EA Sports released Playbook #3 and #4 today that features the new Connected Franchise mode. The biggest change will be the return of the Owner Mode to the series. Tons of micromanaging and focusing on your franchise, players can choose from current owners or create their own. Hiring/Firing staff (an entire staff), setting ticket and concession prices, managing stadium upgrades, and even moving your team to a different location. Think you can do a better job than Jerry Jones? Well then take over the team and move the Cowboys to your town!
Your staff helps make up the persona of the team. Inheriting a current owner will dictate how the franchise is. What can be inviting to other players and coaches down the road. Hiring scouts and trainers is part of the process, too. However, if you step in and take over, you can mold your franchise from scratch. Keeping the stadium current and fans in seats is huge. There is an upgrade maximum to each stadium, and if necessary, the option is there to build a brand new stadium. That new stadium can be in the current city, or you can move elsewhere. Different situations exist for each pre-determined city in the game. This would include changing the name and the logo of your team. It all comes down to having fans and maintaining profit.
Last year, a very important aspect was added in achieving XP points throughout the season. For Madden 25, this logic has been tuned and players will see quicker results. Computer-controlled teams will also see increases to help balance this out. Even when doing practice, if the goal is not met, XP will be received for completing that practice. For those who prefer the Superstar portion, you will immediately see the impact you make on your team. The team rating will change and you will see where you fit in the lineup.
Connected Franchise will have a revamped interface which will hopefully improve over last year. A tab system will help navigation as the presentation of the hud looks like is pulled directly from the NFL Network. However, when I watch the trailer, I see a lot of the same screens. The trade screen will also be more easily accessible.
The fans have spoken as a few things have been addressed based on their feedback. Included in Madden 25 will be the ability to control all 32 teams at once during the Connected Franchise. In addition to this, an offline fantasy draft and league transaction log will be a part of the game. Most importantly (and was a game killer for some for '13), draft classes can be imported this year from NCAA Football 14.
Madden 25 will see additional legendary players and coaches, along with new media personalities. Randal Cunningham joins Madden 25 this year, in addition to William "Refrigerator" Perry and Mike Ditka. Ditka will be available as either a linebacker or a coach. The Fridge will also be available as a running back or defensive tackle.
The trailer below goes over a bit of what Connected Franchise has to offer. Once again, it's narrated by Trey Wingo from ESPN. Also check out the screenshots to see some of the new menu interface. Madden 25 will be available on Tuesday, August 27th for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Expect some hands-on impressions from E3.