Madden NFL 22’s franchise mode has received a lot of negativity since launch, and rightfully so. This isn’t saying the mode is completely bad. However, it is a testament to the amount of bugs in the mode. While what the community wants varies, it all points to fixing glaring issues with Madden franchise mode. Long term issues have diminished the mode’s playability, with play engagement at an all time low. It appears to be even lower than when #fixmaddenfranchise trend on social media.
A Look at Madden 22 Franchise Mode Shortcomings
Anticipation for Madden 22 ran high up until launch. Many consumers considered it to be the first step towards a bright future for the franchise. Instead, the state of franchise mode has many people, including a Madden community server owner on Discord, Jerrod Born, saying “It’s the worst Madden ever.” While he doesn’t speak for everyone, many across other platforms share the same sentiment.
Now, the game isn’t completely bad. Madden 22 does have some enjoyable things. Most of which pertain to Madden Ultimate Team (MUT). MUT, as we know, is the biggest fiscal funnel for this particular game, which alludes to the amount of effort and time given to that mode, which makes it enjoyable. Now, think of that, but in reverse terms and you have your reasoning for the state of franchise mode. We won’t say that’s the definitive reason, but it is a probable option, being that money normally equates to quality in the business world. So, lack of money coming from franchise = low priority, which leads to the bugs, poor implement and an unenjoyable experience.
Executive Producer Sean Graddy sat down with IGN a few months ago to discuss the state of the game. During the interview, he had this to say about how they react to certain bugs.
“We will still treat them with a high importance and react as fast as we can, but they’re not impacting the millions of players that are playing our game. So I have to say that because, again, I just think the world we live in with social media makes it feel like any one-off bug that’s out there is happening to everybody.”
Many of those one-off bugs, this pertaining to franchise mostly, are being reported by hundreds and sometime thousands of consumers in Madden communities on discord. We interviewed a plethora of those members and server owners to gather their thoughts on the state of franchise mode. The responses were almost all negative. The main thing the community believes developers aren’t comprehending is that even though every consumer isn’t experiencing the same bugs, these discord communities show that it’s more than a one-off.
They don’t hate the game. They don’t even want a perfect game. What the communities we sat down with seem to care about is playability hindering issues. Those issues, as we mentioned earlier, directly affect ones ability to enjoy the mode. Franchise mode doesn’t need to be perfect, nor does every voice need to be heard. What the mode needs to be, is enjoyable for most and that is what franchise mode doesn’t do.
Throughout this article you will read about the most prominent bugs affecting franchise. You will also read direct quotes from the very consumers these bugs are impacting, which is more than what Sean Graddy and his team are aware of.
I just think the world we live in with social media makes it feel like any one-off bug that’s out there is happening to everybody.
The State of Franchise Mode
Now, we’ve mentioned that franchise mode has an abundance of issues, so now let’s explain what they are. These bugs and visual glitches go beyond “volleyball animations,” and “players from the bench running onto the field to make a tackle.” While those are game hindering issues, the bugs we speak of are more extreme.
The Draft Loop Bug
Also known as “the draft glitch,” this can occur in various ways. It can come from a non league owner beginning the draft, a draft being started and then paused(slug draft), and it can even even just happen. The effect of this, is that once the draft concludes and you advance to any week, the franchise hub menu will still show “draft board.” This, more often than not, effectively corrupts the league and the only fix is deletion. Now we asked a very large CFM(connected franchise mode) server on discord, CFM Network, their thoughts on this glitch. The responses were, let’s say very demeaning. One of the members said, “the consumers opinion is supposed to matter to a company, and the developers say that they hear us, but it’s not reciprocated in the mode.” This further shows that the community believes they are unheard.
One member, Rev, a former college marketing representative for EA, had this to say: “this is the biggest mess we have ever had! Late start, and now leagues are dying. I can also confirm that they have no idea what is causing the draft glitch.” That is such a powerful statement from Rev, and most of the community shows no disagreements. The state of the game is horrendous and with this bug you just have to “get to week 1 and pray.” Which is ridiculous that a game of this magnitude and popularity, has a mode that forces it’s users to basically hope the mode works.
31 team Bug
The 31 team bug prevents a league from reaching it’s max capacity with 32 users. For the majority of franchise players it prevents a full league. The big deal about this bug, is that you cannot have a full league, often resulting in that team being vacated. This is something that you can “get over,” and isn’t league ending, but there have been reports of that vacated team glitching.
The vacated team has made playoffs, even reported with an 0-17 record, over teams that were user controlled. There have also been instances where force losses don’t set for that vacated team, meaning they beat user controlled teams in a simulation.
