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Madden NFL 11 News Post


GameShark has posted an interview with Ian Cummings, Creative Director for Madden NFL 11.

Quote:
GameShark: "Can you go into some detail about the run blocking improvements? We saw holes develop at E3 we have never seen before in a Madden game? What was done to tweak this?"

Ian Cummings: "Going back to question #3, run blocking was also up there on that list. We were at this critical point where we could keep trying to cobble together delicate fixes on run blocking code that was extremely hard to tune, or decide to suck it up and spend the resources to basically scrap it and go with a new system that was built on real NFL blocking assignments (rather than a video-game version of run blocking assignments). The gameplay design team spent weeks just meeting with coaches on all the schemes and months watching film of both good and bad executions of each scheme to basically create a full design of how the AI and animation support needed to be, so that the engineers and animators could implement the feature. Iíve also attached a video that Mike Scantlebury, a gameplay designer, put together back in August of 2009 that was the first part of that design. He did some great work there to help the engineers visualize how the new rules should work when players succeeded or failed."

Game: Madden NFL 11Reader Score: 6/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS3 / Xbox 360Votes for game: 96 - View All
Madden NFL 11 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 rooney8 @ 07/30/10 11:59 AM
Quote:
Was the team surprised that Online Franchise mode was barely touched by the user base? Does that tell you guys that the mode itself needed to be better or that gamers just arenít that interested in playing Franchise modes online?
Great question. First, yes, we were totally shocked. Before Madden NFL 11, we primarily made design decisions based on our own gut feel, what we heard from reviewers, and what we heard from our community. Since online franchise was always the number one requested feature (from us internally as well as from everyone else), it was a real eye-opener to see such low usage and frankly, the possibility of how disconnected we possibly could have been from the majority of our audience.
As to what the actual data tells us, well itís a few things. We did know that our more hardcore gamers would be upset with some of the depth that wasnít there (i.e. a realistic free agency/salary cap structure), but we felt confident that the franchise experience was deep enough out of the box (15 years, custom draft classes, online support, injuries, trades, etc.) that we could add features in the future and work iteratively on the mode over time. All those plans changed though when we saw the usage. It was no longer an effective strategy to be spending a major amount of work on a feature that was barely getting used (FWIW online franchise development is also some of the most specialized and difficult engineering in our game). Iíve heard some people put out the theory that usage was low because of the missing features, but thatís not the case in my opinion. If you think about it, the critical time for the cap and free agency is obviously in the offseason, and only a small fraction of our online franchise gamers even made it through year 1 to that phase. Are players interested in playing Franchise modes online? Well, yes, some definitely are. I know I am, as are a lot of designers on the team. But how many are there of us? I am not totally sure. What I do know is that itís similar to the old hardcore Madden PC folks -- itís a relatively small sect of gamers (in comparison to the big picture of Madden sales), but they are definitely the loudest group.
I for one am really curious how NCAAís Online Dynasty numbers stack up this year, because they have an extremely rich feature-set out there with Dynasty Wire, recruiting, web-support, and the like. If they end up with big-time numbers, then weíd obviously re-evaluate our current thinking.

So franchise wasn't upgraded because not enough use it. I thought it was so important that they had a team in place to work on it for two years. And if it wasn't upgraded because not enough people are using it then why were we promised a great new franchise mode in Madden 12. It sounds like we will only get a new franchise mode in M12 if lots of people use online dynasty in ncaa.
 
# 2 ryan36 @ 07/30/10 12:03 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by rooney8
So franchise wasn't upgraded because not enough use it. I thought it was so important that they had a team in place to work on it for two years. And if it wasn't upgraded because not enough people are using it then why were we promised a great new franchise mode in Madden 12. It sounds like we will only get a new franchise mode in M12 if lots of people use online dynasty in ncaa.
ONLINE franchise man. And the thing is, unless you're part of a sports message board, can you imagine how hard it is logistically to get 31 of your closest classmates together to schedule an ONLINE franchise. The CPU would take over for any teams not user controlled, but still. And those same 31 people would have to have madden. I can't believe Ian didn't know it wasn't going to be used by most of his install base. Unless they move SINGLE PLAYER franchises online...he won't see more use. People are way too busy in many cases.
 
