After EA’s less than thrilling classic Madden 21 franchise mode update list yesterday, and the ensuing fallout, I have set out to find a solution. While it’s too late in the development process to try and rush a major mechanic into the game before release. I am going to detail five smaller changes that could be added to update franchise mode and potentially salvage the cycle. I need to preface this with one important note, I am not a developer. This is just an outsider looking in at some potential low hanging fruit that could be thrown franchise mode’s way.

The rules of the list are pretty simple, especially because I just made them up. The changes have to be something that realistically could make it in by release, or at least in an early patch. Any major system overhauls or new mechanics are out at this point. The changes can’t require a lot of new user interfaces as I have been told by developers these actually require a lot of work to get into the game. Finally, the changes need to add some sort of depth to the mode that has been lacking.

Updated historical stat tracking

The Feature

This may sound boring to some but for a lot of people, it has been a long-standing pain point to not be able to see the history of your own league. Things like past Super Bowl winners, individual game logs for players, past teams a player played for, and, if you want to get really crazy, an injury history log. While this isn’t going to please everyone, some of the most hardcore of the franchise community have asked for this for years and it’s time to throw them a bone with Madden 21.

How to Get it Done

This one shouldn’t be too hard because there are no new user interfaces to worry about it is more so adding new pages to already established areas. You could put the game logs and the other player information under the player contract and details section when you click on a player. The Super Bowl history could be put in the stats and records section, again with no real user interface changes just adding another page to already established setups.

Madden 20 Scenario Engine

More disgruntled player scenarios

The Feature

We actually were told this was coming to the game last year but it never made it in. Things like a player demanding a trade, threatening to hold out, wanting a new contract, or a locker room’s reaction to a player demotion. These are the kind of depth additions that make going multiple seasons inside of franchise mode worthwhile.

How to Get it Done

These are simple dialog boxes on the frontend which make them easy in principle to add, but the mechanics on what happens with the choices are where it could get slightly more complicated. Take a player wanting a new contract, this could be triggered in the preseason for a player coming off a big year. The question is do you negotiate with the player, or do you choose not to negotiate?

If you choose to negotiate all this would do is populate them in the resign area when resigns open week 3. If you do choose to negotiate however it makes other players more likely to want to renegotiate, and or, impact morale of other players. On the other hand, if you tell them you won’t negotiate, the player could lose morale and refuse to resign in the future. While this is just an example of a way to approach one of these scenarios, the same idea applies to leverage current menus to add depth.

Longer draft board visibility

The Feature

This is a massive pet peeve of mine that I have struggled to understand for a couple of years now. After the draft board appears in week three, why does it ever go away until the draft? As it currently stands, it disappears for the playoffs and doesn’t reappear until free agency stage two! The idea we are supposed to bid on the most important round of free agents without knowing, or remembering, what the draft may hold at those positions is nuts.

How to Get it Done

This one is simple, don’t hide it in Madden 21! Once it opens, it stays open until the draft. You don’t even have to give additional scouting points during these weeks, just don’t hide it.

Hiding free agent bids

The Feature

This one would be universally hailed as a massive upgrade. Don’t get me wrong the entire system needs stripped down and rebuilt, but a simple change here could go a long way in making the community happy. The idea that a player can bid on a free agent and not only know exactly how he values the bid, but also see all other bids and how those are valued is nuts. This simply leads to people walking bids up until they are all but guaranteed to win the player.

How to Get it Done

A relatively simple fix, but impactful…just don’t show the bids! When a user bids on a player they place the bid and after the screen that used to give the score simply gives feedback that the bid is a competitive bid or not. Competitive could mean top bid, or it could mean within a certain percentage of the top bid. Once you get back to the free-agent screen all you see is the number of teams bidding, not who or the order in which the free agent values the bids. By doing this you add more strategy and excitement to a pretty mundane function of the mode.

In-franchise scrimmages

The Feature

I may be breaking my rules with this one as I don’t know the complexities of this to get it into Madden 21. Here is the thing, after your game is played each week and scouting and re-signings are done, you have no reason to be inside your franchise. For the online franchise community, the ability to be able to link up with other people inside your franchise and play practice games with them would be a huge deal for many. This one I think could be a total game-changer for the online franchise community.

How to Get it Done

This would be housed inside of the practice screen similar to the free practice is now. Where you normally choose normal/offense/special teams there would be “scrimmage”. When you click on scrimmage a selector pops up to choose your opponent. An invite would be sent and just like a normal game, it would be using the league settings with the game taking place on a practice field instead of a stadium.

What would you add?

These are my five quick changes to salvage franchise mode in Madden 21, what are yours? Let us know by tweeting @Sportsgamerson or @T4verts!