With the recent news of Rex Dickson leaving EA, there’s never been a better time for OS’er to put their best name forward to lead the charge of the creative direction for the Madden series.
Yeah we know none of us are getting the job, but let’s at least pretend like there’s a real shot and give our five year plans for the series and see what happens.
First things first. Franchise mode needs an overhaul and immersion will be critical. Everyone loves to look back to NFL 2K5 for how presentation in franchise needs to be. At this point, the memories are better than how the execution would play out in today’s market when it comes to 2K5, but it’s that feeling people got then that people still desire today. Madden going forward will focus on NFL Network integration so that what we see on Sundays in real life will be seen in the game. I’d even like to implement an option to spectate all scoring plays similar to what RedZone offers in real life. Beyond that there will be full pregame, halftime and postgame shows with full video highlights from around the league.
Beyond immersion, gameplay is key. Too many legacy issues persist but with continual effort and the Frostbite engine, we can continue to march towards the most realistic football game on the market. A better separation between Sim and Competitive game styles must be achieved so that the agency is in the hands of the player.
Madden Ultimate Team will be tweaked so that modes like Draft Champions no longer cost tickets to play. Microtransactions will be limited to pack purchases but taking a play out of MLB The Show’s book, the best cards will be only attainable from programs.
Finally, Longshot will be scrapped in favor of a true single-player career mode. For this, NBA 2K will be the example. Mainly, from the NBA MyCareer games as opposed to the Park or Pro-Am portions, though it may be possible to create a 7-7 street football online mode. From interviews to the combine to practice to endorsements, living the life of an NFL superstar is our ultimate goal.
Ideally, these modes and improvements would be implemented within Madden in the next five years and could really go towards making the best football game that has ever been made and finally put the ghosts of NFL 2K5 to rest.
I think I can give you fine folks at EA the future of Madden in one word really: jetpacks.
Wait, let me try that again.
Franchise mode will be a much bigger focus. Let’s add more storylines to the season. They say that the NFL is the best reality show there is, so we’re going to see that reflected in the game. There will be a weekly highlight show to keep you abreast of what’s happening in the rest of the league and updates during games to show you scoring plays from dynamic broadcast angles. Draft narratives will be a bigger deal, with more detailed scouting. It will be harder to spot a bust and root out those hidden gems in later rounds.
Madden Ultimate Team will see more variety in their solo challenges, including different ones every single day with generous rewards for those who complete them regularly.
As for gameplay, we will strive to eliminate any and all exploits that don’t involve using legitimate football strategy. There will come a time when you will be able to call for man coverage and have full confidence that your superstar DB will be able to stay with a mediocre receiver on a corner route. There will be less of an emphasis on jukes and hit sticks and more focus on using your blocks wisely and making timely tackles.
We will gradually move to implementing full 11-on-11 user play, starting with 5-on-5 (1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WRs and 1 lineman on offense and 1 LB/S, 2 CBs and 1 lineman). Once people learn to appreciate the finer points of being a guard or tackle, we start adding more user linemen to the mix until complex blocking schemes are being discussed on mic pre-snap.
And then maybe somewhere around year 5: jetpacks. But I’m flexible on that. In conclusion, when can I start and where is my office?
I’m going to chime in here with some brief direction I’d take and it’s going to be a complete thievery of old ideas and echoing on what previous peeps have already mentioned.
As a guy that is huge on presentation, Madden needs an overhaul — be it over the next couple years. What we currently have isn’t too bad, but what we *should* have by now is what’s needed. My two colleagues both mentioned these points already, but franchise mode needs some serious love. I’m pretty sure most people play Madden for Ultimate Team and franchise mode. Ultimate Team gets huge attention every year and brings in mega bucks, so yeah, it gets improved yearly. Franchise mode is a staple for the series. You need to ensure that whether it’s a small addition or a major boost, it gets one regardless.
As mentioned by my peers, a pre, half and postgame show needs to be added that gives us updates and happenings from around the league. Yes, some people might skip these, but at this point I feel it’s almost mandatory that it should be in the game. These segments are just as important as the games themselves in my opinion, especially when you’re getting closer to playoffs and that implication. Draft analysis should also be a key part of a weekly wrap-up show later in the season. Matt’s suggestion of having NFL Network integration is a fantastic one, as we’ve seen The Show embrace the MLB Network in that game. I also think that, because of the importance of certain weekly televised games, specifically Sunday/Monday Night Football, EA should work a deal with NBC and ESPN so that those overlays and networks can be used as part of the presentation package. These changes would and could be a huge win for EA that would visually push Madden over the edge and mirror the real-world NFL in a way that would leave Madden as the only game people would talk about.
Obviously my focus would be on arguably the most important mode in Madden, which is franchise mode. The Frostbite engine has opened up new possibilities in the game, so other core areas such as gameplay should continue to improve with the hard work of the dev team. A lot more love just needs to be given where it’s due, and I feel that area is franchise mode and presentation overall.
If I get the opportunity to jump in as Madden’s creative director, we’re going in a different direction. Think about where we were with other sports titles in 2013. MLB The Show was still on PlayStation 3, and the PS4 wouldn’t be released until November of that year. Five years is a long, long time. If I am taking over as creative director, I would utilize the next five years to perfect and refine a football game so good and jam packed with features that fans stop talking about the past altogether.
The end goal would be Madden 24 in 2023. Across the next five years, the team would fight tooth and nail to shed Madden’s “same game every year” reputation and deliver innovation after innovation to the game’s core modes and make it a must-have package for even casual fans. Retool everything and make the gameplay as sensational as it was 14 years ago. Spend a year modernizing franchise mode. Spend another year, per the other writers’ recommendations, creating a top-notch career mode. Explore an NFL Street-style arcade mode built into the game with online tournaments.
I also want to put as much as humanly possible into making Madden the smoothest gameplay ever seen in a football game, which includes implementing random chances without revealing animations. Bring in a new presentation package like the NHL series and NBC. Provide the same updates to Ultimate Team and, as other writers have suggested, make it a more rewarding and less financial experience.
Put together an aggressive marketing campaign that talks about “how things go in cycles” and hammer home that Madden 24 will be discussed and revered the same way that we discuss other greats from the past. Oh, and throw Champ Bailey on the cover to really cement the point that Madden 24 will take over as the best football game of all-time.
What do you think? What’s in your five year plan for Madden?