# 3 Danimal @ 07/30/10 12:04 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by rooney8
why were we promised a great new franchise mode in Madden 12.
I don't know where anyone was promised a franchise mode in M12. People are taking the posting by Phil in the way they want to hear it. All he said is they looked at it and it was going to take more then a year to fix.
 
# 4 ryan36 @ 07/30/10 12:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by metallicatz
I think what it points to is that the majority of franchise players are offline guys.....myself included. I play nothing but franchise mode, and I absolutely despise playing online.....unless I know the other guy.
This. Long term I think that by trying to get people like me online though, they see more recurring revenue streams, monthly subscription fees etc... but the problem is the online experience is still crap. It's just crap. I don't know if it's that users don't play like football, or the CPU doesn't play like football, but I hate the games.
 
# 5 GiantBlue76 @ 07/30/10 12:09 PM
So I have a couple of beefs with these responses (Go figure ).

First off, the online franchise comments. This is something that creates much of the angst that many folks have towards EA Tiburon. If you put a feature out there that is lacking in many areas and isn't polished, people aren't going to use it. You can't call it online "franchise" if it is missing many of the elements that make it "franchise". Many commissioners found it to be too much work to create a bunch of "house rules". Also, a lot of people believed that they would actually add those features in since Ian made a point to say that it was all server based and they could add those elements later in the year. Really? Nothing was done, not only last year, but an entire dev cycle. Zero improvement. How about a real working web site? If you are going to release a feature, complete the feature and polish it. Don't release it half-baked, then bitch that no one used it. This happens constantly in Madden. Don't believe me? Look at pro-tak and adaptive AI from last year. Both items I praised as saying they were good ideas with great potential. How much have they improved an entire year from then? Zero. Truly amazing.

I know it falls on def ears with these guys, but it would really be nice if the Madden team built on their game. Madden is made up of a bunch of decent ideas that are completely fragmented and unpolished. It is evident that the direction of the game is dictated by what can grow the revenue with minimal investment. That's why we see many small elements that are designed to take your money rather than provide significant replay value. I understand that, as it's a business and they are the only NFL game in town. However, it's alienating what was once an incredibly loyal customer base. The mentality that I get from that interview is the "we know what's best" mindset. Really?
 
# 6 rooney8 @ 07/30/10 12:10 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan36
ONLINE franchise man. And the thing is, unless you're part of a sports message board, can you imagine how hard it is logistically to get 31 of your closest classmates together to schedule an ONLINE franchise. The CPU would take over for any teams not user controlled, but still. And those same 31 people would have to have madden. I can't believe Ian didn't know it wasn't going to be used by most of his install base. Unless they move SINGLE PLAYER franchises online...he won't see more use. People are way too busy in many cases.
But I thought they were rebuilding franchise mode and it would be the same both online and offline like ncaa.
This is what Phil said in his franchise blog and it says something very different to Ian.
Quote:
Last year we delivered Online Franchise and while it was received very well by community and press, the usage was among the lowest for any of our gameplay modes. What this said to us was that Franchise mode as whole needed more than just a new access point, it needed a complete refresh.
I don't actually care about online franchise but I just don't think they are gonna bother with offline franchise if they aren't touching online aswell.
 
# 7 GiantBlue76 @ 07/30/10 12:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan36
ONLINE franchise man. And the thing is, unless you're part of a sports message board, can you imagine how hard it is logistically to get 31 of your closest classmates together to schedule an ONLINE franchise. The CPU would take over for any teams not user controlled, but still. And those same 31 people would have to have madden. I can't believe Ian didn't know it wasn't going to be used by most of his install base. Unless they move SINGLE PLAYER franchises online...he won't see more use. People are way too busy in many cases.
You are basically taking how you feel and making it a blanket statement. You have no idea how many people run online leagues for madden. A lot of the same folks had those leagues, but didn't use the online franchise. They did it better themselves. That's why the usage was low. They already had a system in place to handle all of the things that online franchise was lacking. They already had a better web site and better, more accurate stat tracking.

