Madden NFL 12′s Franchise Mode Fully Detailed
EA Sports’ Madden NFL series has long been one of the most popular in video games. In fact a June 2008 article appearing in Forbes Magazine listed the Top 10 best selling video games to that date and the Madden NFL series took four of the ten spots (coming in at positions three, five, seven and ten. For those interested, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas snared the top spot). Since then every yearly iteration in the series has become a multi-million unit seller with the fan favourite Franchise Mode certainly acting as a driving force to that end. The Franchise Mode feature allows gamers to play through multiple seasons with a team while micro-managing specifics such as depth charts, player salaries and trades, concession prices and much more. Today EA Sports released full details on the new additions they have made to the ever popular feature.
The most lauded new franchise mode feature announced for Madden NFL 12 thus far goes by the moniker of ‘Dynamic Player Performance’ and will have a direct impact on player performance come virtual Sunday (Or virtual Monday Night. For that matter virtual Thursday and Saturday as well as the season progresses, but I digress). Each player will be assigned a ‘Consistency’ ranking and throughout the course of the season and their career this will affect their overall player rating. Senior Designer on Madden NFL 12 Josh Looman described the feature on the EA Sports Blog:
One week you might get the 90 overall Michael Vick and the next week you might get the 70 overall Michael Vick. Or you could just get the 80 overall Michael Vick.
If a player is very consistent, their ratings will only change slightly each week and you’ll typically always know what you’re getting (example: Peyton Manning or Tom Brady).
Tendency and trait progression will also allow some players to improve their consistency as their careers move forward providing a light at the end of the tunnel for teams (see: Carolina) who take a shot at a Quarter Back with a high upside (See: Cam Newton). In-game performance may also set players on a hot or cold streak for as many as three consecutive games, increasing or decreasing ratings respectively.
Other changes to the Franchise Mode revolve around roster management. Besides promised tweaks such as letting players edit the ratings of any player in the franchise, improvements to the player injury and rookie scouting systems and expanded pre-season rosters (now up to seventy-five players before regular season cuts) perhaps the most captivating new roster management feature is the reworked Free Agent Bidding. In fact the new process for landing those big off-season acquisitions is actually a throw back to the system used in EA’s doomed NFL spin-off NFL Head Coach 09. This year, players will need to remain alert and aware of their salary cap space as they navigate through an interactive bidding space with 31 other teams bidding against them in real time. Be too slow to pull the trigger on a deal and that All-Pro Left End will sign with a division rival and your Quarter Back will be none too happy. It may not be a ground breaking advancement but it does appear to be something fans of the series have been asking to return.
EA Sports is touting a plethora of other additions to this year’s game such as Coach impacts, reworked player award and retirement logic, fine tuned weather patterns and simulation stats as well as the ability to practice, trade future draft picks and even change teams every year if your fickle heart desires. However, it is another throwback feature that seems to have evoked the most interest from the devoted Madden community and this time it goes all the way back to the previous generation of consoles. That feature is Player Roles. This feature means that players on a team will be labelled with individual ‘Roles’, some good and some not quite as appealing. Examples given include a player with the role of ‘Mentor’ increasing the ratings of younger players on the team and a defender with the role of ‘Shutdown Corner’ not only seeing a boost to his own ratings but also a decrease to those of the opposing Quarter Back. There are meant to be in excess of twenty unique Player Roles in Madden NFL 12 ranging from ‘Fumble Prone’ or ‘Quarter Back of the Future’ to ‘Playoff Performer’ and ‘Franchise Quarter Back’. Be wary though, as these assigned roles are not to be taken for granted. Season performance will dictate if a player will retain or lose his Player Role going into the following year or even change from ‘Iron Man’ to ‘Injury Prone’.
The National Football League is currently in the midst of a player lockout, but still Electronic Arts has Madden NFL 12 slated for release on August 30th 2011 regardless of whether the actual NFL season moves forward or not. For many fans of the NFL the Madden game is the only sure gridiron fix coming in the immediate future, particularly since the current NFL lockout has forced the NFL to extend its exclusivity deal with EA through the 2012 season. Many football gamers were interested to see whether 2K Sports would be able to make a return to the video game football world after the 2011 season but now we’ll have to wait another year longer to see if that world will once again become a competitive environment or if EA Sports will ink a further extension to the arrangement.
Did EA add everything you were looking for in your franchise mode? Or are you still left wanting for further additions and/or improvements? Let us know and discuss in the comments below, and feel free to chime in with your thoughts on EA Sports’ exclusivity deal as we know the Madden vs 2K debate is still a hot topic even nearly seven years removed from 2K sports’ last NFL foray, ESPN NFL 2K5.