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Gridiron Notes: Franchise Updates Coming to Madden 21 & 22

4836 posts EA Community Manager
edited September 2020

An update from Executive Producer Seann Graddy on Franchise Mode.

Hey Franchise Fans

It’s been about four weeks since we last spoke and we wanted to share some of the progress and the path forward for Franchise improvements.

There are four key things we’d like to update you on regarding Franchise mode in Madden NFL:
  • Our Franchise team
  • Madden as a live service
  • High-level Franchise commitments in Madden 21 and 22
  • Your involvement as the community

Our Franchise team
As we said in our video update in July, to better deliver on community feedback, we are reshaping our Franchise team to increase our focus specifically on the direction described ahead. We are making changes, including dedicating a higher percentage of team bandwidth, to deliver a greater investment in core Franchise features through Madden NFL 21 post launch support, Madden NFL 22 launch, and beyond.

We are passionate Franchise fans, just like you and we’re placing some of our most-passionate Franchise voices to lead the creative path forward.

Madden as a live service
We operate Madden NFL as a true live service. That means that we deliver content, features, heck even new modes sometimes (ie: Superstar KO) throughout the year. In Madden NFL 20 post launch updates, you saw new X-Factors and Superstar Abilities, a new Mode in Superstar KO, new house rules and playbook challenges in H2H Seasons, new scenarios in Franchise, evolving celebrities and teams in Superstar KO, weekly commentary updates, weekly roster changes and of course the massive amount of ever-evolving content you’ve come to expect in Madden Ultimate Team.

The game you buy on launch day is only the beginning of the annual Madden NFL 21 journey. Our commitment to you is to deliver meaningful change to the game throughout the year. In Madden NFL 21, we’ll expand our dedicated live service team to allow for more focused delivery of Franchise improvements based on your feedback, while continuing to evolve the broader game for our wide cross-section of Madden fans.

Our current plan is to deliver the Madden 21 updates in two or three title updates over the course of the coming months.

High-level Franchise commitments in Madden NFL 21 and Madden NFL 22
So, to that end, we’re sharing with you some of the areas in Franchise we’ll target both in our live service in Madden NFL 21 and next year for Madden NFL 22. We have to first acknowledge that this work requires a lot of planning. So, while we can’t commit to an exact timeline right now, we can share areas where we are targeting meaningful change in Madden 21 and beyond. We are targeting these based on your feedback from our social channels, our game changer program, and how we see you playing our game.
MADDEN NFL 21 - Post Launch Support
Based on community feedback (subject to change)

With each update, this list may shift as our plans for M21 and M22 come more into focus. We will share with the community as the list evolves.
  • TUNING - Improved progression and regression of players. Improve core player progression into the future such that X-Factors and other abilities for older players work well with incoming rookie classes.
  • COMMISSIONER TOOLS - See a more detailed summary below.
  • AI PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT - The AI will make better team management decisions in the draft, free agency and trades.
  • PLAYOFF and SUPER BOWL PRESENTATION - Improve and refresh.
  • X-FACTOR / SUPERSTAR ABILITY CUSTOMIZATION - Introduce the ability to customize X-Factor and Abilities on all players, allowing you to customize your roster as you see fit.
  • CAREERS STATS UI - Improved UI showing historical player performances. More immersion and depth on how players have progressed in your Franchise.
  • TRADE LOGIC - More fidelity, depth, and authenticity.
  • RETIREMENT UI - Better insight into retirements each season to allow players to react/manage.
  • PLAYOFFS UPDATE - Add an authentic playoff bracket screen to see who’s in, who’s won and who’s up next

Commissioner tools is a large bucket of items with a lot of opportunities and a lot of work. We see this as something we’ll continue to work on to give you more control over your Franchise in the year(s) ahead. For Madden NFL 21 and 22 we are looking at the following tools:

Commissioner Tools Priority Ranking
  1. Ability to undo transactions, reducing friction and control over player movement contracts and trades.
  2. Ability to approve trades.
  3. Ability to reset a game in case of a disconnect.