There is one rumored fix discovered by the franchise community we spoke to. Switch your league coach restrictions to the opposite setting, log out, log in and then switch them back. This has been rumored to work by many people, including 40 Lohh, owner of the Maddenverse community and well known madden league, Gridiron Generals, which has been home to many big names including Quinn Cook, NBA player.
More Glitches and Bugs
While the draft loop and 31 man bugs are the most known franchise issues, there are more. There is an abundance of “smaller” bugs, that still hinder play-ability.
One of these bugs is QB development games are non existent on net-gen consoles. Franchise features a development feature, through “dev-up games,” which gives a certain player a scenario to produce certain stats in order to increase his development trait. This has been a feature for the last couple games, but this year they don’t seem to trigger for quarterbacks. It’s hindering the development process for rebuilding teams, and teams who have a raw product with low overall at the helm. The only way to receive a dev-up, is through end of season dev-ups, given by madden to players with top stats in their position.
Another bug that goes hand in hand with players with a superstar or higher development trait, is the one that doesn’t allow a player who hits 85 overall to receive their second ability. This bug isn’t an every time thing, but when it does happen there doesn’t seem to be a fix. Another hindrance to play-ability, exactly what madden players want.
If you are lucky enough to make it multiple seasons, managing your cap is very important. You guessed it though, there is a bug that affects another important facet of the mode. This issue is the rookie reserve bug. This bug prevents your teams rookie reserves from being automatically allocated, causing you to be able to burn through them. This creates upward of $10mil in funds being gone from your cap. Which, over time, prevents you from re signing that one superstar, bidding on your missing piece and is a huge hinder to how cap space works.
The Bottom Line
Madden has become a copy and paste video game. Which isn’t specifically a negative statement. They have a lot that they should copy year to year, so it does make sense. This year, though, the developers promised new features and big changes to franchise mode. While they did deliver on part of their franchise haul, the bugs in the mode take the shine away from the changes.
One of the biggest features that was added to franchise mode, the new scouting system, was highly anticipated. It is a major part of the overhaul plan from EA to the game mode. It has met a lot of mix reviews, but in the grand scheme it is what the community wants. This feature is not perfect and it does require some changes in Madden 23, but the effort is there. They listened when the community asked for new features and updates, so here is hoping they are listening now.
The community has revolted over and over. They have voiced their concerns on Twitter, email, and public forums, yet still go unheard. Now, we understand this game is on a yearly production contract. This means it must be released on a yearly basis, giving quick turnarounds to produce things like rookies, face scans, and new features. With that said, they’ve put in a lot of work. They have improved the game tremendously, but they still aren’t quite listening. This is attributed to the fact there is no direct contact to them, so people can’t jointly express concerns.
The biggest outlet they, as consumers, use is Twitter. Now, by using Twitter, it becomes increasingly harder to be heard. Twitter replies get buried and written off. They are all individual tweets, and not a joint representation. This causes them to be written off as “one-off” bugs.
Graddy also mentioned in they same interview with IGN, they are watching what the FIFA team is doing. He said, “they’ve got a QR code and a Trello.,” which they are keeping an eye on. He went on to say that this could potentially lead to the Madden team adopting something similar. Whatever it is they decide to do, the community needs something.
One of the community servers on discord, CFM Network, even has a dedicated channel to keep users up to date on the games bugs and glitches. This channel is labeled “broken,” which is a perfect representation of the mode as a whole. Madden 22 franchise mode features tons of bugs and glitches. Beyond the aforementioned broken things, the split of the game is also broken. They put so many resources into MUT and other modes, while franchise sits on the back burner and spoils.
Owner of Madden Core, another community server dedicated to franchise mode, Nick, had this to say when asked about the state of the game; “EA produces the same broken game every year and seems to have no desire to fix it.” When asking other community members why they think that is, they identified the problem as “because we still buy it.”
The community buys this game every year and it’s for one reason: they enjoy the sport of football. They enjoy being able to throw passes with Aaron Rodgers. They enjoy being able to run the ball with Derrick Henry. Franchise mode is only enjoyable because they enjoy using the NFL players we watch on Sundays. So they continue to play a lackluster mode. They continue to lay false hope in the development team at Electronic Arts. The franchise community deserves better, because through all the complaints and bugs, they stay loyal. They stay loyal, because they love football, but they do not love Madden NFL *enter year here* franchise mode.
What are your thoughts on the state of Madden’s Franchise Mode? Let us know in the comment section below, and take the conversation further in the official SGO Discord Server.