Connect with us

Madden Franchise Mode: This Is What a Rebuild Looks Like

old madden franchise features

Madden NFL 21

Madden Franchise Mode: This Is What a Rebuild Looks Like

Madden’s franchise mode has a storied history with tons of highs to go along with the current ongoing lows. Madden at one point had the premiere franchise mode in sports games, but now it has one of the worst franchise modes in sports games.

There’s plenty of ways EA could improve franchise mode, and one way involves looking to the community for feedback and assistance. There’s really no greater version of that feedback than DeuceDouglas and his 23,000+ word franchise mode blueprint that also includes more than 70 mock-ups of various elements of the mode.

This was written back in 2016, and it remains something we talk about on OS every single year. The great thing about Deuce is he fully explains his ideas, and he’s also savvy enough to create interesting mock-ups that also highlight those ideas.

madden franchise mode mockup

I’m not even going to try and highlight everything in this breakdown by Deuce, but I will say an underlying point is how much Deuce cares about what’s happening both on and off the field. When CFM was introduced with Madden 13, it was a massive moment for the series. It was a clear fork in the road where the franchise mode we know today split off from the one we loved for many years but was starting to buckle under its archaic structure.

This is not revisionist history either because I’m not trying to pretend everything was perfect before CFM took over. The “old” franchise mode that existed before Madden 13 did need a massive rebuild. However, when CFM was introduced in Madden 13 to improve the infrastructure, a lot was lost along the way. We remember the days of listening to the Tony Bruno Show, importing draft classes and going through offseason training camps. We tend to forget about how little the progression system made sense, or how the mode started to really struggle to keep improving by leaps and bounds once we moved beyond the PS2 era.

franchise mode mock 2

All that being said, the point remains we lost a lot when CFM was introduced, and we are still looking to get back some of the excitement we once felt off and on the field in franchise mode. This goes beyond just missing features now because it’s not just about what’s not here, it’s also about the implementation of what even exists in the mode today.

This is again why Deuce’s document is so fun to read through (yet it’s also painful at the same time because, again, it’s from 2016). I’m sure not everything he mentioned or designed here would work as intended. On top of that, I’m not sure how long it would even take to implement everything he highlights in this document.

Regardless, the point is he cares about both small details and larger ones all while trying not to exclude anyone in the process. Franchise mode was once for everyone because it had something for everyone. There is still a way to make that true once again, and making sure no one forgets that by talking about ideas from within the community is one way to do that.

605 Comments

Leave a Reply

Discussion
  1. I really like your player potential idea. The idea of a player having a variety of different possible ceiling and floors would add quite an organic feel to franchise.
    Damn bro, wish EA would hire you to help mold the future of the franchise. Very well thought out and great presentation of ideas. #GAMECHANGER
    Reading this just makes me depressed. Lol. Our current CFM falls so far from this. Sad thing is many of these things have been in past FB titles. Some where EA games. Madden NFL 05-08 ps2 gen. NFL head coach 09. Had several of these ideas. Great write up
    This is all really good stuff. Obviously I can't comment too directly on things but the team is very aware of CFM's shortcomings to this point. Whether or not it gets where it needs to get is another thing entirely. A bunch of us have sent in pitches on everything from progression to the draft and scouting, and a lot of the ideas I've seen make me very excited for the future of the mode. Fingers crossed.
    Oh, two things:
    1) team building logic is in this year, in a very basic sense. I don't know exactly what all the states are but I know that buyer/seller logic is in there when it comes to draft picks and player transactions.
    2) They've expanded how overall is calculated based on scheme and player type. I really want this blown out for the future, and am like halfway through a write up on it. Would that be something that would be of interest to people? If you could basically set the types of players you want in certain spots, and the game would recalculate the OVR based off your desires?
    Totally agree on draft day presentation, although realistically the speed at which peopls are selected would cause only two or three teams to be talked about each round.
    I would suggest a brief intro while the draft isbloading the focuses primarily on the first team to draft and when they pick immediate commentary on the first guy chosen. After that it could be which ever team comes up next, and from there a generic comment about what round we are in.
    Most of all, not every comment has to be team specific. Just random banter about team building when you're in round three or something, and maybe commentary on when a player projected high is taken late, etc.

    Love the idea of presentation.
    EA needs to get away from real video, and use screen shots/ saved video clips.
    But if Madden had everything you mentioned and custom draft classes, I would be in heaven.
    First, incredible write up.
    So much of what you posted has already, for many years, been asked for. I wouldn't even have to think about a purchase if all this was implemented. So much of what I've been posting and BEGGING FOR was in your write-up. Some of the things weren't exactly as I've had in wishlists etc, but very close.
    All I can say is good luck.
    LOVE that your CFM is so based on realistic elements.
    LOVE
    The thought of these still images are great. Thanks for the incredible effort and work.
    But I think someone of you may not understand that implementing all of these would be much harder as a full functioning, dynamic, user based system. You all don't think EA has seen or thought of most of these ideas? It's not that simple.
    BreakingBad2013
    The thought of these still images are great. Thanksnfirbthebgikd effort and work.
    But I think someone of you may not understand that implementing all of these would be much harder as a full functioning, dynamic, user based system. You all don't think EA has seen or thought of most of these ideas? It's not that simple.

    I do think one thing people have to keep in mind is that single/mp franchise are now inextricably linked and will remain so. Feature parity is priority #1. I think most of the stuff OP suggested here could work in an online situation, but you never know.
    Toupal

    Love the idea of presentation.
    EA needs to get away from real video, and use screen shots/ saved video clips.
    But if Madden had everything you mentioned and custom draft classes, I would be in heaven.

    As I understand it using the real video instead of in game video is less taxing on the system. It's the same reason when they first introduced the jumbo screens that they showed duplicates of what was happening rather than another angle.
    I would be most excited by the hidden ratings system. That would open up an entirely new, extraordinarily realistic, massive element to the game - having to evaluate players. Then if you also enforced a limit to the amount of practice time each week it becomes imperative to actually do the job of a coach. The game could help by receiving suggestions/hints from position coaches (obviously it's not up to just a single pair of eyes to evaluate real NFL rosters). Scouting the opposition would also have to play a role.
    It would be great if someone can copy this link and post it to John whites twitter feed. Just feels like the devs are on there alot. Great writeup and breakdown. franchise mode was the bread and butter of Madden for years..it would be great to get back to that.
    Sent from my E6833 using Tapatalk
    This is the best post/thread I've seen on here for years So many great ideas and all based on the real NFL calendar and situations
    No need for rpg like artifice when you have a hugely successful real life model to follow
    I imagine this is what a football version of OOTP would be like, except for with this, you get to play the games too which would be perfect.
    Top Notch post DeuceDouglas - If anyone has any more questions about what CFM needs, or wishlists , or etc. Just link them to this OP. Great detail . Well said and explained. Now the wait for 2055 ....
    Gilley
    I imagine this is what a football version of OOTP would be like, except for with this, you get to play the games too which would be perfect.

    That is actually being made btw...
    On topic though, incredible post. I am half way through it, I will continue it later. Hopefully some EA guys see and use this.
    Wow that was one amazing write up. I can't tell you how fast I would buy madden if it had these features. This year's game has been a prerelease disappointment for me as CFM looks mostly the same with minor improvements.
    I hope they somehow acknowledge this shortsighted look and quickly hire you or try to integrate as many of these ideas as they can. This would be a total game changer and I would argue and genre changer for franchise modes.
    Well written . I was excited just to read it even thou I knew most of it wouldn't be in the game. Trophy room from the past would be great from ncaa for awards and videos . Time line thru the years . Loved the top 100. Bring NFL Network for weekly updates and draft day show. Well sorta gel and linked the entire league. You'd look forward in watching your league on tv with updates from around the league.
    Sent from my SM-G920W8 using Tapatalk
    I thought it was obvious how to improve free agency: hide their exact ratings of free agents and instead provide a range like in FIFA. In fact, why not apply this to all rosters that are not your own? In this way you now have to scout for players mid-week (an addition to gameplanning) and help you discern whether a player was only successful within the system, circumstance, or is genuinely good. Brock Osweiler has a stupid contract because of the perception of him being a decent quarterback. In Madden as it is now we would know he's garbage and not sign him, but if we have a range and have to devote resources into getting a clear understanding of his abilities (reducing the range of the ratings, perhaps with the best position coaches straight up giving you the exact numbers) to inform your decision. The largeness of the ranges these players would have would be determined by team success, the win rate while this player was starting (even though that obviously wouldn't necessarily mean much), and their statistics from the year. Another way to influence this is your suggestion of the team's identity at the time (win now vs. rebuilding) where a team that perhaps is more desperate to contend or feels they are one player away are willing to take a flyer on a player with little data to show how good they really are (Brock Osweiler, most likely bad; Pernell McPhee, turned out to be very good.)
    I also think a range is much better than combine numbers (which would quickly become null with aging players or injuries that would sap their abilities) or using letter grades.
    I also think that using real player assets or whatever like they do for 2K is worse than using nice real photos: always annoyed when I traded for a player and suddenly I had this glass-eyed, terribly-emoted image of the player while if they stayed on their original team I'd have these cool pictures in their uniforms looking nice. Same thing with the videos for QBs, I'd rather they expand it to as many QBs who they could get videos for and save the real assets for the drafted players.
    @DeuceDougles -
    You have clearly put a lot of effort into this, and I applaud you for that foremost. You have succeeded in putting together a vision and feature set which would absolutely grab the hardest of the hardcore Madden NFL franchise mode fans. There are some things in here that Tiburon could lift and add immediately to the existing mode and meaningfully augment the Franchise mod experience.
    If you do want this to be more of a game design document and not a wishlist (which in my opinion this floats between the two, even shifting tone within itself), I have a couple suggestions and pointed questions for you to answer:
    I will be speaking from the perspective of an offline solo player and someone who wants their experience be something that is as deep, realistic and immersive as possible.

    Gaming is multiplayer nowadays. You must consider how this feature set applies from the perspective of the online multiplayer user. This is especially true if you intend for this to inform or influence any future creative direction of Madden NFL, which - let's be honest here - is now a robust online multiplayer game first and a single-player game second.
    I've done my best to try and provide multiple options in places where things might be overwhelming for the average user but that's something that will differ for everyone so it was a bit difficult.

