to the drawing board. Another new feature will introduce dynamic gameplans within the franchise mode. This for example will apply to a team with an offense based on one player which needs to be changed if that one player winds up injured or leaving the team. The EA blog uses Peyton Manning as an example. The blog explains that the Colts run a pass-heavy offense. If Manning gets hurt or leaves the team, the team will begin using a different style offense to reflect the strengths or weaknesses of the new offense.
– Importing NCAA draft classes just got better! The revamped Madden 12 franchise mode will allow gamers who import NCAA draft classes to keep player ratings. In other words, if you import a player who is an 85 overall he will enter Madden with a similar rating whereas in the past that player would dramatically lose his rating thus making the import rather moot.
– Better G.M. intelligence. The Madden blog calls this “Revamped team re-signing.” It is best explained by the blogger himself.
“Last year, a team like the 49ers would always re-sign a player like Alex Smith because they had no other alternative on the team at his position. They would never take his potential into account and keep him on the roster for years.
They’ll also try to keep a young player with lots of potential under contract as long as it makes sense.”
To me, these are the most important improvements in the franchise mode. There are a ton of other little tweaks to the mode that really take it to a whole other level. The weather function has been improved (it never snowed in January in Green Bay in Madden 11), player awards are revamped, retirements are revamped, the rookie wage scale has been dramatically improved, rookies will now have player portraits, depth chart logic has been improved, coaches will make a difference (Andy Reid will have more of an impact than say Jason Garrett), re-tuned simulation stats, and much more.
Check out the entire blog at for a full list of Madden franchise improvements and explanations.