Prior to release, the Madden team released information that both franchise and superstar modes would remain largely the same, vowing to rebuild these modes from scratch for Madden 12. While the statement is certainly appreciated, and fans of these modes seem to be stuck in a limbo year with Madden 11, it’s time to start looking forward. If indeed, the team is determined to start anew, there are certain things that should be establish from the get-go in order to optimize these modes. Here is a list of several things that need to be included in franchise mode for Madden 12.
Realistic progression/regression is at the heart of any mode that goes beyond one season. If players progress/regress too fast or too slow, it can alter the entire league dynamic. The system should be influenced not only by on field performance but also by playing time, the utilization of “practices” and offseason training. Similarly, injuries should come into play when determining how a player will progress throughout the course of their career, the more injuries, the faster the regression and vice versa.
In all honesty, the entire draft system in Madden is boring. It lacks realism and any real interaction with the user. Rough scouting is done throughout the season which culminates with a poorly presented draft. Let’s seem more interaction in scouting during the course of the year, more trades on draft day, maybe even a rumor mill of who will be going after certain players. In a lot of ways, the draft is a chess match with those who play it well reaping the benefits down the road. In addition, there should be greater integration with the NCAA series in order to produce more accurate and realistic draft classes. It would even be a nice touch (if all goes well in court) for NCAA users to upload draft classes to be used in Madden through the EA Locker system. While there are a lot of aspects of the draft to improve, it starts with creating more interactions with the user and making the classes as accurate as possible.
This particular point was done fairly well in NFL Head Coach, released a few years back. The idea is simple; not every player is going to “fit” well with each system. If there isn’t a fit between player and scheme, there should be a downgrade in player rating. For example, placing someone like Demarcus Ware as an OLB in a 4-3 scheme would take a player consistently rated in the high 90s and drop him to the low 90s or high 80s. Utilizing this sort of system will also employ users to build their team around superstars and role players alike, especially if the role players are able to reach their full potential by playing in the right scheme.
Every year, the talking heads at ESPN, NFL Network and various radio stations across the country preach the importance of team chemistry, or a team’s ability to mesh as a cohesive unit hoping to achieve a common goal. While chemistry is not the deciding factor when it comes to winning Super Bowls, it can certainly enhance or hamper a team’s chances of getting to the big game. Thus, some sort of chemistry system should be implemented, even if it falls along the lines of the current Ultimate Team system. This not only adds a bit of intrigue to a fairly mundane week-to-week system but also emphasizes developing a team of both stars and role players.
Spice up the offseason:
The NFL is no longer a September to January league; football is on year-round nowadays and a big part of that is the offseason. OTAs, the draft (and combine), free agency, coaching carousel, Hall of Fame inductions are all huge parts of the calendar. These should be significant events in franchise mode. Let users choose where training areas for players and mimic OTAs. Let’s see free-agent veterans decide between chasing the money and chasing a ring. Let’s see some presentation when it comes to the draft and combine.
Introduce a career mode:
College Hoops 2k8 has long been one of my favorite sports games on the current generation of consoles. One of the biggest reasons for its continued rotation in my 360 has been “career mode” where users take over a small time basketball program and try to move towards the larger programs. Introducing some variation on this idea would be fantastic, even if it is just an option. Users could start as a coordinator and only play that side of the ball. Depending on their success, they could increase attributes that would make them better candidates to get a better deal with a stronger team or even move into the head coaching ranks.
Another carry over from NFL Head Coach, the mid-week activities should make a return. Spend a certain amount of money to “scout” the next week’s opposition and put together a game-plan for that next week. If you’re the head coach, the effectiveness of the plan should be tied to skill of the coordinators and your actual play call. Maybe, depending on the level of the gameplan, parts of the opposition’s play art is revealed just before the play, allowing users to quickly adjust. It could be as small as noticing a stunt or getting tipped off that the guard is going to be pulling. Coaches do a lot of work between Monday and Thursday, so let’s make that a part of the franchise experience.
What about you? What would you like to see implemented in franchise mode for Madden 12? Leave your comments and suggestions below.
Madden 11 is now available at Gamestop locations throughout New England.