    A couple things in mind with respect to the average user:
    1 - Simply adding a "skip" or "simulate" to make a complex or deep-level game mechanic "accessible" isn't sufficient for doing that. If a skip button is the only means available to make a mechanic palatable to someone who otherwise knows nothing about it, it's not a good video game mechanic. It isn't good because it has no value to a large portion of your total audience; they can't engage it because they don't have the requisite background knowledge required to use it. If the majority of your audience isn't using a game mechanic, it might as well not exist. Your total package game subsequently is weaker because there are entire pieces of the game from which your users have self-selected themselves out from ever using. Games are obligated to teach their mechanics to the user, and you can't rely on the user having familiarity with the game's licensed source material to do this for you.
    2 - Users are more likely to stay engaged with a game if the game mechanics they interact with in said game reinforce each other. As you've laid them out here, while the pieces you have are nice, they aren't really talking to each other a whole lot. To give you an example of game mechanics reinforcing each other, you need not look any further than Madden 17 (what the blogs have described it to be, anyway, and if they execute their vision it is going to be a very cohesive experience):

    • weekly training reinforces the short-term game and the long-term game; you get a situation specific boost for that week's game, and you also earn resources with which to improve your team (XP).
    • injury Big Decisions reinforce gameplay; you either play the starter to maximize your chances of winning the one game and expose him to greater injury risk, or you choose his lesser backup, which reduces your short-term chances of winning but he gets an individual boost to his ability to improve (double XP); you also get a blurb about it in-game, giving presentation context to your decision.
    • contract Big Decisions reinforce gameplay; there's the obvious team-building choice as to whether to re-sign the player which affects my ability to win on the field long-term, this isn't new, but that's now reinforced with a commentary blurb in-game similar to injuries to add context to your decision.
    • most importantly and at the foundation of the mode, core gameplay reinforces team-building and franchise mode as a whole; individual and team accomplishments in-game earn player and coach XP, which users spend out-of-game to improve players and coaches, which encourages the user to play more games so they can keep improving their players.
    • Play The Moments reinforces gameplay and franchise; it gives the user just enough agency to have control over his success or failure in each individual game, while also allowing the user to get through many more games in a shorter amount of time. This allows the user to stay more tightly engaged with the play game > manage and improve team > play another game loop, and ultimately get through more seasons faster, engage with more pieces of the mode, and keep playing Franchise for a greater length of time.

    Madden 17 is probably not going to win Best Game Design Ever, no, and it may be presumptuous of me to assume all the pieces will work as envisioned, but it's plainly obvious how Tiburon is attempting to build the mode, how all the pieces they are adding talk to each other and reinforce one another to form a cohesive franchise gameplay experience. How do the different components of your game design interact with and reinforce each other? What gameplay cadence is laid out to keep the user engaged with the game over a long period of time? For a pointed example - if you remove in-game XP rewards or push most of the XP earning to the new OTA element (leaving the OTA game mechanic as a black box for now), what is the gameplay hook to get the user to keep playing his season? What is actively encouraging the average user to keep playing?
    3 - Keep in mind that for the average user, just saying "it's the NFL, this is what the NFL does so that's how we will do it" isn't sufficient to keep the average gamer playing Madden as opposed to Call Of Duty or Pokémon GO. If the game mechanics aren't themselves compelling or harmonizing with each other agnostic of the authenticity provided to them by the NFL, they require some more thought.
    Put another way - Johnny Walmart only has a passing interest in the NFL and barely knows what the salary cap is. How are you going to make him want to engage the OTAs game mechanic rather than either A - skipping OTAs entirely to get to Regular Season Week 1, which renders your OTA game mechanics effectively non-existent, or B - quitting the game entirely after seeing a very intimidating and unfamiliar wall of action items between him and his first regular season game?
    I want to close with the following as to encourage - with some more thought and polish, you could probably take this to an interested game developer and have this made into your own football game. Probably a text sim GM game rather than a Madden game, granted, but there's plenty enough a start here to get that ball rolling if that's the direction you choose to take this.
    bucky60
    It's like you don't even realize NBA2K and The Show even exists and are both extremely successful.

    Those games matter not with respect to this thread and they have their own means of engaging the player well beyond simply "authenticity for authenticity's sake". Not to mention that Madden NFL also exists and is also extremely successful.
    If you want to talk game design, though, let's talk game design. Rule #1 of game design is to know your audience. The audience for Madden NFL is much larger than you think it is, knows far less about football than you do, and has a much shorter attention span. Your goal as a game designer is to grab the user with interesting game mechanics and then keep them engaged as long as possible. For the average video game player, someone who isn't represented on this forum and someone I get paid to consider when making games, authenticity alone is not enough for the reasons above. You must engage them on a level they will understand and build on top of that.
    In addition, if you overwhelm an average user with staggering depth straight away, they stop playing because they are intimidated by the number of options available to them. They don't know where to start. Good games ramp players up over time and experience. They start with a core gameplay mechanic which is relatively simple and repeatable, the one most essential and bare minimum to succeed, and build on top of that single mechanic over time.
    Look at Cities: Skylines, for example. That game, a city builder, doesn't let you build highways, colleges, theme parks, or landmarks right from the get-go. Those tools are gated behind population milestones; you must build a city which reaches a certain population threshold before those things unlock. This forces the user to become intimately familiar with the tools he does have available from the start - two-lane roads, zones, power plants, and power lines. Turns out that these are the core mechanics needed to grow the city, and everything else in the game beyond those core tools helps the city grower faster and more densely, which allows the user to unlock more rewards and tools, which allows him to keep building a bigger metropolis.
    CM Hooe

    If you want to talk game design, though, let's talk game design. Rule #1 of game design is to know your audience. The audience for Madden NFL is much larger than you think it is

    I don't believe the "audiences" between Madden and a video game like NBA2K are nearly as different as you think. My guess is they are pretty similar.
    CM Hooe

    Look at Cities: Skylines, for example. That game, a city builder, doesn't let you build highways, colleges, theme parks, or landmarks right from the get-go.

    Talk about different audiences and the appropriateness of comparisons. Why is it the audience is so different between Madden and NBA2K that a franchise comparison can't be made, yet games as different as Skylines have audiences similar enough to make comparisons?
    NBA2K and The Show is proof that DoubleDueces CFM can be very successful in Madden.
    I'm with ya DoubleDuece.
    CM Hooe
    Those games matter not with respect to this thread and they have their own means of engaging the player well beyond simply "authenticity for authenticity's sake". Not to mention that Madden NFL also exists and is also extremely successful.
    If you want to talk game design, though, let's talk game design. Rule #1 of game design is to know your audience. The audience for Madden NFL is much larger than you think it is, knows far less about football than you do, and has a much shorter attention span. Your goal as a game designer is to grab the user with interesting game mechanics and then keep them engaged as long as possible. For the average video game player, someone who isn't represented on this forum and someone I get paid to consider when making games, authenticity alone is not enough for the reasons above. You must engage them on a level they will understand and build on top of that.
    In addition, if you overwhelm an average user with staggering depth straight away, they stop playing because they are intimidated by the number of options available to them. They don't know where to start. Good games ramp players up over time and experience. They start with a core gameplay mechanic which is relatively simple and repeatable, the one most essential and bare minimum to succeed, and build on top of that single mechanic over time.
    Look at Cities: Skylines, for example. That game, a city builder, doesn't let you build highways, colleges, theme parks, or landmarks right from the get-go. Those tools are gated behind population milestones; you must build a city which reaches a certain population threshold before those things unlock. This forces the user to become intimately familiar with the tools he does have available from the start - two-lane roads, zones, power plants, and power lines. Turns out that these are the core mechanics needed to grow the city, and everything else in the game beyond those core tools helps the city grower faster and more densely, which allows the user to unlock more rewards and tools, which allows him to keep building a bigger metropolis.

    Almost all of what u say of game design is truly unfortunate. I don't argue your points, and understand them for the most part. I don't think any of these points were thought of early in video game history, I would say, however. The original reason madden was created was to create a video game that mimicked football, or simulated football, if u will. That being said, it should've been designed only for those that like/enjoy/know football. Same for BBall, soccer, any sport. A sports title should always be true to the sport, not to the casual (but, again, I understand your points and also understand the money plays a part in all of this, so, of course, any vid game wants casuals and/or as many buyers as they can get). As for other vid games, I think of something like halo, the original. I don't think any of your points were much thought of, then. Their idea was simply, 'let's create a kickass shooter and give it a cool story.' U know? I mean, that's it. The truly best games that have been created, I would argue, were built with this concept in mind, 'we want to build a kickass game that does X.' Casuals, unfortunately, are currently watering down all game quality, I would say. Lol. Whether it's a shooter, 2d scroller, or sports title. When a game designer creates the game they envision and give it proper functionality true to its 'game world', so to speak, is when truly great games are created and, I would argue, are enjoyed most by hardcore fans, but can also be enjoyed enough by casuals.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Incredible post and so well thought out. It saddens me that there is nothing like this available at the moment for such an illustrious and popular sport.
    I wanted to post something similar to this but nowhere near in enough detail.
    "So I want to start off and say that I am a British NFL fan, been falling in love with the sport for the past 3 years and Sundays are now solely for watching and embracing the NFL.
    Lets talk Madden, boy do i get hyped about this game. I bloody love it, the thought of building and moulding your team to glory is incredibly appealing to me. However, I do have a few issues that I aren't overly pleased about.
    The gameplay for me pretty much perfect, although it does feel like its party popper, all bang and no paper streamers. Here is my view on Madden specifically the Franchise mode and where it could be improved.
    For me there is no 'World', at the moment its a selection of menus that you rinse and repeat after every game. I don't feel involved with the other 31 teams theres nothing there that links me to them.
    The start of every game I play feels like I have been there before, I have seen the 15 man generic huddle. The coach pacing the sideline its old hat now. As a Brit watching the NFL, I love the over the topness, the patriotism, the excitement. I don't feel that at all and its lacking. An NFL season is incredibly short, 16 games and its over for most teams so each game should be an occasion. A celebration of the game thats going to take place.
    Where's the National Anthem? The American Flag on the field? The fly over? The buildup outside the stadiums with the tailgates.
    Each team and city has this unique culture and environment, why cant we see city landmarks like the Empire State building or Times Square. It adds to the character of a team, it inspires me knowing I am playing for a city. And If i am the away team this makes me feel like I'm at an away game, the stadium flyover adds to the tension as I know i am in unfamiliar territory. The broadcasters have this and it really showcases the game.
    Why can't we have crowds emptying during the fourth quarter? If im blowing out a team on their home turf, I have earned the right to see their fans disappointed, not still cheering in their generic one colour t shirts. This takes away the immersion for me.
    Could we get starting lineup entrances where they announce the players? Ive built my franchise i want to feel like I'm showing my stars off to the crowd.
    Playing an MNF game could they not advertise the next MNF game coming up next week, this would add to the 'being in the NFL world' and subliminally make me away of other games going on.
    So i feel like this bit I'm about to say may sound like a rant but it shouldn't, why do certain features never get built upon. For example during certain games you get a scene with a QB spinning the ball after hes been sacked 5 times/made several epic passes. Why hasnt this been developed further by adding stats about his longest pass of the game, how many completions etc.
    Another example is the metallic stadium intro we've had for the past 2 Maddens. Sure they have replaced it with this new rock concert intro but they could of developed the old intro further by during the metallic stadium into the blimp cam, checking out the local atmosphere. Could show highlights from previous games between the two teams, storylines between the coaches.
    At the moment i find the developers are taking away something and adding something new which does essentially the same job.
    Madden is packaged with 32 licensed teams i feel it should be taking advantage of this a lot more. Other sports games like MLB and NBA2k do this so much better with leagues that have 84/100+ games a season. NFL has 16 games, there shouldn't be excuses as to why this isn't breaking new ground.
    The time it takes to code a new RB spin move seems like less time than filming the tutorial to show off the feature to us.
    Its a bit late here and couldn't sleep so started thinking about Madden, I'm excited for Madden 17 of course but feeling slightly underwhelmed. I do want to say that the Commentary team sounds incredible, I am excited for sure to play the game and will obviously buy it regardless if the teams were The Bay Area Pirates or the QBs were Tim Brody.
    Maybe thats the problem, id buy the game regardless because I love football."
    bucky60
    I don't believe the "audiences" between Madden and a video game like NBA2K are nearly as different as you think. My guess is they are pretty similar.