As for availability, in 2004, I played in an online league in 2k5. Actually, several. Some of them had up to 29 guys in it. We played over 10 seasons in each league and it was the greatest thing I've ever been a part of in video games. It was incredible. The online league feature was great. Full web site support, an awesome web integration with news stories, full customization of your league site, ESPN style stats that looked exactly like the REAL NFL stat pages, league leaders, MVP winners, you name it. A very "polished" feature. Yes, I use that word alot. I think online franchise is a great, great idea. However, they need to build on it and make it usable so that people use it. If their current system is easier, they aren't going to make the switch.
 
# 8 Danimal @ 07/30/10 12:20 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by metallicatz
I think what it points to is that the majority of franchise players are offline guys.....myself included. I play nothing but franchise mode, and I absolutely despise playing online.....unless I know the other guy.
Totally disagree.

I ran a franchise and we got through 3 seasons. Had plenty of owners, the biggest issues besides the obvious having to make house rules for player movement was the lack of CPU sliders and that the CPU didn't fill it's roster correctly between seasons.

Imagine as commish having to develop rules for free agency to stimulate player movement (today's NFL is all about FA and player movement) and then having to go and fix every CPU team post draft to make sure they were carrying enough QB's, CB's etc just to make them competent.

You can't expect people to fill up a 32 team franchise, but you also gave the guys running OF with 10-15 people no incentive with no sliders and an incompetent cpu off season.

I'm really disappointed in the logic as well. They launch it, tell everyone it isn't complete and that they will patch things in on the server. We have tons of people here who won't start their offline franchise to patches and roster are final. So to use the logic that most didn't complete a season is a bit skewed because they eluded to fixes that never came.

Regardless I've finally realized there is nothing I can do about this, initially my group was really upset but when thinking about the fun we had last year we're going to give it a go with M11 and jump through all the same hoops. I don't agree with their logic, but it is their logic.
 
# 9 ryan36 @ 07/30/10 12:21 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tazdevil20
You are basically taking how you feel and making it a blanket statement. You have no idea how many people run online leagues for madden. A lot of the same folks had those leagues, but didn't use the online franchise. They did it better themselves. That's why the usage was low. They already had a system in place to handle all of the things that online franchise was lacking. They already had a better web site and better, more accurate stat tracking.

As for availability, in 2004, I played in an online league in 2k5. Actually, several. Some of them had up to 29 guys in it. We played over 10 seasons in each league and it was the greatest thing I've ever been a part of in video games. It was incredible. The online league feature was great. Full web site support, an awesome web integration with news stories, full customization of your league site, ESPN style stats that looked exactly like the REAL NFL stat pages, league leaders, MVP winners, you name it. A very "polished" feature. Yes, I use that word alot. I think online franchise is a great, great idea. However, they need to build on it and make it usable so that people use it. If their current system is easier, they aren't going to make the switch.
You have a point...but look at Ian's comments about what percentage of the install base even TRIES to play a game online, vs. who downloads patches, etc....online games ranked/unranked/tournaments/against my dead mom/franchises, just aren't where the majority of games are played. My point really is simply that online franchise being left alone, doesn't mean that offline is being screwed , too. (although this year that's the case). The minute offline franchise gets limited , etc. I think they'll see a lot of people not buy the game. I think most people like playing through their team's schedule at will
 
# 10 rooney8 @ 07/30/10 12:23 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danimal
I don't know where anyone was promised a franchise mode in M12. People are taking the posting by Phil in the way they want to hear it. All he said is they looked at it and it was going to take more then a year to fix.
After reading his blog again you are right he alway say future not Madden12 but I would think most people who read the full blog get the impression of a new franchise mode in M12. Well thats not too bad after only 6 years of bad franchise mode I will get a great new one in the future.
Quote:
We feel great about where weíve taken the foundation of Madden NFL and are ready to refocus on building Franchise and SuperStar from the ground up. We have already assembled a team fully dedicated on setting the vision for what Franchise and SuperStar modes can and should be in the future. Since we are starting with a clean canvas heading into Madden NFL 12, we want the community to help us shape our direction- starting NOW. Let us know what youíd like to see in Madden career modes in the future. Weíre not just looking for small add-ons either. We want your big ideas. What would revolutionize career modes in your opinion?
 