For Madden NFL 22 it is still very early. We are at the very beginning of the planning and pre-production of next year’s product. That said, we’ve been actively discussing some of the areas we’d like to focus on, stemming from your feedback and player engagement. Here are few of the areas, while not fully committed yet, we are exploring creatively:
  • Coaching and staff management
  • Scouting improvements
  • New scenario engine enhancements
  • New team chemistry system
  • Commissioner Tools improvements
  • MORE CONTENT - Examples: Relocation/Branding Assets for Franchise - New uniforms, names, and logos to relocation options for more variety and depth in deeper careers.
Plus other key additions that we’ll reveal as we get deeper into the year for Madden NFL 22 development season.

Your involvement as the Community
So that is where we are at. There is still a lot of work to be done here and these things will take time. The target time frame for our next communication update is just before the NFL Season kickoff in early September, where we hope to share more specifically the roadmap for projected improvements for future title updates.

The last thing to cover is how you, as the community can stay involved.

During the Madden NFL 21 Closed Beta the team utilized a feedback platform called Madden Voice. This is an online forum where community members are able to share feedback and upvote priority topics that our teams are able to review, investigate and identify the best way to address them. Not only is it important that we collect your feedback, it’s important in how we communicate to you about new features and updates coming to our game. We look at every new feature reveal and live service update in the following way:
  • New feature reveal
  • Gather community feedback
  • Analyze and evaluate feedback
  • Make adjustments and share plans when possible

We look forward to the start of the Madden NFL 21 season on August 28! We will have more updates on the Madden Voice platform closer to launch.

As always, Thank you for your passion and feedback for Madden NFL.


Madden NFL Team

Post edited by EA_Blueberry on


    Time to bring back Jim Nantz or Joe Buck !! Whatever you do don’t bring Romo!!
  • We Need some of the things you said and I don't think it can be done in Madden 21 and therefore I don't plan on buying Madden 21. As far as in the future improved scouting needs to be more in depth with pro days, College production such as stats, Combine results that I can filter, combine drill results such as the passing portion, pro day drill results and the ability to send scouts to select pro days. better draft coverage and post draft grades by analysts. More of a fog of war around rookies and their development so we don't know about a player until they hit the field. Practices should be more than the simple little drills we run. if you look at 2k5 they had you picking what drills and laying out your practice every day leading up to the game. I like that method of practice because it's more realistic. Player development isn't realistic and part of that is unrealistic and too easy of game-play. A better coach mode like that in NFL head coach would go along way toward fixing these problems. Create-A-Play, I know it can be difficult to balance game-play when some wacky plays are thrown in but it can really spice things up. Scouting your next opponent and seeing what plays they run a lot along with their audibles and hot routes they run would be great. Better man coverage where if the player runs the same routes the corners recognize them more and break on the routes, better double moves could be the counter to those breaking corners. coaching staffs that are in depth and provide something and have their own schemes and fits. There's a lot here and I have a lot more but just trying to replicate the actual NFL process and Season will go a long way.
  • wisepegasus9585
    12 posts Member
    edited August 2020
    5 things

    -Please look at Draftboards. They are broken for fantasy and rookie drafts.
    - Please let us edit the text in News posts. The text doesn't always fit the picture.
    - Most of us want the option for play cool downs in Franchise mode. (All the past houserules for that matter.)
    - Please add option to toggle injuries off and on in the companion app
    - Online Practice Scrimmages for our franchise teams.
    Post edited by wisepegasus9585 on
  • 2 Things -

    1...Allow depth chart and/or substitution package off/def position flexibility
    - ie: let defensive players play off and offense players on def - at least in special/sub packages
    let a DB be the slot WR or 3dwn RB etc
    Let a HB or WR play Slot corner or safety
    It’s fun why not? Let us go Ironman if we want to with a created player.

    2...Track all Stats for all players in all categories whether they are O or D players shouldn’t matter and is not realistic in the NFL. If a TE makes a tackle or forces a fumble on kickoff..it’s tracked
    If a Safety Or Corner scores a TD on a punt fake..it’s tracked. (I know..rare).

    Just track all stats because they are tracked across all positions in the NFL.
  • Thank you for addressing the concerns of the community and making a commitment to the franchise game mode. I have some suggestions that are easy to implement that can be valuable for Madden 21 and room for growth into 22 and beyond.

