I can easily remember a time long, long ago when EA Sports announced the release of Madden, I immediately circled the date and made my way to GameStop the day of. Now, it just kind of feels like “oh yea, Madden is out. Cool, I guess I’ll get it”. In my most humblest opinion, Madden has regressed over the years. I’m 22 and still play Madden, and as long as it continues, I’ll play until the day I die (Madden 2050?!) The issue is, is that EA continues to gloat about adding all of these extensive pieces to Connected Franchise mode, however, it still is lacking a lot. I believe EA and Madden could take these 5 steps in making it the greatest sports game ever created.
- Bring Back NFL Superstar
Okay, this seems like an easy one. Currently in Madden if you want to “create a superstar” you simply start a Connected Franchise and switch roles from head coach to player, or even owner. You can create either of the three by scratch but then it just gets dull. You don’t get much more depth other than selecting a “package” for them, or in other words your player (if he was a QB) could select from being a pocket passer, to balanced, to scrambler etc. From there, you just pick your team and you’re off. That’s it. Remember NFL Superstar back in the days? You made your guy and you started off in an apartment. Then you’d hire an agent, go through the NFL Combine, watch your guy get drafted and then your career would take off. In the offseason, you could go work on a movie, go to the tattoo parlor and, throughout your career, your apartment would become a loft, then to a mansion after you signed huge contract offers. There is no comparison with how the old Superstar and the Career in Madden shake out. Just look at how in depth the NBA 2K franchise is with their MyCareer. I could go in depth about it, but you should check it out yourself, it’s utterly amazing how they get you to do almost anything imaginable in that mode.
How I would suggest Madden recreates their Superstar mode is simply taking a page from NBA’s book. You create your guy and get something of a backstory on him. You then hire an agent and go through the NFL Combine where you can actually participate in the drills like the bench press, vertical jump and 40 yard dash. From there, you could have interviews with teams interested in you and you have the chance to respond to their questions, with each answer having its own positive or negative consequence. Afterwards, you see your created guy get the call from his team and then enter training camp where you go through a position battle (I hate that in 17, you can just select be a starter, there’s no work for it) With all of that being said, there should be incentives like NBA has it set up. You buy ratings points based on your performance on AND off the field (maybe your guy has interviews, shoe/apparel deals etc. It would also be interesting if you could have the mode to practice with your guy while in season. In the offseason, I would suggest bringing back the chance to do movies and events to make it more in depth and even offer the chance, when appropriate, to meet with your agent and GM to discuss contract negotiations. The more in depth Madden could go with it, the better.
2. Reintroduce a weekly radio/talk show during Franchise mode
MLB The Show has a daily radio show where Justin Allegri goes through daily updates as you play. I find it really cool hearing how bad the Braves are doing while my Phillies are loading up on talent. In Madden 2005, EA had the Tony Bruno show which I found really cool at age 9 because I knew Bruno from his days at 94.1 WIP in Philadelphia. Anyway, a comprehensive radio show or talk show during the season to break down trades, signings, games etc. would be a really interesting and fun way to play within Franchise mode. I personally hate how you have to go to a transactions page, which I find confusing in ’17, where you could hear someone break it all down for you. If Madden could have a talk show or whatever, break all of that down while your finessing the Browns on a trade in the meantime, it would undoubtedly make Franchise mode way more comprehensive.
3. Franchise mode needs to be redone
One thing I appreciated the most out of the old Madden games was the ability to play in mini camp drills and really have the ability to build a team. This franchise mode is dull to me. I mean, hey it’s great, but if you play offline and your just winging it yourself, it gets redundant and boring. The talk show idea would do a lot for Franchise mode but don’t stop there. I would love if you chose to be a coach to have meetings with your other coaches to discuss the weekly gameplan. To further that, I would love if Madden introduced a team chemistry aspect. What I mean by that is, in NBA 2k17 your team’s chemistry can affect how you play. When you acquire a player midseason, there should be a chemistry aspect with him joining the team (not confidence level that impacts his rating like in 17) and that would affect the team as a whole. There needs to be more of a challenge in Franchise mode and more depth with it, especially if you choose to be a coach.
4. Reinvent Owner Mode
To be fair, being an Owner in Madden 17 is actually sort of fun, but I think way more can be done. As of now, you have the option to relocate your team (although the list of cities is short) and rebuild your stadium, come up with a new name if you choose and a new jersey. I would simply suggest Madden take that a step further. Back in the olden days of Madden, you could build your own stadium from scratch to your liking, not just pick one. In a new Owner mode, I would argue that you could relocate a team whenever, not when the stadium level is low (hey, some people want to watch the world burn and move the Eagles to Las Vegas) but the point is, there needs to be more depth. As an owner, it would be cool to set ticket prices, merchandise prices etc. and even redesign your stadium as is, build a new one or relocate. As you go on in your career, you continue to build your staff, collect the cash and hear the positive or negative comments from the fans based on your performance. To take it a step further, you could even have coaches and players meet with you and your GM weekly to discuss contracts, their frustrations or whatever.
5. Be an NFL Agent
This would be an entirely new mode offered in Madden so this idea is very raw. It might sound unnecessary but as someone who is an Accounting major, I think it would offer a whole new mode for players. You create an agent and can either join an industry or just fly solo on your own. As you move on, you contact players about representing them during contract negotiations and trades. Assuming your created Agent does well, you then have the chance to sign new clients as the years progress. It would be a huge overhaul in terms of adding a new mode, but personally, I think with it being new, people would at least give it a try. New modes are always worth a try, especially when you’ve been running the same thing year after year.
All in all, Madden 17 is a decent game, but I do believe my ideas, if EA ever came across them, could make 18 the most in depth and comprehensive game ever made. Something has to be done to get the excitement back in Madden and I hope it’s done sooner rather than later.