    Whether there is crossover between the audiences is not the point. My point is that the general audiences for Madden / NBA / MLB isn't as knowledgable on what the NFL is and how it works as you, me, or anyone else here on this forum is. Authenticity alone doesn't move the needle for these people because they don't have knowledge of the real-life mechanic in question. You have to teach and engage these people on a different level.
    If you aren't considering the perspective of someone who knows less than you when making a game, you aren't doing your job properly.
    Talk about different audiences and the appropriateness of comparisons. Why is it the audience is so different between Madden and NBA2K that a franchise comparison can't be made, yet games as different as Skylines have audiences similar enough to make comparisons?
    NBA2K and The Show is proof that DoubleDueces CFM can be very successful in Madden.

    Madden isn't special because it is a football video game, and there are certain components of video game design which are universal. If you want to argue that a video game doesn't need to engage its audience with engaging mechanics and strong feedback loops (which, to be clear, NBA 2K and MLB The Show both do this but in different ways), be my guest, but you voluntarily disqualify yourself from any serious conversation on this topic by doing so.
    I'm with ya DoubleDuece.

    This isn't a "with you or against you" issue. What I offered was constructive criticism for Deuce to help him make his idea better from the perspective of someone who actually makes video games and gets paid for it. Whether he values that feedback, who knows, but forgive me for offering him feedback to help him make his good ideas better because I am not going to apologize for doing so.
    Great write up Deuce and regarding Free Agency, I think the culmination of those elements you outlined would inherently make it better than what other games have done. With so many of those systems interacting, in theory they would add up to a more authentic FA. As far as the User goes, I think as long as they have some level of uncertainty about precise player ratings, it incentives considering the evaluations of position coaches and scouts, which levels the playing field with the AI.
    @CMHooe, it's illogical to suggest that a NFL simulation video game should be generally designed to NOT replicate NFL elements to attract gamers and equally so in a NFL based mode like CFM within the game. You and EA Tib have this twisted and backwards, Madden the NFL simulation video game in general and specifically CFM should be NFL representative to the nth degree, while various options and other modes should be provided to cater to various types of gamers. Both the NFL and NFL multi-year Franchise actually exist in real life, so those should be emulated in Madden, while modes like MUT and DC, which don't exist in the real NFL, are invented video game modes, can be designed however, to cater to whomever.
    That's the logical way some other simulation sports video games do it and some of what Deuce seems to be advocating for, which those other games proved works, even in competitive markets. On the other hand what you and EA Tib advocate for only seems to work in markets void of direct competition and when it was tried in a competitive market with direct competition, NBA video games, it failed miserably. So while either approach and almost any approach where the game is released for that matter, would likely result in Madden sales in the current market, the logical way clearly results in a more realistic game, which EA Tib claims is the goal for Madden, ergo makes the most sense.
    CM Hooe
    Those games matter not with respect to this thread and they have their own means of engaging the player well beyond simply "authenticity for authenticity's sake". Not to mention that Madden NFL also exists and is also extremely successful.
    If you want to talk game design, though, let's talk game design. Rule #1 of game design is to know your audience. The audience for Madden NFL is much larger than you think it is, knows far less about football than you do, and has a much shorter attention span. Your goal as a game designer is to grab the user with interesting game mechanics and then keep them engaged as long as possible. For the average video game player, someone who isn't represented on this forum and someone I get paid to consider when making games, authenticity alone is not enough for the reasons above. You must engage them on a level they will understand and build on top of that.
    In addition, if you overwhelm an average user with staggering depth straight away, they stop playing because they are intimidated by the number of options available to them. They don't know where to start. Good games ramp players up over time and experience. They start with a core gameplay mechanic which is relatively simple and repeatable, the one most essential and bare minimum to succeed, and build on top of that single mechanic over time.
    Look at Cities: Skylines, for example. That game, a city builder, doesn't let you build highways, colleges, theme parks, or landmarks right from the get-go. Those tools are gated behind population milestones; you must build a city which reaches a certain population threshold before those things unlock. This forces the user to become intimately familiar with the tools he does have available from the start - two-lane roads, zones, power plants, and power lines. Turns out that these are the core mechanics needed to grow the city, and everything else in the game beyond those core tools helps the city grower faster and more densely, which allows the user to unlock more rewards and tools, which allows him to keep building a bigger metropolis.

    If you assume the average Madden potential buyer is a video game fan with a passing interest in football i would agree with your criticism however i feel it's just as likely if not more so that he or she is an avid NFL fan with a passing interest in video games .
    Maybe EA know have access to information to distinguish ?
    CM Hooe
    Whether there is crossover between the audiences is not the point. My point is that the general audiences for Madden / NBA / MLB isn't as knowledgable on what the NFL is and how it works as you, me, or anyone else here on this forum is.

    Wouldn't this logic need to be true for NBA2K and The Show? Don't they need to be attractive to the general audience? Yet they still have more authentic/realistic franchise modes.
    CM Hooe

    Madden isn't special because it is a football video game, and there are certain components of video game design which are universal. If you want to argue that a video game doesn't need to engage its audience with engaging mechanics and strong feedback loops (which, to be clear, NBA 2K and MLB The Show both do this but in different ways), be my guest, but you voluntarily disqualify yourself from any serious conversation on this topic by doing so.

    I'm not arguing that you don't need to engage the audience or that engaging mechanics are not important. My point is that both NBA2K and The Show have very engaging mechanics AND their franchises are much more authentic to their sport. That's not a difficult concept to understand. Either you are completely ignoring the point, or you are just having a very difficult time understanding it.
    CM Hooe

    This isn't a "with you or against you" issue. What I offered was constructive criticism for Deuce to help him make his idea better from the perspective of someone who actually makes video games and gets paid for it. Whether he values that feedback, who knows, but forgive me for offering him feedback to help him make his good ideas better because I am not going to apologize for doing so.

    His "good ideas better" is somewhat subjective. I'm not looking for you to apologize, just to recognize that NBA2K and The Show franchises work and are much more authentic than Madden, and could also work in Madden.
    briz1046
    If you assume the average Madden potential buyer is a video game fan with a passing interest in football i would agree with your criticism however i feel it's just as likely if not more so that he or she is an avid NFL fan with a passing interest in video games .
    Maybe EA know have access to information to distinguish ?

    They definitely do. They also have metrics about how deep into franchise people go, what they engage with, etc.
    mrprice33
    They definitely do. They also have metrics about how deep into franchise people go, what they engage with, etc.

    You mind elaborating on the bold and what data you are referring to there. That they have data on the type of NFL interest Madden gamers have or whatever.
    Deuce, first off great and long post. Would love to play a CFM with that depth.
    Your section on injuries has a similar look to the NHL injury report and the decreased ratings based on the area of injury as well as the player being able to play (with the reduced ratings) until the injury is fully healed, but subject to increased chance of another more serious injury. Would love to see this injury system make it in to Madden.
    I'd also like to see the occasional Canadian prospect make it in to the draft (the ones playing in Canadian colleges, not the ones playing in NCAA programs) and the draft team make mention of such. It would be neat to see players in Free Agency that are making an NFL comeback after playing north of the border for a year or so (Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, Cameron Wake, Chris Matthews, Delvin Breaux, Brandon Browner, etc, etc).
    Can we sticky this? Put a checklist on the bottom of the OP so that we can see how many years it takes to get all of that on madden. Seriously though, great post.
    briz1046
    If you assume the average Madden potential buyer is a video game fan with a passing interest in football i would agree with your criticism however i feel it's just as likely if not more so that he or she is an avid NFL fan with a passing interest in video games.
    Maybe EA know have access to information to distinguish ?

    If the core audience for Madden NFL was predominantly the hardest of the hardcore football fans as is often alleged, I would venture to guess Ultimate Team would not be as popular as it is - given how often I've seen its mere existence bemoaned on this forum - and it would not be the sole focus of the game's preorder campaigns. You don't need to understand the salary cap, the draft, free agency, or anything else to learn Ultimate Team. It is far and away a more accessible mode.
    As to metrics - Tiburon most assuredly has all those, as Mr. Price mentioned.
    Big FN Deal
    @CMHooe, it's illogical to suggest that a NFL simulation video game should be generally designed to NOT replicate NFL elements to attract gamers and equally so in a NFL based mode like CFM within the game.

    Are you suggesting that Madden NFL is not designed with the NFL experience in mind? I beg to differ.
    I assume you are concluding this presumably because I have the audacity to say "XP-based gameplay loops are good game design and I have 40 years of video game history backing me up" is presumptuous. The concept of football isn't special enough to require an alternative core game loop.
    You and EA Tib have this twisted and backwards

    Both the designers and Tiburon and I - they moreso than I by virtue of having many years of experience up on me - have opinions informed by careers built in the video game industry. If you from your position without this experience think those informed opinions are twisted and backwards, feel free to make your own game and prove the entire industry wrong. You'll make yourself a multi-millionaire if you succeed.
    Madden the NFL video game in general and specifically CFM should be NFL representative to the nth degree, while various options and other modes should be provided to cater to various types of gamers. Both the NFL and NFL multi-year Franchise actually exist in real life, so those should be emulated in Madden, while modes like MUT and DC, which don't exist in the real NFL, are invented video game modes, can be designed however, to cater to whomever.