    1. For Madden 21, please add the option to REVEAL/HIDE the OVERALL rating for online and offline CFM. It literally changes nothing from a gameplay standpoint, but it adds a significant level of strategy to roster building. It makes the user have to rely on the individual skill ratings and statistics to determine their value to a team.

    2. For Madden 22, in conjunction with the proposed improved coaching staff management and improved scouting, make ratings an imperfect letter grade (A+, A-, B+, etc...) that can vary based on the skill level of you scouts. And with that said, separate pro scouts (your team, opponents, free agency) and college scouts (upcoming draft) as part of the staff. This will also be important to evaluate players based on chemistry, too.

    3. For Madden 22, in regards to player archetypes, keep expanding this. It is good to see Madden making strides in this, but the badges system and primary/secondary positions in the NBA2k series makes players feel unique. This will also allow for better AI team management for depth chart edge rushers, slot receivers, three-down backs (sorry to the Darren Sproles types of RBs, no more 16 starts and 30 carries a game) and special teams specialists (long-snapper, gunners, etc).


    Now for my requests that probably won't get a lot of support:

    4. Adust how the overall rating is calculated for players in comparison to the best players in the history of the sport. Rank and grade all the Hall of Fame players like Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, and Deion Sanders at 99, then adjust current players to match these greats. Adjust speed to compare to the fastest athletes of all time like Darrell Green, Bob Hayes, and Bo Jackson. Perrenial All-Pros can still be listed in the 90s, but fringe pro-bowlers should be in the low 80s at best. The best teams of all time would probably have 10 or fewer players above an 80, so current non-contending teams should be about 5 or so.

    5. If you expand the player archetypes to include badges similar to NBA2k (where some players can have 40+ badges at 4 levels of proficiency), then you can drop the arcade-like X-Factor. This will allow you to bring back the overall potential rating. If you can, add different values to different archetypes. For example: In the same draft you had Luck, RGIII, and Russell Wilson; all of whom are athletic and can scramble. If you try to upgrade an RGIII to a pocket QB, you'll only get so far, but Luck and Russell Wilson can improve far greater.

    Those are my thoughts, I hope this helps.
  • Jayrah
    1 posts New member
    To the MADDEN DEV TEAM, very appreciative of the effort here to #FixMaddenFranchise. It's still well short of expectation when compared to other sports titles but... BUT, a super step in the right direction, especially coming off of putting no resources into the mode. Core franchise is the backbone of this game and always has been.

    If I could, I'd like to add two franchise ideas that I believe could be accomplished in relative time with the M21 updates and would help tremendously with immersion, instantly adding incredible buy and replay value to all future Madden titles. Again, thank you for your rededication to core franchise!

    1: Defensive/Offensive Terminology, Scheme and Position Updates

    This would be HUGE for the game and could easily be integrated with a "Live Playbooks" update, as it requires all-encompassing changes to the position archetypes, as well as new formations and schematic game mechanics. Important to note that all of the traditional positions still exist and that there was an attempt to get some of these into the game via the expanded depth charts in '19. But they need to be fully and better integrated.


    A) Specific designation to "EDGE" defender archetypes, currently in-game as "Speed/Power Rusher". This needs to be better integrated into 3-4 schemes or any scheme that specifically uses 3-down linemen and walks or stands an "EDGE" rusher up as a designated pass rusher.

    - Create "Edge or Speed Nickel" and "Edge or Speed Dime" formations. These forms do not have to change a thing from Base Nickel/Dime this year from a plays perspective (probably would want to do some varying of the actual playbook in the future). Their main purpose is to differ the way the designated "EDGE" defender stands and reacts from a 2-pt stance, rather than the 3-point stance.

    - In addition the playbook should reflect that you are using an "EDGE" defender and also properly label the defender within the scheme and depth chart.

    - These defenders must also reflect in their ratings that they are "Hybrid" pass rushers, as opposed to OLB's, which are generally more zone-oriented, run-stopper types.

    - Similarly, DT's and Nose Tackles are different and should reflect that way in specific schemes and playbooks, as well as their ratings and player archetypes.

    ** Note that DL archetypes need to be split and expanded to DE archetypes (EDGE Speed, EDGE Power, Speed Rush, Power Rush, Run Stopper) and DT archetypes (Nose (gap stuffer), Pass Rush, Run Stopper).

