NFL | NCAA Football

Madden 13 Franchise Mode Fallacy

madden 13 connected careersMillions of new Madden 13 owners opened up their games ready to start a brand new franchise. Those excited gamers spent hours endlessly searching through screens for their favorite mode until they were confronted with the brutal truth. The Franchise mode is history!

It didn’t take long for the news to spread like wildfire on the Internet. By midday of the Maddenoliday, social media was flooded with thousands of rants from angry Madden gamers who lost their best friend. Within 24 hours of the release of Madden, the game had received more negative reviews from owners than any Madden game in history once it became apparent that their franchise mode was gone and it wasn’t coming.

I have been a loyal Madden gamer since I opened up my first Madden game decades ago. Like many of you, I spent more time playing in the Franchise mode than any other. I loved the idea of building a dynasty and having something to play for every time I fired up my Genesis, PC, Playstation, or 360. Why waste time playing an exhibition or online game when I can play a game that counts against my record now and the rest of the life of the franchise?

I picked up my game on my lunch break and the cashiers at Game Stop told me how great the game was. They went over all of the new features and quite frankly it went in one ear and out the other. I didn’t care. I just wanted to jump into a new franchise mode. I planned my night for my franchise draft and counted the hours until I could get home and begin my road to the Super Bowl. Then all of the sudden my hopes for another year in the new franchise mode were shattered before I even had the chance to play.

I sent out a tweet asking for early Madden reviews. I started getting complaints and negative reviews with everyone complaining about the missing Franchise mode. Missing Franchise mode? It had to be there. Not that I read game blogs daily but I didn’t see a word about the removal of the mode in any blogs or articles about the game. Missing Franchise mode? What in the world are you talking about was my response to those tweets. It didn’t take long for my excitement to turn to anger.

But how could this be? I continued to wonder how the most critical element of the game could be removed, yet nobody mentioned this in any review of the game? Every review I read gave the game as close to a perfect rating or a flat out perfect rating that the game could get. Every reviewer wrote endlessly about how it was the best Madden ever. Best Madden ever? How could that be with no Franchise mode?

Once I got home and poked around I figured out that the Franchise mode was replaced with Connected Careers. I don’t know what Connected Careers and from the millions of complaints online, neither did most gamers. Connected Careers allows you to play as a player or a coach. The head coach is as close to the Franchise mode as you will get.

But guess what? It is still not the Franchise mode that I played last year that many of us loved about the game. For starters, there is no fantasy franchise draft and according to EA Sports it is impossible to bring that to the game with any kind of update this year. Two, you can only control one team at a time as opposed to last year.

Playing Connected Careers as a player was a whole other ball of wax. You can create a player, play as a current player, or play as a legend. I tried playing as Barry Sanders. I got access to Sanders as part of the Game Stop preorder promotion. For some reason or another I had to go into the mode a few times to get him to unlock, after I had already entered the code. When I finally unlocked Barry and started playing I quickly realized that this was a complete waste of time. I called the offensive plays and could only control Barry Sanders. If I called a pass, I had to sit there and watch. When the team went on defense, I was a spectator. Who in the world wants to sit there and play a game where you are watching a simulation 75% of the time? It was boring, dumb, and just flat out a big waste of time.

Speaking of the legends, what a crock this promotion was. I was ecstatic when I read that Madden would be including legends this year. The only reason I bought the game at Game Stop was to have access to my favorite NFL player of all-time, Barry Sanders. Here is the brutal truth about the legends. They are another waste of time. You can play as a legend in either the player mode in Connected Careers or using the Canton team in exhibition. You cannot include the legends on the rosters if you play as a head coach in Connected Careers or as Madden likes to tell you the new Franchise mode. You can’t even play with the legends on other teams, such as moving Barry over to the Lions for an exhibition game. To me, this is a huge waste of time and a real misleading campaign. Why have these guys included if you can’t play with them in other modes? I would have just bought the game at and gotten the $15 gift card if I knew that.

It still makes me wonder how millions of fans and dozens of professional reviewers can have such different opinions of the game. Just check out the user reviews on to see what the actual customers who paid to own this game think about it. As of this writing the game has 2 ½ stars with 119 customers giving it a 1 or 2 on EA Sports’ own Facebook Fan page is flooded with complaints. It is amazing how different you will feel about a game that you passionately paid $60 for as opposed to getting a free copy on your desk for a paid review isn’t it?

EA Sports did a terrible job explaining the transformation from Franchise to Connected Careers before and after the release of the game. Just horrible! Maybe there wouldn’t be such a backlash if people knew what they were buying before they opened up a game that they can’t return? It is bad enough where a huge message now pops up at the open of Madden trying to best explain the situation. Their lack of clarity regarding the Franchise mode and the legends is unacceptable!

The Madden defenders and EA Sports will tell you that the Franchise mode is still there, it’s just called something different. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Quite honestly it is an insult to their customers every time someone from EA Sports says this with a straight face. This is a completely different mode with critical elements of the old mode missing. I won’t tell you not to buy Madden but I will tell you that if you are looking for the Franchise mode, you are better off keeping your old copy, and picking up an updated roster on Otherwise you are in for some major disappointment.

Order Madden 13 for all consoles on

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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