    Video games, even sports video games, aren't designed to only appeal to the hardest of the hardcore. AAA video games in the general case don't survive unless they grow their audience. Madden is not immune from this. In order for franchise mode to survive and thrive, in order for it to continue to see dev time to get to the depth this community wants, it needs ensure it can grow its audience. That means designing the mode to engage users who previously haven't played it, be it for prior lack of knowledge of how to play, lack of interest, intimidation by the many walls-of-text the mode previously threw at the player, and so on.
    Look at all the features added into franchise for Madden 17 and you will clearly see a theme of opening the mode up to more users with less knowledge. The core mechanics engage these new users with football-agnostic game mechanics backed by 40 years of video game history, game mechanics which don't require football knowledge to understand. Over the course of time the game feeds users the football knowledge they need to succeed in the football-specific components of the game. You also see a theme of providing users the tools and information they need to make relevant franchise gameplay decisions faster and more decisively - be it injury returns, contracts, what have you - and also ensuring the user always has a reason to engage with the mode each week of his team's season, so he keeps booting up the game to play.
    Franchise mode is not a sacred ground for sim players only, and it is not a mode which should only ever cater to sim players' interests. That's an incredibly selfish attitude towards game design and it's also a position which isn't commercially viable. If you want to make a successful video game, you need to make a game which other people want to play, not just what you want to play. I know this, and I've very clearly illustrated that Tiburon also knows this. Feel free to suggest that Tiburon growing the total audience for their game and making a more successful and more well-rounded product is a bad idea, though.
    bucky60
    recognize that NBA2K and The Show franchises work

    If you want me to be real about it, with respect to my personal experience with NBA 2K (I have none with The Show) - no, NBA 2K's franchise mode does not work. I have never completed a single season of NBA 2K. In a single-player franchise setting I've never even reached the all-star break.
    The mode doesn't hold me for that long because it is a slog and a grind through lots of games which don't individually feel important. Yes, the mode has all the authenticity nods in the world, and NBA 2K's franchise mode indeed has more authentic out-of-game mechanics than Madden does - be it Bird rights / player options / team options on contracts, player morale, more robust play injuries, owner media credibility, multi-team trades, summer leagues, presentation bells and whistles, I'm sure I'm missing a bunch of other things - but what good are all those things if the game can't keep me engaged in the core experience long enough to finish even half a season? If I'm never touching these things, do they even exist? How valuable are these things if I never see them, really?
    The changes to Madden's franchise mode upcoming for this year, on the other hand, I'm looking forward to more than ever, because the game will actively give me reasons to keep coming back on top of the core loops which already exist. It doesn't entirely rely on me to build my own narratives like most sports games do, it will present the important action items to me, tell me why they are important, and tell me the real consequences of my decisions on the game state. The game will also actively facilitate my touching all of its pieces by helping me get through games faster. Getting through several seasons and touching all the parts of the mode is a very reasonable possibility for me now, and the game will keep actively motivating me to want to do this.
    A game that actively motivates me to keep playing it has a better design than a game that doesn't.
    CM Hooe
    If you want me to be real about it, with respect to my personal experience with NBA 2K (I have none with The Show) - no, NBA 2K's franchise mode does not work. I have never completed a single season of NBA 2K. In a single-player franchise setting I've never even reached the all-star break.
    The mode doesn't hold me for that long because it is a slog and a grind through lots of games which don't individually feel important. Yes, the mode has all the authenticity nods in the world, and NBA 2K's franchise mode indeed has more authentic out-of-game mechanics than Madden does - be it Bird rights / player options / team options on contracts, player morale, more robust play injuries, owner media credibility, multi-team trades, summer leagues, presentation bells and whistles, I'm sure I'm missing a bunch of other things - but what good are all those things if the game can't keep me engaged in the core experience long enough to finish even half a season? If I'm never touching these things, do they even exist? How valuable are these things if I never see them, really?

    Well that's the element of playing 82 games in a season. Nothing is going to hold your attention for 82 games, it's un-realistic to believe anything ever would, no matter how detailed.
    If 2k's detail was spread over NFL's 16 games...it would hold your attention for a lot longer, and you potentially would complete multiple seasons before getting bored.
    (FYI, I'm not debating your points about audience and marketing of the game towards certain demographic.)
    The reason EA caters to the less-hardcore and would not adopt a mode like this (as much as I wish it would) is due to lack of competition. The developers aren't doing so maniacally, it's not some evil plot, it's human nature. There is an opportunity to grab a greater audience, and thus more money, by creating a product that appeals to as many people as possible by being more general and less specialized. There are no other NFL simulation video games - all of the people who truly want this type of franchise will moan and complain but at the end of the day most will buy Madden anyway because it's as close as they can get to what they want. Meanwhile, EA manages to sell a copy of Madden to a 7 year old who's parents won't pay for MUT, but because franchise mode is simple, said 7 year old can still play it (a bit of an exaggeration). The percentage who choose to boycott the game are minimal, especially while no alternative exists.
    Now, if a Ultra-realistic NFL sim were released with NFL licensing then the Madden team would have a decision to make: follow suit to defeat to competition and protect its sim-interested fanbase while risking it's non-sim customers (like that 7 year old); or they could allow that fanbase to leave and focus their efforts on continuing to gain new non-sim customers.
    Until then, all modes of Madden will be designed in a way to sell as many copies as possible. This doesn't mean the game will be bad. I commend Madden for their improvements this year and last year. Rex seems to be swimming against this current, but the money will always dictate the strategy in the end. So the only sim-style improvements that will make it into the game are those which won't compromise the general appeal of the game to the greatest number of people.
    The lack of competition is key. Competition leads to innovation, innovation leads to specialization, specialization leads to diversity, diversity leads to choice, choice brings satisfaction to the customer.
    Jimbo12308
    The reason EA caters to the less-hardcore and would not adopt a mode like this (as much as I wish it would) is due to lack of competition. The developers aren't doing so maniacally, it's not some evil plot, it's human nature. There is an opportunity to grab a greater audience, and thus more money, by creating a product that appeals to as many people as possible by being more general and less specialized. There are no other NFL simulation video games - all of the people who truly want this type of franchise will moan and complain but at the end of the day most will buy Madden anyway because it's as close as they can get to what they want. Meanwhile, EA manages to sell a copy of Madden to a 7 year old who's parents won't pay for MUT, but because franchise mode is simple, said 7 year old can still play it (a bit of an exaggeration). The percentage who choose to boycott the game are minimal, especially while no alternative exists.
    Now, if a Ultra-realistic NFL sim were released with NFL licensing then the Madden team would have a decision to make: follow suit to defeat to competition and protect its sim-interested fanbase while risking it's non-sim customers (like that 7 year old); or they could allow that fanbase to leave and focus their efforts on continuing to gain new non-sim customers.
    Until then, all modes of Madden will be designed in a way to sell as many copies as possible. This doesn't mean the game will be bad. I commend Madden for their improvements this year and last year. Rex seems to be swimming against this current, but the money will always dictate the strategy in the end. So the only sim-style improvements that will make it into the game are those which won't compromise the general appeal of the game to the greatest number of people.
    The lack of competition is key. Competition leads to innovation, innovation leads to specialization, specialization leads to diversity, diversity leads to choice, choice brings satisfaction to the customer.

    Yeah, this would actually be interesting to see if competition still existed. Without it, all of this discussion is hyperbole. Lol. While, we can talk about what 'all vid games do,' and we can talk about what other 'sports vid games' do. We can't actually talk about who is doing better, 1. The great sim football game (which doesn't exist) vs 2. Madden sim franchise, and see who's sales are better and get a general feel for how people view the franchise mode from multiple football specific games.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Has anyone making the decisions at EA ever thought that more consumer time would be spent on Franchise mode, if they built a Franchise mode worth more of the consumer's time? Just my .02
    CM Hooe
    If you want me to be real about it, with respect to my personal experience with NBA 2K (I have none with The Show) - no, NBA 2K's franchise mode does not work.

    NBA2K Sales would tend to disagree with you.
    CM Hooe

    The mode doesn't hold me for that long because it is a slog and a grind through lots of games which don't individually feel important.

    So you haven't found the Sim games function (or being able to set the number of games in a season)? That's the reason the mode doesn't work is the number of NBA games in a season? I just have to SMH at that. Madden only has 16 games in a season and even Madden has a sim games function.
    CM Hooe

    Yes, the mode has all the authenticity nods in the world, and NBA 2K's franchise mode indeed has more authentic out-of-game mechanics than Madden does - be it Bird rights / player options / team options on contracts, player morale, more robust play injuries, owner media credibility, multi-team trades, summer leagues, presentation bells and whistles,

    And it sells pretty darn well.
    I'm just floored that you reject an NBA games franchise mode solely on the number of NBA games in a season when you're not forced to play all 82 games. I am absolutely shocked at the logic being used in your post.
    EDIT: I just checked. You can set NBA2K's season to be as few as 14 games in their franchise mode.
    bucky60
    NBA2K Sales would tend to disagree with you.
    So you haven't found the Sim games function (or being able to set the number of games in a season)? That's the reason the mode doesn't work is the number of NBA games in a season? I just have to SMH at that. Madden only has 16 games in a season and even Madden has a sim games function.
    And it sells pretty darn well.
    I'm just floored that you reject an NBA games franchise mode solely on the number of NBA games in a season when you're not forced to play all 82 games. I am absolutely shocked at the logic being used in your post.
    EDIT: I just checked. You can set NBA2K's season to be as few as 14 games in their franchise mode.

    :y220e::y220e::y220e::y220e: Preach on! NBA 2K is just as if not more successful, salewise, as Madden. In a sport that significantly less popular than the NFL in America. And it caters, albeit not perfectly, to the hardcore online heads, offline "franchise" types and "myplayer" types. It is odd how NBA2K taes hits for things that Madden doesn't even have or offer while Madden somehow get's "developer insight" (not insight from inside the Madden machine itself, no, but general developer stuff) explaining away all its shortcomings.
    I hope others would agree, I would buy a more sim style football game as described in this post, without the official license (so different teams and players) over casual-Madden. I like football first and foremost, having the right names for things is just a cherry on top. Look what Backbreaker managed to achieve.
    CM Hooe
    If you want me to be real about it, with respect to my personal experience with NBA 2K (I have none with The Show) - no, NBA 2K's franchise mode does not work. I have never completed a single season of NBA 2K. In a single-player franchise setting I've never even reached the all-star break.
    The mode doesn't hold me for that long because it is a slog and a grind through lots of games which don't individually feel important. Yes, the mode has all the authenticity nods in the world, and NBA 2K's franchise mode indeed has more authentic out-of-game mechanics than Madden does - be it Bird rights / player options / team options on contracts, player morale, more robust play injuries, owner media credibility, multi-team trades, summer leagues, presentation bells and whistles, I'm sure I'm missing a bunch of other things - but what good are all those things if the game can't keep me engaged in the core experience long enough to finish even half a season? If I'm never touching these things, do they even exist? How valuable are these things if I never see them, really?
    The changes to Madden's franchise mode upcoming for this year, on the other hand, I'm looking forward to more than ever, because the game will actively give me reasons to keep coming back on top of the core loops which already exist. It doesn't entirely rely on me to build my own narratives like most sports games do, it will present the important action items to me, tell me why they are important, and tell me the real consequences of my decisions on the game state. The game will also actively facilitate my touching all of its pieces by helping me get through games faster. Getting through several seasons and touching all the parts of the mode is a very reasonable possibility for me now, and the game will keep actively motivating me to want to do this.
    A game that actively motivates me to keep playing it has a better design than a game that doesn't.

