Madden NFL 18 Gameplay Designer Clint Oldenburg joins us to answer all of your community questions about Franchise Mode.

What are some of the new features for CFM in Madden 18?

The first one I wanna call out Play Now Live or Live Seasons, is another term we use. They say what this is is the tip of the iceberg for live content coming into franchise mode. And how this works is your favorite teams once the NFL season gets started you can go in and start your franchise via a play now game at any point in the season and you’ll start with all of the real-world stats and injuries and roster moves that have happened up until that point.

So let’s say you’re a Cowboys fan and they just came off a big win against the Redskins in week five and they’re 5-and-0 in the NFL. And you’re like “Man, I really wanna start my franchise with the Cowboys when they’re 5-and-0 when they’re coming off that big win.” You can go in, pick that game on the schedule, play the game, then right after the game is over, you launch right into Franchise. And it’s completely customizable how much or how little roster management and off-season stuff you want to do. So you can just play the games or you can have everything you’ve been accustomed to in Franchise mode.

Is there Franchise specific commentary in Madden 18?

Absolutely. As you mentioned, last year, we did the weekly commentary updates, and most of that content was being used for online play and Play Now. This year that weekly commentary update is going for Franchise mode. So you’re getting all that new stuff in Franchise mode that’s references both things that going on in your franchise and things that are going on in the real world at that time.

Can you ever see you guys adding something in like year-to-year saves like MLB The Show where you continue your franchise into the next year?

We’ve talked about it. It’s one of those things that comes up every year. And really what ends up being the end of that conversation is that people say “When I get the new game I don’t want to continue what I had last year, I want to start over.” And it’s tough to disagree with that. I’m not saying it’s a bad feature, and I’m not saying we’ll never have it, it’s just not a thing that we have right now.

In Madden 18 are you able to have a duel running back system that’s very common in the NFL today?

If that’s how you want to set your team up. We did take a look at the substitutions sliders, and those should be working better now. So if you want your team do to that you can just adjust your slider in the settings menu and they should be subbed in and out at whatever rate your choose.

What are some of your thoughts on bringing some of the old CFM features back? 

Man I would love to. I would love to do that. My ideal version is NFL Head Coach. That was one of my favorite games. Anything from that game I’d love to bring over to franchise mode, and I think John White would too. John White is the Franchise lead designer. And I don’t want to speak for him, but I know he has great plans for that mode as well. And the future is bright. The milestone this year for Franchise mode with the Play Now seasons going into franchise and the commentaries. Like I said, it’s the tip of the iceberg for live content updates for Franchise. You’re going to see a lot of that as we move forward. Not only this year, but in the future.

Are you able to play in the Pro Bowl this year? If not then why?

Well, the simple answer is graphics memory. The reason the Pro Bowl is not available in Madden is because when we load in helmets for all 32 teams plus the Pro Bowl uniform we run out of graphics memory. Because each individual asset that we load into game takes up graphics memory for that section, and we don’t have capacity for 32 NFL helmets on the current consoles. 

As far as AI, what kind of changes have you made? 

Our man Anthony White, he was a product owner this year for late game AI, and he went through and did a lot of tuning passes that make the AI play not only correctly in late-game situations but also play more to the identity of the team. So a run-heavy team is going to run the ball more, and a pass-heavy team is going to pass more. You’re going to see that reflected in the players on that team. He’s actually working on that right now. The late-game AI is a work in progress, but it is one of the things we tackled.

Any update to Playbooks in Madden 18?

Yeah, Adub, again, he’s our playbook guru. And we updated all the offensive playbooks in the game this year. Added a lot of new plays. Again, what we wanted to do is give you guys the variety to want to use every team’s playbook because they have a unique identity with that team. And I think you’re gonna see that.

For example, you’re gonna see the Emory Henry formation with the linemen out wide by the wide receivers in the Bangles playbook. You’ve got a lot of new plays like Twenty-Six Duo in the Bills playbook. I think it’s going to make a lot of variety for you guys. You’re going to see guys online and in the competitive not always using the playbook every time. We’re really excited about that.

Is the draft board in CFM this year? It’s one of the most requested features.

Yes it is. It’s one of the big things we got for the franchise side of the building. You do have a draft board, and you can customize it however you want. And if you’re not able to make the live draft, then it will simulate off your draft board and draft the guys you have ranked on there.

For our off-line franchise guys, what sort of things can they look forward to this year? 

If you have an off-line franchise, you can still connect online and get those live updates for yours. So you’re getting the same feature set. Another Franchise feature is coach adjustments. I know coach adjustments is available in all other modes, but coach adjustments was really targeted for the franchise guys. Within that, you have best-on-best. Wide-receiver, DB matchups. I know that’s something you guys have been asking for for quite a while. So those are Franchise features, even though they’re available in the whole game.

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Jesse Galena
As a fan of spectacle in all forms, Jesse Galena particularly enjoys MMA, eSports, as well as professional and indie wrestling. Jesse’s always excited to try any sports game that leans toward the bizarre or unconventional, though nothing can replace a well-executed classic. Outside of video games, Jesse enjoys playing ridiculous table top RPGs, watching standup comedy, and losing at board games. He also writes fantasy/sci-fi novels and RPG material.