    C) Specific designation for Weakside Linebacker (WIL) and Strong Side Linebacker (SAM) for player type and 4-3 specific schemes.

    D) Probably the easiest undertaking, which is specific designation for WR1, WR2 and WR3 in full depth chart. Take the "slot WR" designation away, as WR3 substitutes.

    E) Specific player types and designation for Long Snappers. Also additional (and separate) 'snapper' ratings for both traditional Centers and Long Snappers. Obviously a gameplay mechanic involving bad snaps would have to be introduced as well to make this a meaningful change, making this more of a future '22 or 23' endeavor.

    ** Note that in Madden '22 all of these changes above are paramount to differentiate players/schemes and not having the right players in the right scheme should have massive and direct impact on the new Team Chemistry System.

    2: Custom Schedules

    Pretty straight forward here but full custom schedules need to be added and need to be available upon entering a new franchise. Right now every time you start a franchise you have to start with the schedule from the current season, which makes it very annoying if you want to play in multiple leagues or restart with updated rosters.
  • I appreciate this is finally getting some attention, but I find it subpar that these notes go on and on about being a "live service" just to tell us most updates worth mentioning are coming in M22...when this year is unique in that there's a next-gen release of the game in November.

    In particular, how hard can it be to enhance scenarios or add to them in M21? What kind of live service can't code some additional interactions and text? We have to have the same old scenarios all of M21 that we had in M20? This is the type of inaction that got you guys to this point in the first place.

    Branding and assets -- are you kidding? MUT gets new uniforms what feels like every update, Superstar KO came with new uniforms as well -- you can't work this into a M21 update or the next-gen release??

    Now, here are some additional things I'd like to add input on:
    1. Superbowl/in-game presentation - You have an opportunity to make this awesome by making the experience unique. Add lots of different celebrations, animations, etc. Make this a spectacle more than he first time it happens. Take this mentality into games, really utilize the new processing power of next-gen consoles.
    2. Draft/Scouting - I'm glad to hear scouting will be upgraded. IMO the biggest pitfall is it's not clear who the best players are considered. If you scout sometimes 10-15 players are "early first round" when if we look at years past, generally we know the consensus on the top 3 to 5 players. Maybe some mock drafts by "experts," maybe some college game film as part of the process, etc. -- something needs to happen to help guide scouting if you have a very high pick.
    3. Regression - One thing that happens in a lot of CFM with 32 users is many teams end up being 88+ OVR. If at launch, there are very few teams to sniff 85+, shouldn't it always be that way?
    4. Pro Scouting - A feature I really hope you borrow from the NHL series, I hope you have to hire pro and amateur scouts. Point of the pro scouts? It's not exactly clear what the ratings are of your opponents players without some scouting, and sometimes your own players ratings aren't revealed until a few games played.
    5. Injuries - These need to have more balance and make way more sense. You also need to be able to drop injured players.
    6. Fixed sub in/out - I've tried tweaking these a lot and never seems to reflect what I want when I'm playing the games.

  • ywill14
    1 posts New member
    I have been playing Madden for close to 30 years. 3......0. I was excited when EA obtained the exclusive rights to the NFL license many years ago b/c I'd always been an "EA guy." Never played the 2k NFL titles b/c I was an "EA guy."

    EA Sports has an exclusive license on "simulation" video game football but what EA keeps putting out year after year gets further and further away from simulation. I want someone at EA to explain to me and the Madden community what is the point of having the exclusive rights to "simulation" NFL football if all you care about is absurd modes like MUT, The Yard and Superstar KO. Franchise mode, which is and always has been the core of the Madden series, has been dumped on for nearly 15 years now. Not to mention, Face of the Franchise IS NOT FRANCHISE.

    I can honestly say that I will not be purchasing Madden 21 and may not purchase another until something substantial is done to address the many requests (most of which were in previous titles or are in other, non-Sim modes) by the Madden team. And, by address, I don't mean a "grid iron update" or meaningless 1 minute video talking about plans you're not really committed to. The fact the NCAA Football is STILL head and shoulders about Madden in an immersion and simulation standpoint is staggering considering that game ended in 2014.