    Does something like MUT really exist if I never touch it? It's all just a matter of preference. Just because I don't get into MUT or you don't get into NBA 2K's MyLeague doesn't mean that much in the grand scheme of things. It just means we enjoy different experiences with our sports games.
    For the record NBA 2K has an option to shorten seasons (The shortest is a 14 game season and you can make every playoff series 1 game if you so choose). You can use the simcast feature to watch games as the unfold and intervene whenever you want. If you don't want to deal with all of the in-depth features the game offers, then they have the options to automate it. If one person doesn't want to worry about that stuff that's their prerogative, however that's no reason for the devs to completely leave it out for the people who do want a deep gaming experience. Personally, I can thank 2k for teaching me about most of the NBA's contracts. They're complicated, but I know quite a bit about them now, whereas I know very little about the NFL outside of the franchise tag and signing players.
    Most of this falls in the "different strokes for different folks" category because for me the more in-depth the better. I'm still playing 2K16 now. I took about a one month hiatus when Uncharted 4 and EA UFC were released, but now I'm back to playing every single night. I actually liked M16's gameplay, but I stopped playing it around the end of October and haven't touched it since. The game just didn't have any life, unless you're in an online league.
    I get that there making everything accessible is important for the "pick up and play users", but are those are normally causal players and are those players going to be playing the game more than hardcore players? Why cater to them when there's going they're likely to just jump ship when the next big game comes along? I would venture to guess that most of the players who play CFM the most would prefer a deeper experience because the more there would be more to do and less of doing the same things over and over causing you to get burned out.
    ...And I do have some hope that Rex and company are starting to build towards a more in-depth CFM. Editing and practice squads in a good first step, but they need to do much more in order to make the game engaging for me offline. Player morale, realistic contracts, a much better injury system (ie off the ball injuries) and coaching carousel would be a nice second step. :)
    The thing is, alot of the things that the OP was talking about was done in a EA FOOTBALL GAME! No reason for NCAA 04 to have a better franchise/dynasty mode than Madden in 2017.
    jeremym480
    Does something like MUT really exist if I never touch it? It's all just a matter of preference. Just because I don't get into MUT or you don't get into NBA 2K's MyLeague doesn't mean that much in the grand scheme of things. It just means we enjoy different experiences with our sports games.
    For the record NBA 2K has an option to shorten seasons (The shortest is a 14 game season and you can make every playoff series 1 game if you so choose). You can use the simcast feature to watch games as the unfold and intervene whenever you want. If you don't want to deal with all of the in-depth features the game offers, then they have the options to automate it. If one person doesn't want to worry about that stuff that's their prerogative, however that's no reason for the devs to completely leave it out for the people who do want a deep gaming experience. Personally, I can thank 2k for teaching me about most of the NBA's contracts. They're complicated, but I know quite a bit about them now, whereas I know very little about the NFL outside of the franchise tag and signing players.
    Most of this falls in the "different strokes for different folks" category because for me the more in-depth the better. I'm still playing 2K16 now. I took about a one month hiatus when Uncharted 4 and EA UFC were released, but now I'm back to playing every single night. I actually liked M16's gameplay, but I stopped playing it around the end of October and haven't touched it since. The game just didn't have any life, unless you're in an online league.
    I get that there making everything accessible is important for the "pick up and play users", but are those are normally causal players and are those players going to be playing the game more than hardcore players? Why cater to them when there's going they're likely to just jump ship when the next big game comes along? I would venture to guess that most of the players who play CFM the most would prefer a deeper experience because the more there would be more to do and less of doing the same things over and over causing you to get burned out.
    ...And I do have some hope that Rex and company are starting to build towards a more in-depth CFM. Editing and practice squads in a good first step, but they need to do much more in order to make the game engaging for me offline. Player morale, realistic contracts, a much better injury system (ie off the ball injuries) and coaching carousel would be a nice second step. :)

    Yep, 100% behind this written word. I would like a more robust CFM and my games already take 1 hr and 15 minutes as I'm still playing 16.(hoping to pick Madden up for 30 bucks if BB has the same deal as last year).
    As long as CFM has a save point preparing for the draft, during the draft, negotiations, etc...., I'm all for a robust CFM.
    I just don't have time to spend a few hours in one area of the game with a family and work life and that is where the different strokes for different folks come in.
    So...Hi.
    Going to derail for a second. I know it's against the TOS, but I'm pretty sure I'm allowed to for the time being.
    Why can't the entirety of this group understand differing opinions? I get it - there are guys that will always love Madden, there are guys that will never like Madden, and there are guys in between trying to make decisions.
    Sage was banned rightfully. I brought him back as a second chance (which I do with many users). But taking a pot shot like that uncalled for (and I'm pretty sure Sage knows that).
    Bucky/Big FN Deal/CM Hooe - This is the rivalry that will never end. I love watching you guys constructively argue with each other but it always seems to reach that point where someone thinks "I don't have anything left to say, but I have to win this argument". All 3 of you are right in your own ways about the game, but you have to realize that fact. You all have a valid voice - learn that the others in this situation do as well. Other people see the 3 of you start to devolve from constructive to repetitive then start piling on their side of the argument. Be better than that as all 3 of you are seen as sort of a 'tip of the spear' constructively to your side of this.
    In short - be constructive voices, then move on.
    Millennium

    Why can't the entirety of this group understand differing opinions? I get it - there are guys that will always love Madden, there are guys that will never like Madden, and there are guys in between trying to make decisions.
    Bucky/Big FN Deal/CM Hooe - This is the rivalry that will never end. I love watching you guys constructively argue with each other but it always seems to reach that point where someone thinks "I don't have anything left to say, but I have to win this argument". All 3 of you are right in your own ways about the game, but you have to realize that fact. You all have a valid voice - learn that the others in this situation do as well. Other people see the 3 of you start to devolve from constructive to repetitive then start piling on their side of the argument. Be better than that as all 3 of you are seen as sort of a 'tip of the spear' constructively to your side of this.
    In short - be constructive voices, then move on.

    Thank you very much for the bold!!!!!!
    Just would like to post publicly that I appreciate the reinstatement and that my post was not meant as an attack. I apologize to DeuceDouglas for derailing his incredible thread and idea.....
    I think one main issue that many of us (myself included) fail to realize is that EA did essentially try out a game for the sim minded people. They put out NFL head coach and while I don't know the exact sales numbers, I think we can safely assume that it did not sell as well as Madden. This could have been contributed to many things but I think the main reason is, we are the minority when it comes to football. We want all of the franchise features that NBA 2k has , that MLB the show has, but we want them in Madden. But we aren't a larger enough body of people to truly warrant the shear amount of man hours needed to plan,program,implement and test out the features. We get a few new things here and there. But I believe it would take a full rebuild to the CFM entirely.
    Which seems like an easy enough thing except it's not, development cycles are a pain in the butt to deal with. I know first hand how difficult it can be to add new features into software and the various steps involved before something can be implemented. For all of the things list by the OP (which are awesome ideas) it would probably take a good year of planning/analyzing data/coding and then an additional year to get all of the programming done and testing complete. I think the last thing any of us wants is a rushed product just for the sake of having some cool features that may or may not work the way we want.
    Ultimately it would have been awesome for us if Head Coach had sold better and could have been turned into a yearly or every other year title. But it didn't and wasn't. Maybe someday Madden will fit all of our needs and we won't have to have these discussions anymore. Until then, we should try our best to enjoy the games we have, be it, Nba2k, MLB or Madden or Heck even those who still play NFL2k5.
    Sphinx
    I think one main issue that many of us (myself included) fail to realize is that EA did essentially try out a game for the sim minded people. They put out NFL head coach and while I don't know the exact sales numbers, I think we can safely assume that it did not sell as well as Madden.

    I could be wrong, haven't tried NFL Head Coach in ages, but I don't think it had interactive gameplay which is a huge missing element and probably why it didn't sell as well.
    bucky60
    I could be wrong, haven't tried NFL Head Coach in ages, but I don't think it had interactive gameplay which is a huge missing element and probably why it didn't sell as well.

    you are correct and that is why it failed.Comparing it to what Deuce has said , in no way proves it wouldnt work or make money in the gaming industry.
    Im not buying any game where i just watch the game do everything.No point in really playing it to me . Even with the detail behind the sense stuff, without me being able to control gameplay , its just kinda boring. Which is not what Deuce wrote up . Thats why that game feel short of the mark.Would have thought those who make games for a living would have known that before hand , seems they dont know it all , all the time.
    Maybe thats why EA has thought about it some more and are now trying to put in a couple things per year to build it back towards a mixture of HC09 and CFM .The issue to me is, how long it takes , ill be retired before it gets where it should be at the rate it is going .
    howboutdat
    The issue to me is, how long it takes , ill be retired before it gets where it should be at the rate it is going .

    Yeah, but then you'll have more time to play the game once they finally get it right. ;)
    I have to agree about Head Coach 09. The management aspect, and the depth of it was AMAZING, but I just couldn't keep at it for very long, because I wanted to actually play the games too. It had nothing to do with the quality, just the lack of any actual on-field playing. I'd kill for them to just bring over the off-field aspect of Head Coach to Madden franchise mode. Very disappointing that we are nowhere near that level yet.
    I think that if Head coach had Madden graphics the game would have and still would sell well.
    I am probably in the minority that am happy to CPU vs CPU games as I am not good at button mashing so I would actually let my team down by playing.
    So as many a better man than me has said each to his own and we can get along. Maybe one day madden will have a head coach mode rather than CFM.
    Over and out....:y220:
    All of you guys that are suggesting that a head coach re-boot with actual gameplay would sell well are missing an important point: incentive. EA sports has no incentive to do that. If they created a head-coach like game that was playable like madden but geared towards sim then yes, all us sim gamers would buy it, but then we would have no reason to buy madden. EA would likely sell the same total number of games but would spend much more for the development of a whole different title. EA knows that enough of us will buy madden anyway unless we have an alternative. Why would they create their own competition by producing an alternative?
    That is the same reason that they don't have to overhaul franchise mode - all us crazy dedicated sim football fans don't have anywhere else to go. We're going to buy madden. It's the people that don't care much about football or that care about collecting/competition (MUT) more than the actual sport (and therefore can do that in other games) that EA needs to fight to sell games to. Competition is key.
    My guess is that in the future Madden will attempt to grab additional sales by introducing an RPG style mode like FIFA is. Think of it this way:
    Will casual gamers buy Madden? Yes, as long as there is a play now mode and as long as the gameplay is fun and not too complicated. Check.
    Will online/competition gamers buy Madden? Yes, as long as the game remains competitive and the online/competition mode is updated and maintained. Check.
    Will sim franchise fans buy Madden? Yes, since Madden has a franchise mode and since there is no alternative. Check.
    Will collectors/grind players/whatever-the-hell-the-appeal-of-MUT-is gamers buy Madden? Yes, as long as MUT exists and gets updated/maintained. Check.
    Will RPG fans buy Madden? No, but they might buy FIFA for the first time. (I don't think they actually will, but I'm sure that's goal of the FIFA developers). Not check. That's the goal.
    We're simply not the goal anymore. They have us sold already. I said in my previous post and I'll say again that the current Madden Devs are showing a real dedication to working hard to make a football game that does keep us happy, and for that they should be applauded, but they will not be throwing any Hail Mary's (metaphorically speaking) to enhance a game mode that appeals only to customers who are going to buy the game anyway.
    I apologize for the long rant, but we see time and time these types of threads (which are cool and fun to read!) that are followed by hoards of replies complaining and griping about why in the world these features aren't already in the game or why they were taken out of the game, or how easy it would be to incorporate them, etc. etc. and then wondering, confused, every year why they don't get added.
    All of that up there^^^ is why. Rex Dickson has done a great job and he truly seems to care about making the game good for us, but he still has a boss. And I'm sure that every year he has to show that boss what he did to increase/expand sales to new customers. Vastly re-worked franchise mode might make the existing customers happier, but it won't make more of them. And happier customers don't buy additional copies of the game.
    But what might sell additional copies of the game is a feature that captures somebody who would not have otherwise bought the game - like an RPG fan - which is what the FIFA developers are going for.
    SonsUfPonarchy
    Has anyone making the decisions at EA ever thought that more consumer time would be spent on Franchise mode, if they built a Franchise mode worth more of the consumer's time? Just my .02

    They don't care about consumer time unless there are in-game purchases. Which there aren't in franchise.
    Someone pays $60 for the game regardless of if they play for 2,000 hours or 5 minutes.
    (Correction: Rex Dickson might care, but EA's bank account doesn't.)
    Jimbo12308
    They don't care about consumer time unless there are in-game purchases. Which there aren't in franchise.
    Someone pays $60 for the game regardless of if they play for 2,000 hours or 5 minutes.
    (Correction: Rex Dickson might care, but EA's bank account doesn't.)

