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EA Doesn’t Care About Franchise, Why Should You?

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If you happened to miss the update about all of the features added to the newly renamed “Classic Franchise” mode, you can find those here. If you’re struggling to find these additions that may be due to the update being relegated to eight bullet points at the bottom of the page. I kid you not, eight bullet points.

Being the forgotten piece of Madden isn’t anything new for fans of Franchise mode. What is unique about today is how brazen they were in how they went about telling the community they do not care about us. The crazy thing about this whole mess is that I’m not mad. No, I’m just sad. I’m sad that EA has made it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that they simply do not care about me, you, or the longtime franchise community as a whole.

A Disconnect With Their Customers

In April of last year, Mike Young, Madden Creative Director, did an interview with Game Informer where he stated that they were “Recommitting” to franchise mode in Madden 20. At the time many people in the franchise community saw this as a major victory. For once it seemed franchise mode had found a high-level champion inside EA. Fast forward to Madden 20’s release and franchise mode seemed to still be lacking in so many ways. Where was that re-commitment we had heard about from Michael Young a few short months before? At the time I’m not sure anyone realized it, but that commitment wasn’t to what is now known as “Classic Franchise” but rather to their story-driven Face of the Franchise mode.

Now sitting here a year later it has never been clearer that the name change was no accident. The addition of “Classic” to the name is a statement that the mode many of us love has been sunsetted, at least in the minds of EA. The commitment now is on Face of the Franchise, but one must wonder why? What does EA hope to achieve by focusing on a single-player mode in a world of interconnected playing? It would seem Longshot should have shown that these modes have little to no staying power, but it seems they didn’t actually learn anything at all.

Where to Place the Blame?

In hindsight, there were plenty of signs we were heading towards this inevitability. Us players never really had a chance to stop this as much as we’d like to think we could. People have wanted, and tried, to boycott Madden for years but those attempts always proved futile in the grand scheme of their revenue juggernaut. Game Changers are often an easy target for the community to point at, however, countless members of the group have been vocal in their disgust of the current state of the mode. The NFL just re-upped their simulation exclusivity license with EA, but I’m not sure I can really blame them when EA is showing them nothing but positive returns.

Madden 21 Franchise Mode
The Madden Franchise progression system has remained largely the same over (Image: Madden 20)

Where does that leave us? That leaves us with the developers, but not the front line guys you probably can name off the top of your head. While it’s true that these are the guys making the game, those larger picture decisions are getting made higher than guys we see interacting with the community. These decisions are directly tied to guys like Young  and Seann Graddy, the Creative Director and Executive Producer, respectively. These are the people at the levels who can make a change, and these are the people who deserve the ire of the community if you were to pick anyone.

The Dream is Dead

Many are angry, or sad, or a whole host of emotions after the news today, which is perfectly understandable at this point. We feel these emotions because we care about the game we play. As a long time and avid fan of franchise mode I have been a good soldier patiently waiting for our time in the sun, but it appears that time is never coming. Some will say “just walk away” but for many of us inside the franchise community, things aren’t that simple.

Madden 20 Madden Share
The title has alternated between Gameplay or Franchise Improvements from year to year (Image: Madden 20)

For some of us, franchise mode gave us a community of people like ourselves that bonded over a common dream. A dream had by people who loved the NFL, but knew they realistically never had any chance of being in it.  It gave us a chance to take our teams, some which are historically poorly ran, and turn them into champions.

That dream we all shared has today been deemed expendable by EA. Like most things in our society, the unquenchable thirst for profits has trumped all else. We are no longer the franchise community, we are the disenfranchised community. We are the forgotten, and possibly soon to be extent community.

As I weigh the decision of if I should spend any more time, energy, or money on Madden, I keep coming back to the same question: If EA does not care about franchise mode, why should I?

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