# 11 ryan36 @ 07/30/10 12:23 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danimal
Totally disagree.


Regardless I've finally realized there is nothing I can do about this, initially my group was really upset but when thinking about the fun we had last year we're going to give it a go with M11 and jump through all the same hoops. I don't agree with their logic, but it is their logic.
I think a single season online franchise would be a lot of fun,...but over multiple may not be.
 
# 12 Palo20 @ 07/30/10 12:49 PM
Are 3 on 3 and Madden Ultimate Team expected to be more popular than online franchise? I just don't see it.

Also, I think it's harder to get 3 friends together at one time to play online than it is to get a decent amount of people for online franchise.
 
# 13 Stikskillz @ 07/30/10 12:56 PM
What I find funny about Ian's response is that if EA kept the EA Locker for spawning games (Old-Gen online franchise) no one would have to worry about the current state of online franchise. That system was close to perfect because each user could do everything offline for their franchise and then merge and share the franchise through the EA locker and play all of the games. The only flaw with it was that sometimes the EA Locker would not work, but that was rare. With that system me and a buddy completed 30 seasons multiple times. Sure we only played a few regular season games and all of the playoff games, but everything worked well because all of the features were included along with Owner Mode. It was great and we looked forward to it every year. Now, not so much.

I have posted on the EA Locker feature in the past as far as it making a return on the new consoles. However, it appears to be an illogical request.
 
# 14 frankrizzo380 @ 07/30/10 01:28 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan36
ONLINE franchise man. And the thing is, unless you're part of a sports message board, can you imagine how hard it is logistically to get 31 of your closest classmates together to schedule an ONLINE franchise. The CPU would take over for any teams not user controlled, but still. And those same 31 people would have to have madden. I can't believe Ian didn't know it wasn't going to be used by most of his install base. Unless they move SINGLE PLAYER franchises online...he won't see more use. People are way too busy in many cases.
NCAA has this and along with the extra web based stuff like recruiting and managing depth, this makes my life a whole lot easier AND it makes online very appealing to hordcore/sim/familymen lol
 
# 15 mr_president @ 07/30/10 01:45 PM
the link won't load for me....but did they discuss tackling??... and if there are any improvements between the demo and the final version??

thanks guys
 
# 16 rooney8 @ 07/30/10 01:53 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankrizzo380
NCAA has this and along with the extra web based stuff like recruiting and managing depth, this makes my life a whole lot easier AND it makes online very appealing to hordcore/sim/familymen lol
Yeah and if this is successfull they might do the same in Madden. It seems Madden looks at what Nhl, Fifa and Ncaa does and tries to copy what they do well. I honestly doubt any of those games looks at Madden for anything other than what not to do. It seems every interview with Ian he mentions how he is sim and that's where he's taking the game but then the game screams otherwise. This interview pretty much killed my hope for Madden12.
 
# 17 rooney8 @ 07/30/10 01:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_president
the link won't load for me....but did they discuss tackling??... and if there are any improvements between the demo and the final version??

thanks guys
Try it again, didn't work for me first time. No nothing about tackling mainly gameflow and bits of other stuff.
 
# 18 frankrizzo380 @ 07/30/10 01:56 PM
well u have to have hope in m12, there isnt any other nfl videogame out to play lol, but i love the feel of the demo, AND i love the new strategy pad controls(ps3) so im pretty hyped for this game's future (with my fingers crossed of course)
 
# 19 BlueNGold @ 07/30/10 02:00 PM
The online franchise comments really piss me off. You don't just add a feature that isn't fully fleshed out and then abandon it after a year because not enough people use said half-baked feature.

I also seem to find it hard to believe that there was a shocking amount of people not playing OF. I was in 3 multi season OF's with 32 owners and barely any of us knew each other.