    False.
    The more time people spend with the game the longer it goes without being traded in, and the more opportunity there is for them to try one of the other modes. It's not just about the sales anymore.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Give me madden 17 gameplay with Head Coach as the base for CFM. Granted it's easier said than done but wasn't it 4 years ago that the devs told us that was the plan? To incorporate more and more things from HC into cfm, I honestly haven't seen it yet, the practice squad might be the only thing from HC in cfm. Where is the scouting of both college and pro players? Where is the injury system? The game planning? Etc
    To the OP, your killing me. I thought I could deal with cfm this year bc of the upgrades to gameplay but reading your post made me realize how very much we are still missing. There's just no immersion for me.
    Absolutely tremendous ideas surrounding coaching as there is a tangible way coaching impacts the players and where it's subtly suggested of how to make decisions. The coincided effort in masking player ratings where the user must rely on coaching makes this so much more of a genius idea.
    I LOVE this idea of a dynamic season durability versus a simply stamina rating...really would make sure the user uses every player on the roster to ensure the stars don't get just beaten down by season's end.
    This is perhaps my most favorite idea that could be implemented in every sporting game. Versus simply relying on ratings to build a roster or ensure the user puts a "winning team", this type of system would enhance the draft and scouts as well as coaching. I like the idea of seeing a player's combine stats and drill performance, then see my position coach's thoughts and finally weighing which one I think will do better.
    This would then mean I could drop a guy I think is worth snot...and user B picks him up and HIS coach sees more potential than mine does and he ends up as a good backup or even starter/all-star.
    All of your ideas are top notch, well-thought and are congruent! I don't think I've ever seen a post where everything went together so seemlessly and one feature complements another.
    Give me madden 17 gameplay with Head Coach as the base for CFM. Granted it's easier said than done but wasn't it 4 years ago that the devs told us that was the plan? To incorporate more and more things from HC into cfm, I honestly haven't seen it yet, the practice squad might be the only thing from HC in cfm. Where is the scouting of both college and pro players? Where is the injury system? The game planning? Etc
    /QUOTE]
    You are correct, but that was under the Ian regime and Josh Looman in charge of Franchise and Head Coach.
    roadman
    Give me madden 17 gameplay with Head Coach as the base for CFM. Granted it's easier said than done but wasn't it 4 years ago that the devs told us that was the plan? To incorporate more and more things from HC into cfm, I honestly haven't seen it yet, the practice squad might be the only thing from HC in cfm. Where is the scouting of both college and pro players? Where is the injury system? The game planning? Etc
    /QUOTE]
    You are correct, but that was under the Ian regime and Josh Looman in charge of Franchise and Head Coach.

    Are you sure? I could have sworn it was Rex n Co. The Ian regime feels like it was soooooo long ago
    SolidSquid

    Are you sure? I could have sworn it was Rex n Co. The Ian regime feels like it was soooooo long ago

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure. The last HC was made when Ian was in charge. Ian was around for Madden 12 and the start of production for 13.
    roadman

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure. The last HC was made when Ian was in charge. Ian was around for Madden 12 and the start of production for 13.

    Yeah I'm pretty sure it was Ian as well. Josh was the one who was pushing all of the Head Coach and CFM stuff forward I think. I do feel that the latest development team are trying their best to accommodate as many people as possible. I think one thing we can all agree on is that they have a wide audience to try and appeal to with consumers, the nfl, internal executives and anyone else that has a say with what goes in the game. Bottom line is, I wish we could get everything we want, I wish Deuce could take these awesome ideas and float them to 2k and get a fully customized football game with made. But I doubt that would happen. Someday we'll get the game we all want.
    Madden's sales allow EA to continue to limit improvements year to year. It's hard for anyone to argue that EA's current Madden has more, or better features than other sport titles like NBA 2k, or MLB The Show. Each is a unique game, but that does not mean EA should bury their head in the sand. Madden seems outdated, shallow, and missing the living world feeling. Playing NCAA 14 feels more alive than Madden 16. Hopefully '17 is different.
    ForUntoOblivionSoar∞
    Totally agree on draft day presentation, although realistically the speed at which peopls are selected would cause only two or three teams to be talked about each round.
    I would suggest a brief intro while the draft isbloading the focuses primarily on the first team to draft and when they pick immediate commentary on the first guy chosen. After that it could be which ever team comes up next, and from there a generic comment about what round we are in.
    Most of all, not every comment has to be team specific. Just random banter about team building when you're in round three or something, and maybe commentary on when a player projected high is taken late, etc.

    I agree and it's the one thing that I knew really wouldn't fit within the online realm. As for offline though, I'm not completely sure but I think there's something or at least has been in the past that let's you control the speed of the draft. I remember when they had the draft storylines sitting through the draft and there was a decent amount of down time in between picks and enough I think where you could fit a few blurbs in there. This was by far the most out there thing out of everything and I'd never expect them to go all-in on something like that but in the scenario they did, what I outlined would obviously be the slow while medium or normal would just be blurbs about the players and then fast would be saying who's on the clock, blurbs about your players only, etc.
    Yazan Gable
    I thought it was obvious how to improve free agency: hide their exact ratings of free agents and instead provide a range like in FIFA. In fact, why not apply this to all rosters that are not your own? In this way you now have to scout for players mid-week (an addition to gameplanning) and help you discern whether a player was only successful within the system, circumstance, or is genuinely good. Brock Osweiler has a stupid contract because of the perception of him being a decent quarterback. In Madden as it is now we would know he's garbage and not sign him, but if we have a range and have to devote resources into getting a clear understanding of his abilities (reducing the range of the ratings, perhaps with the best position coaches straight up giving you the exact numbers) to inform your decision. The largeness of the ranges these players would have would be determined by team success, the win rate while this player was starting (even though that obviously wouldn't necessarily mean much), and their statistics from the year. Another way to influence this is your suggestion of the team's identity at the time (win now vs. rebuilding) where a team that perhaps is more desperate to contend or feels they are one player away are willing to take a flyer on a player with little data to show how good they really are (Brock Osweiler, most likely bad; Pernell McPhee, turned out to be very good.)
    I also think a range is much better than combine numbers (which would quickly become null with aging players or injuries that would sap their abilities) or using letter grades.
    I also think that using real player assets or whatever like they do for 2K is worse than using nice real photos: always annoyed when I traded for a player and suddenly I had this glass-eyed, terribly-emoted image of the player while if they stayed on their original team I'd have these cool pictures in their uniforms looking nice. Same thing with the videos for QBs, I'd rather they expand it to as many QBs who they could get videos for and save the real assets for the drafted players.

    Yeah, when I was looking at free agency I wanted to focus more on the process more than anything. You can hide or mask the ratings but you'd still be able to get whoever you want without much trouble which was the main thing I wanted to hit on. I totally agree with masking the ratings for free agency but I look at that as more of something that is all encompassing rather than limited to just free agency which I why I didn't mention it.
    But within the realm of masked ratings I really like the idea of becoming more familiar with players the longer they've been on your team and/or been in the league. I think having different levels of familiarity would be something that would work extremely well within the masked ratings scope. Players that you've had on your team for long periods of time or veterans could have +/- letter grades giving a better picture of their true ratings. Rookies and young players that your team is unfamiliar with would have the widest possible ranges for letter grades that would narrow the longer they were on your roster. To use your example, while the Broncos might see Brock Osweiler as a C- overall, another team, like the Texans might see him as a B because they don't know as much about him yet. You could even go a step further with this and let's say you hire a new coach or position coach from another team, you also acquire the knowledge that the coach had of his former teams players and/or position groups.
    As for the combine numbers, I like the idea of ranges for everything except physical attributes. Physical attributes are something that I think should be a bit more finite and I think using combine numbers allows for that while still maintaining the ability to use wide ranges for other attributes that can be based more on perception. What I mean by this is taking something like speed you may have a player that is an A letter grade but if that's something that ranges from 90 to 99 then you're not sure whether your guy is just typically fast or elite level fast. If he has a 4.29 40 time, you know he's elite level fast but you still don't necessarily know whether it's 99,98,97, etc. You raised a really good point that I hadn't even thought of though in regards to regression of physical attributes but I think if you provided something like this:

    to the user in the form of a coaching report or more simply a regression history on their player card, I think combine numbers could still work because you'd be aware of a player losing speed, agility, etc. With hidden or perceived ratings you'd just be told that it's going down while if you were using exact you'd know exactly how much he regressed.
    wpgjets23
    Deuce, first off great and long post. Would love to play a CFM with that depth.
    Your section on injuries has a similar look to the NHL injury report and the decreased ratings based on the area of injury as well as the player being able to play (with the reduced ratings) until the injury is fully healed, but subject to increased chance of another more serious injury. Would love to see this injury system make it in to Madden.
    I'd also like to see the occasional Canadian prospect make it in to the draft (the ones playing in Canadian colleges, not the ones playing in NCAA programs) and the draft team make mention of such. It would be neat to see players in Free Agency that are making an NFL comeback after playing north of the border for a year or so (Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, Cameron Wake, Chris Matthews, Delvin Breaux, Brandon Browner, etc, etc).