    EA should be embarrassed that something like #fixmaddenfranchise even had to be created. It's shameful that the company that used to produce THE NFL game has lost it's way and now cares only about micro transactions and arcade style garbage. Give up the sim license and focus on arcade. At least then you'd be honest and admit your intentions. Let 2k buy the sim license and give the consumer the franchise experience EA used to care about.
  • Transactions is ruining sports games
  • ski_gold
    1 posts New member
    Look at Madden 05 and build off that EA. Also can we get unique contracts? Control over play incentives? A senior bowl and combine look in for scouting? Go in depth on the rookie stories if they are going to take up a tab on the newspaper section. Having an actual training camp! Also have fan reactions on how players are playing and coaches are coaching. And if there’s going to be a halftime show... why not show highlights from other games? Even if it’s only stills from a lack of capability, just to make it feel like your game is part of a bigger league. FIFA in game goal alerts are more immersive than Madden’s full halftime show. Also coaches and general manager chemistry! Certain coaches wouldn’t work with certain coaches and certain GMs ask for more with GMs they aren’t comfortable with. And one gameplay gripe... atmosphere. No reason playing a 12-3 Steelers team on the road in week 17 have the same intensity as playing a 0-11 Jaguars team (I’ve done it and was annoying)
    Can we also design a stadium? So-Fi stadium is a modern marvel, I’m a architect and urban planner (I design streets) I would love a tool on the PC or console to design a stadium with thousands of options. Also, it’s too easy to create a new stadium or relocate if you’re an owner. I understand the ease of use for players, but moving Tampa Bay Bucs over to San Antonio is incredibly easy. I think it takes less than 10 buttons. There’s no city negotiations on the stadium, no vote by the league owners, only one year of relocation, no change to future super bowl sites, no media and fan backlash. No divisional realignment. Just a few buttons to turn the Dallas Cowboys to the Sacramento Miners in the NFC West.
  • micro transaction have ruin all sports games. EA have lost there way the lack of communcation to there customers is sooo disrespectful that they have to block people on twitter because they dont want to hear the truth instead of taking feed back and improving the game meaning add features to franchise mode and quit with this micro transaction it needs to be taking out of madden and other sports games. im ok with mut being in madden has long it is rewarding mean u go in the mode and grind for it instead of buying coins ur mut packs i played the ps2 version of madden when i was 9 and i loved it the when it got to madden 13 my love for madden went away because they took every features out of franchise mode and the gameplay is stale and unrealistic soo much bugs and glitches that its unplayable at times the lack of effert that goes into madden is wrong ea needs have a reboot year and fix there games before relesing them look what 2k is doing with there wwe2k games they had a horrbile launch that this year it was a reboot year and they are making plans to fix it in 2021 EA needs to do the same thing take a year off focus on learning how to respond to customers feed back and learn not to block them but to talk to them on fixes that they can improve i wish EA takes transactions out of madden and fix there games
  • Madden NEEDS TO update its franchise mode with simple integrations from The Yard and Face of the Franchise. Add the equipment from the Yard (mouth pieces, cleats, sleeves, gloves). Create a player from The Yard and Face of the Franchise should be in the regular simulation game (Franchise)as well and not these generic faces that repeat on every team for the past 4 years. Every other sports game allows you to fully create a players face but Madden only allows it for these 2 platforms. Add a modified combine and Draft to Franchise mode. Home field should have its advantages like in real life, especially during the playoffs. A alternate broadcasting crew to keep the commentary fresh. Madden suffers from the same guys saying the same thing every year. Player likeness needs to be addressed as well!!! Too many triplets running around on the same team. If anything allow someone to MOD the likeness of players like they do on PC.
  • All EA cares about is making loads of money. Making money is great but only making money with no quality in the product.......is predatory. Madden is a lazy evil empire.
  • EA is short sighted. They think them being lazy and sucking won't catch up to them. Eventually it will, in the long run. Going to be hard to un F what you F'd up for years. Pathetic.
  • Hello am starting league should I hope some of these commissioner tools will be released soon?
  • Tony Bruno Radio Show.
  • An actual name library.
  • Never say “the player” or number whatever. Say the players name. Even if it’s just the last name.
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