What I think contributed to some of those surprising numbers of people not playing OF is that Madden is probably 60-40 non-sim to sim players (maybe more). From my experiences, the sim players were the ones that were very dedicated to OF and basically played from last August till this August. The non -sim players were the ones that were not dedicated to OF and getting booted out of the ones they did join.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danimal
Totally disagree.

I ran a franchise and we got through 3 seasons. Had plenty of owners, the biggest issues besides the obvious having to make house rules for player movement was the lack of CPU sliders and that the CPU didn't fill it's roster correctly between seasons.

Imagine as commish having to develop rules for free agency to stimulate player movement (today's NFL is all about FA and player movement) and then having to go and fix every CPU team post draft to make sure they were carrying enough QB's, CB's etc just to make them competent.

You can't expect people to fill up a 32 team franchise, but you also gave the guys running OF with 10-15 people no incentive with no sliders and an incompetent cpu off season.

I'm really disappointed in the logic as well. They launch it, tell everyone it isn't complete and that they will patch things in on the server. We have tons of people here who won't start their offline franchise to patches and roster are final. So to use the logic that most didn't complete a season is a bit skewed because they eluded to fixes that never came.

Regardless I've finally realized there is nothing I can do about this, initially my group was really upset but when thinking about the fun we had last year we're going to give it a go with M11 and jump through all the same hoops. I don't agree with their logic, but it is their logic.
Good post and I agree. My franchise is in the same boat as yours.

It really sucks that no changes have been made to a feature that did need to make some additions, but at the same time OF was one of the best experiences I've ever had so it's worth it to deal with what we have.

The good news is most of the gameplay issues we had were addressed and we have a good cap system and all those things in place.
 
# 20 showbo1971 @ 07/30/10 02:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danimal
Totally disagree.

I ran a franchise and we got through 3 seasons. Had plenty of owners, the biggest issues besides the obvious having to make house rules for player movement was the lack of CPU sliders and that the CPU didn't fill it's roster correctly between seasons.

Imagine as commish having to develop rules for free agency to stimulate player movement (today's NFL is all about FA and player movement) and then having to go and fix every CPU team post draft to make sure they were carrying enough QB's, CB's etc just to make them competent.

You can't expect people to fill up a 32 team franchise, but you also gave the guys running OF with 10-15 people no incentive with no sliders and an incompetent cpu off season.

I'm really disappointed in the logic as well. They launch it, tell everyone it isn't complete and that they will patch things in on the server. We have tons of people here who won't start their offline franchise to patches and roster are final. So to use the logic that most didn't complete a season is a bit skewed because they eluded to fixes that never came.

Regardless I've finally realized there is nothing I can do about this, initially my group was really upset but when thinking about the fun we had last year we're going to give it a go with M11 and jump through all the same hoops. I don't agree with their logic, but it is their logic.
I totally agree, after playing Online Dynasty with 2 of my friends in NCAA 09 and NCAA 10 we were really looking forward to the Online Franchise in Madden 10. Obviously we were VERY disappointed to find out there was no free agency and other missing features. We still played 1 season of the Online Franchise but ended up quitting during the off season as it just seemed to be to much work and knowing we had to go through that same scenario after every season made it very unappealing. We heard rumors of a possible patch which never came so we decided to just go back to playing NCAA 10's Online Dynasty. We ended up playing 10 seasons and once again was looking forward to Madden 11 believing they included those missing features. I know Online Franchise may not be for everyone but it's the number 1 feature my friends and I wanted for the last couple years and it's very frustrating this feature is still not complete and for a lot of people, unplayable....Given the fact a lot of us don't have time to put in the off season work needed to continue from season to season.

Even though Ian mentioned they haven't abandoned Online Franchise I still disagree with his belief that the low usage count wasn't a result of the mode being incomplete. We quit last season because of that and won't play it this season for the same reason. If EA bases what direction they take with this mode on the amount of usage they get from people does that force me to play a mode that isn't complete so I'm included in that statistic?
 

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