    I really like this idea and it would be something great for the newsfeed IMO. Having scenarios like Jarrad Hayne or players coming from the CFL like you mentioned would be a cool little subplot to have within a franchise. It also reminded me of something else that could be represented and that's the supplemental draft. Most guys available would be inconsequential but occasionally you'd find those Josh Gordon's or Cris Carter's and, more commonly, potential role players.
    I like the idea of using ingame footage of the players instead of "real world" videos of the QBs.
    Also, I stated this before in a thread on OS, EA could make use of their NCAA license for Madden.
    Wouldn't it be cool to see your rookie QB presented in his NCAA uniform performing some moves? Currently, they have some generic video playing for rookies.
    AFAIK, EA still holds the license to logos etc. for the NCAA teams.
    I wish that they would at least take a fraction of these ideas.
    The idea of better stat tracking, post season awards, and the top 100 is awesome, and it gives users some validation as to how good their players have played. The idea of drafting someone and getting them in the top 10 would be such a cool feeling.
    Also the aspect of taking what EA did with presentation, and taking it to the next generation is phenomenal. Once again, the in-depth stat banner is on point! The real playoff presentation, exceptional, different broadcast presentation is simple yet awesome, around the league look in is absolutely brilliant.
    I hope hope hope:y220: that EA sees this and tries to steer their CFM direction this way.
    And if they added custom draft classes, I would be upset either :05:
    First of all thanks for taking the time too write all that. It was an excellent read.
    The graphics you created were also fantastic, especially love the Wilson and Peterson one. It's the small things which makes things great and that would be a valuable addition to the presentation side. So many more things I could praise you for.
    Well done my friend, I'm sure this will get noticed by EA.
    DeuceDouglas, this is all absolutely awesome.
    If they could implement only a quarter of the ideas you have, they would have an amazing experience. Right now everything seems flat.
    This is a cool write up. Sums up alot I'd like to see improved as well.
    Beside of that there are a few points.
    On certain things, I feel like it's still too much menus, where it could be way more than that. The draft for example. How about a real broadcast to a certain point? Seeing the hall, the crowd and the players stepping up to the stage in the mix with the menus?
    Also the combine. Man, I'd love to go to the combine to see the players, and have a stats tracker following through it.
    Would even love to watch some games, but I know that might be way too much of a wish. But still delegate some scouts to go to a game per week to get an idea of what the next superstars could be would be way more than just clicking through grades. For me that was always the easiest way to get it done.
    However, I think that is a great write up and I hope some EA guys see this thread and may take some inspiration out of it.
    I like literally everything on this list. Honestly nothing wrong with it. But to add one more thing to it, and specifically the injuries part, we need to be able to edit in injuries to players. Im thinking about this specifically in the "suspensions" mindset, so that we can edit in an injury to a player, even if "personal reasons" or something to emulate a suspension, because EA will never add that in due to NFL restrictions.
    DeuceDouglas
    When it comes to franchise, some of my fondest memories come from moments like contemplating for a few minutes about a fourth round draft pick between a running back and wide receiver I'd scouted, finally deciding on the running back and then hearing the crowd erupt with cheers of approval and going on to find out I'd just drafted my new offensive cornerstone. Madden has come a long way in a lot of areas but it just feels like franchise has really lost that vigor and has become something more shallow and restrictive but that's not really what I'm here to talk about. I won't be discussing what does or doesn't constitute an overhaul or much of my thoughts on the mode as whole. What I'm going to do is "rebuild" Connected Franchise into something that I wish it was or could be. I'm basically going to go through the process of a CFM season and hit on key points that I feel could use improvement and explaining how and why they can be improved as well as providing some new additions. I'll also be providing mockups of what some of these improvements could look like in-game to create a better impression of what they might entail. This is something I've done a few times before for both presentation as well as CFM so if you've seen those, this will be something that is similar.
    To preface, I will be speaking from the perspective of an offline solo player and someone who wants their experience be something that is as deep, realistic and immersive as possible. I've done my best to try and provide multiple options in places where things might be overwhelming for the average user but that's something that will differ for everyone so it was a bit difficult. My main goal is to achieve a CFM experience where each type of player whether casual or hardcore can feel like they're getting the most out of their CFM experience. I'm going to shy away from talking about anything to do with gameplay as I view that as a separate entity to franchise however I will be discussing some things that would affect gameplay and, in my opinion, have a positive affect on the longevity of CFM. Just a warning, this is going to be a very lengthy post with a lot of words so if that's not your thing I apologize but there will be plenty of pictures along the way so it won't all just be one big wall of text and if you just want to go through and check those out, you'll get a decent idea of what I'm getting at as well. And with all the pictures, click for the full-size. Alright, enough with the intro, on to the goods...

    Let's start with the preseason. Probably the most commonly skipped item in all of CFM and rightly so. I used to play every preseason game back in the Madden 2004 days and even into M12. The problem is that somewhere down the line, the little incentive there was to play them was lost. There isn't many ways to spice up preseason games and I'm not looking to make them anything more than they are which is exhibition games predominantly played by backups.
    90-man Rosters
    Off-season NFL rosters allow for 90 players while Madden currently allows for only 75. It may not seem like much adding another 15 players to the bottom of your roster but for those that want even more ability to tinker with their roster it gives them that ability while more importantly being authentic to real life. Other things that could come along with this is increased draft class pools and an increased free agent pool which would both be nice pluses.
    Realistic Cut Dates
    This one pretty much goes along with the expanded rosters. It wouldn't make sense to add more players for preseason if you didn't get a decent chance to play with them. The NFL has two cut downs during preseason, one to 75 after the third preseason weekend and then the final cutdown to 53 prior to the start of the regular season. I wouldn't want to completely eliminate the current option so an option maybe with a few different choices of weekly, one-stage (Week 4 only), and two-stage (Authentic) could be made.
    Multi-Team Depth Charts

    I don't know if this would make preseason more fun, so to speak, but I think it would definitely make it more practical and functional. The idea here is that as the user you'd be able to create unique depth charts to represent each "team" that may take the field during a preseason game. So to the example, you can see there's a first team, second team, third team, etc. To go with this, prior to each game you would choose the number of series each team would play before being subbed out. So rather than seeing your starters come out at halftime and your starting CB's and WR's in on Nickel and 4WR sets, you'd now have full control of who is playing, when they're playing and for how long they're playing during preseason. This is something that would also work well paired with Play The Moment. Say you're still not really interested in playing the preseason, you could play one series with each team while simming everything in between and still get a look at virtually your entire roster in a minimal amount of time.
    Position Coach Suggestions

    I'll get to the coaching staff later but this could be something that both helps the user as well as adds an additional element to who you hire as coaches. The better a position coach is, the better he is at identifying and ranking players according to their value. The green circles indicate who the position coach recommends that you make sure you keep while red X's would be players that he suggests you definitely cut.
    Waiver Wire

    This isn't exclusively a preseason item but this would be the first place you'd encounter it so I figured I'd put it here. This is something that in preseason could be quite overwhelming as there would be the first roster cuts that would put somewhere around 480 players available for claim. What I'd suggest for the preseason is that immediately following cuts you're presented with something similar to a View Roster screen with all the players cut from other teams all in one place and sortable by position with a checkbox so that you could easily see any players you may potentially want to claim. Same goes for final cuts as there'd be an even higher number of players as well as a more valuable pool. Also you'll again notice in the screenshot the green circle and red X signifying that your position coach is either recommending or discouraging you to claim a player.
    Choosing Preseason Opponents
    This was always one of my favorite things from past Madden's. It's a little thing but would be a colossal improvement over playing the exact same preseason opponents (and often division foes) for the entirety of your franchise. I always used to use this to play the SB champs, the team with the #1 overall pick, and teams that were really active in free agency. It would be another way to let users play the way they want to rather than being restricted by static opponents or even random ones.

    This one is a bit harder for me because I think that I may have a different view of how I'd like regular season to play out than others. For me personally, I'd like to have the regular season focus almost strictly on the games. I'd prefer to leave the off-season roster management type stuff like re-signings to the off-season and have the regular season majorly focus on playing games as well as week-to-week team management. Now the issue with this train of thought is that the games have to make you feel like you're actually progressing through a living season and not just playing a series of consecutive Play Now games. To do this I'm going to focus mainly on playstyles, injuries and presentation.

    This is the other big one when it comes to week-to-week type things. I'm glad they finally did something about injuries this year but I'm not exactly fond of how they did it. Giving XP boosts for opting to start backups and the static nature of how injuries are handled doesn't make much sense to me and isn't something I'm a fan of. A few things here:
    More Injury Variety
    More sprains, strains, bruises, contusions and just overall more variety. Injuries like broken collarbones are far too common and I don't feel as if there as many of those nagging and intermediate injuries as there should be. I also feel like there should be a good number of injuries available to each body part (hands, shoulders, feet, etc.) to go along with the expanded injury ratings that I'll talk about later.
    Wear-and-Tear/Season Stamina Effect
    This is another thing that I think would help convey a feeling of progressing through a season although maybe in a less noticeable fashion. Think something similar to Fight Night or MVP Baseball. The idea being that each player has a Season Stamina that is separate but coincides with game stamina. The goal is to create something that represents the wear and tear of an NFL season while providing an effect on gameplay based on what happens over the course of each game and throughout the season.
    I'm not going to do a good job describing this but I'll try to use a running back as an example. Let's say in week one he starts at 100% and you give him 40 carries. After the game his season stamina falls to something in like the 60's or 70's and starts to regenerate based on how many days before the teams next game. By the time you reach the game he should be back to around the high 90's where as if he only had 20 carries or didn't take many hits he'd likely be back at 100%. Over the course of the season it becomes harder to get back to that 100% threshold and the max that a player can get back to begins to drop. The affect this would have is that the further the player falls in Season Stamina, the more it starts to affect certain attributes. So let's say you're going into the postseason with your workhorse running back and he's only at 80-85% maybe that takes a couple points off his injury and stamina rating so he fatigues quicker in-game and is at a little bit higher of an injury risk. The lower you go the more attributes that become affected and physical attributes start to become minorly affected as well. Also to clarify, this wouldn't be something that would mean if your player was at 85% that he would have 85% stamina when you started the game. He would have 100% per normal but he may fatigue faster than normal if the situation calls for it.
    This would be something that would emulate the grind of an NFL season as well as helping represent things like short weeks for Thursday night games or teams fresh off of a bye. It would also present the user with roster management decisions when it comes to maybe resting players for the playoffs or in blowouts. For those that don't want to have to deal with or manage around this, put in an On/Off "Fatigue Effect" option to disable it.
    Injury Timeline
    This is the big one for me and kind of goes along with Injury Variety. Like I said before, I like that they did something with injuries but I'm not a fan of how they've done it. I don't like the idea that it's always 2 weeks before a player is scheduled to be that you have the option to play him. This isn't dynamic or realistic and takes a lot of the intrigue away from dealing with injuries. What I'd propose is starting when a player is injured in-game, you get a report on what part of the body is injured and what the severity is rather than a specific injury. In some cases where it's a very minor injury the specific injury could be mentioned along with any potential attribute reductions i.e. dislocated finger, ready to return, -4 CTH. After the game the player is re-evaluated and you're given a report on the specific injury and length of recovery and the timetable for his return. If the player returns to play in your game, he stands a higher chance of the injury being less severe but a chance still remains that he may miss a couple of weeks.
    Now once the game ends you receive a full eval on the player and the injury is diagnosed and you receive the minimum number of weeks he is out. Once that number is up, the player enters the recovery portion where the player then becomes listed as either doubtful, questionable, or probable. Each of those designations comes with an attribute reduction based on the injury as well as the designation. Doubtful comes with the most severe reductions, questionable is slightly less severe and probable is the least severe and could have minimal to no reductions. One key thing here is that even for a lot of the more minor injuries, players still have to go through some sort of recovery period so even if the player gets injured and can still play, he may not be completely 100% for a few weeks. More serious, long-term injuries would likely forego the recovery process and have a more finite timetable for return to make sure the player is completely 100% when coming back. Another thing that could be done with this is choosing whether or not a player practices during a week where he is suffering from an injury creating a bit of a risk/reward scenario. Do you push to practice him and try to earn full XP while risking an injury setback? Or do you sit him, only earn half or less XP to try and put him in the best position to play that week?
    Expanded Injury Ratings

    One, all-encompasing injury rating is extremely antiquated and doesn't do a good job of giving players any sort of identity when it comes to their injury profile. This would look to change that. I really like what 2K does with their injury system and I think it's something that would carry over well to Madden. Assign injury ratings and possibly a Durability rating to each major body part (head, shoulders, elbows, hands, back, hips, knees, ankles and feet). You could get a bit more intricate and have INJ ratings for both left and right sides but I don't think that would be necessary. Even the first example seems like a bit much so in the example I left it to the head, arms, knees, feet, and back. This is something that would add to each players identity as well as be something that would add a little bit more intrigue to rookie scouting.
    Multiple Injuries
    This one goes with the last two. Allow players to accumulate more than just one injury. If they're playing through a sprained knee make it possible for them to suffer another injury like a sprained ankle or broken finger. Players suffering through multiple injuries could see ratings reductions in multiple areas because of those injuries and make a rating like Toughness play a greater role in the game. It would also make things a bit more dynamic on the injury front.


    As mentioned before something that is very important is ramping up the feel and atmosphere of playoff games to be something more than the average game. If you make every game have that "rock concert" feeling that they're trying to sell then the games that actually need to have that kind of intensity lose some of their vigor. I won't really get into atmosphere but that is something that also needs a lot of attention when it comes to separating itself when it comes to playoff games. But as to the example here, I'd like to see more stat overlays that reflect season numbers as well as broadcast overlays that let you know you're in the playoffs. Throw in some things like camera angles and replays that are unique to the postseason and playoff games start to feel a bit more special.
    Postseason Awards

    This is another thing that gets buried within the menus that I'd like to bring to the forefront just to keep the user more in tune with what's happening around their league. The idea is that there would be a stage somewhere following the end of the regular season where the user could cycle through the yearly awards and get a look at the players stats that earned them their honors. It's a small thing but would be a nice touch to keep players aware of the big awards without them being buried in menus or limited by the newsfeed.

    On to the lifeblood of any franchise mode IMO, the off-season. If that first sentence didn't tell you, the off-season is probably my favorite part of playing a franchise. There have been a few things you may have noticed that I haven't mentioned too much of yet like XP, Goals, and Scouting which have been more regular season things but I'll get to those and how I think they should be handled here.
    Off-Season Hub

    I talked about the menus before and one thing I'd like to see when it comes to the off-season is a centralized hub/checklist that takes you through each stage of the off-season. This is something that was done in the older Madden's and is much easier and convenient to navigate. You can see above each stage of the off-season I will be going through.
    Retirements
    Nothing really to add here but I'd definitely change how the user is notified of retirements. They don't need to be buried or clutter up the transaction log and the news feed will never be able to keep up with them all so I'd do something similar to the way they used to be and what I suggested for the waiver wire. Just make this the first stage of the off-season and take the user to a View Roster type screen where all retirements can be seen in one place and sortable by All and by position.

    The first thing that I think of when it comes to scouting is shallow. The biggest thing I want to add is the ability to have more depth. More information, more variables, more everything. I also want to add some elements that add a bit of immersion on an outside level as well. And the single most important thing is allowing the user to tailor their experience to their preferred depth and accessibility. I don't want scouting to be this tedious process where you have to sift through and work for every bit of information if that's not something you want to do.
    Coach Evaluations

    I recently came across images from the Raiders 2010 Coaching Staff Draft Evaluations and going through the images and seeing how their coaches graded and scouted players was pretty cool and is something that I think would translate well to Madden especially if they were to add coaching staffs. The way I'd think of it is essentially an expanded version of the Xbox/PS2 scouting. You get some blurbs and statements about the pros and cons of the player as well as projections on where that player might fit on your current roster as well as short term and long term projections on the players overall ability.
    Player Grades

    The fact that we only get to scout the three best attributes is pretty absurd to me. It's not a good way to get a unique profile of a player or even allow the user to know the information they might want to know about a given player. I'd like to see this expanded to where you have the option to scout all relevant attributes to the position so you can get a more full player profile. Scouted attributes for each position would be something similar to this:

    QB (THP, SAC, MAC, DAC, PAC, TOR)
    RB (CAR, CTH, TRK, SPM, JKM, SFA, ELU, BCV, PBK, RBK (FB))
    WR (CTH, SPM, JKM, CAR, RTE, CIT, SPC, RLS, KR)
    TE (CTH, RBK, RTE, CIT)
    OL (RBK, PBK, IMP)
    DL (PWM, FNM, BKS, PUR, PRC, TAK)
    LB (TAK, POW, PWM, FNM, BKS, PUR, MCV, ZCV, PRC)
    DB (PRC, MCV, ZCV, PRS, TAK, CTH)
    K (KPW, KAC)
    P (KPW, KAC)
    Medical Evaluation

    This goes along with the expanded injury system I laid out. When scouting a player you'd receive a look at his injury profile along with an overall medical grade. The higher the grade, the more sound his health. The lower the grade and it could be a possibility of a consistently injured player or a sign of something that may potentially derail or end his career.
    Projections & Mock Drafts

    Now this wouldn't exactly all be a part of scouting a player, but would still be something that would show up on his scouting player card. Every year once the off-season hits the first thing you hear about is every analysts mock drafts. Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Mike Mayock, everyone. Everyone and their mother mocks the draft and this is something I wouldn't mind seeing represented in Madden. This is something I've mocked this up before to a further extent but I don't think it needs to be as in-depth as that where I had each analyst grade players on each attribute. I think having each analyst simply have a projection as well as a first round mock would do the job. It would be mostly aesthetic but one of those cool little things to see and watch while also being somewhat relevant to what you're doing. And with this you don't necessarily need the analysts to be real NFL people like Kiper, McShay, Mayock, etc. As cool as that would be they could create their own analysts with their own "personalities" when it comes to their mock drafts and assessments which I think would be kind of cool for something like this. In addition and probably more importantly than this, you'd get projections from your position coach as part of his coach evaluation and you'd also have a scouting department or agency that would give you projections as well. So in total you'd have five different projections that could range all over the place and it is something that's a bit more expansive and mysterious than the current projection system.
    College Stats

    This is another kind of aesthetic thing that could add to the rookies scouting card. Even if mostly aesthetic it would be a cool thing to see a players college stats as well as potentially being used to hint at players trending upward, downward and so on.
    Combine/Pro-Days

    Only thing here really is an option for non-static Combine data i.e. 4.32 40-time doesn't always equal 97 SPD and 44 reps doesn't always equal 97 STR, etc. A potential remedy for this could also be adding Pro-Days so that a player has two separate forms of data tied to him so there is a little bit more of a mystery there. This would also allow the game the emulate the scenario of players missing, skipping or not being invited to the combine limiting the amount of physical data you have on the player. The main thing is making there be a bit of mystery behind the numbers and at least having the option to make them a bit tougher to read.

    This is a tough one. The biggest issue that kills free agency for me is the fact that it's so easy to get any player I want with no trouble at all. So outside of the realm of AI and CPU aggressiveness I'm not sure really how to improve free agency. The main thing I want to feel is the sense of fighting for players and it might sound strange but I think it's actually more fun when you get beat out and lose certain guys you're bidding for. Obviously you don't want signing good players to be impossible but it should be something that feels rewarding and in my opinion that's something that greatly lacks when it comes to Madden.
    Restricted Free Agents
    Pretty straightforward and should honestly be a necessity when it comes to an NFL franchise mode. This is something every team deals with every single year and should be properly represented, not much else to say.
    Signing Free Agents
    Like I said before this is tough. This isn't something that hasn't really ever been done well in my opinion and is something that's really hard to create something both fun and realistic. I liked the old system with days where as you were in the free agency screen you could offer contracts but after a certain amount of time the day would advance. I also liked the timed bidding that M12 had but the problem with both was that they could both be gamed pretty easily taking most of the fun out of it.
    It's not entirely authentic but I like the idea of some kind of visit system where you're alloted one or two visits (options for more) per day and you have to prioritize and try to schedule the guys you want the most as quickly as possible to enter negotiations. Some guys might sign on a visit with their first or second team, some might take multiple visits and then mull all the offers before choosing one. It would be far from perfect but one of my biggest issues with FA is the fact that you're given so much freedom and control over everything and you never get a sense that you're at risk of losing out on someone and I think this could help with that.
    Going back to the day-by-day and the timed bidding system, I think both could work well if they were expanded a bit to be more dynamic. The big problem with the day-by-day system is that CPU teams would only offer contracts and players would only sign when the day advanced. And the big problem with the bidding in M12 was that you could easily just stalk the timer and guarantee that you'd pretty much always get who you wanted. I think a combination of these two systems could work well with some tweaks. I think if you're going to have a timer it has to be turned off or have the option to be turned off to maintain some integrity. I also think that having situations where bids are accepted and bidding ends in the middle of the timer. I think not being able to see other teams offers is also a key to making things a bit more interesting. Obviously you have to have a ballpark but showing their exact contract details or letting the user know they're the leading candidate is a bit too "hand-holdy" for me.
    Free agency is a really tough thing that would take a lot of tuning and honestly I don't really have a solid solution for it. I just know it's something that could definitely be improved upon to be something more exciting and rewarding for the user.
    Roster Strategy
    Within the current system I'd like to see some sort of roster strategy similar to what The Show has with options like Rebuilding, Win Now, etc. When it comes to free agency, a rebuilding team will look for younger players with upside while a Win Now team would be more willing to spend big bucks on a highly rated, aging veteran. This could also be something that extends to trades as teams that were rebuilding would be looking to acquire more draft picks and young players while another may be willing to part with those things. This is something that would also benefit users who simulate as they could set a path or direction for their team and have the AI act accordingly without having to worry too much.
    Team Traits
    This is something I'd like to see for all parts of the off-season but I'll talk about it here. Traits like Free Agency Aggressiveness, Draft Pick Strategy, Draft Trade Strategy, etc. would give teams a more uniqueness that they currently lack. You'd see teams like the Packers being extremely passive in free agency and building through the draft while other teams like the Redskins would be big spenders every year. If GM's were ever added these traits could be applied to them rather than the teams adding another element of depth to the off-season.
    Free Agency Difficulty
    This could be something given to the user to tailor the experience to their liking. Easy would be basic free agency without much trouble, Normal would make teams a bit more aggressive and players a bit harder to compete for, Hard would make teams very aggressive in going after their players and more willing to outbid teams for players they really wanted. The one thing I really want when it comes to free agency is for it to feel rewarding and challenging and something like this could go a long way in allowing the user to decide how easy or hard they want this part to be.

    This would be where I'd like to see the majority of your teams progression take place. I'd like to see progression take a turn from having such a huge focus on goals to having more of a focus on player potential, coaching staffs, and the off-season programs. That doesn't mean that what you do during the regular season would be null and void, it just means that the bulk of the XP that you gained would be gained here. Each of the three phases would play out more or less the same and would vary in length of days. Basically the idea would be that each day you'd have a schedule of practice activities (Red Zone, 11-on-11's, 1-on-1's, 9-on-7's, 7-on-7's, etc.) which would be the same across the board for every team.
    So my initial idea was rather than have players earn global XP available to use on anything, having them earn XP towards specific attributes. Now how this would work in terms of training camp would be that each drill would come with it's own set of attributes that earn XP for each position in a given drill. So let's take 1-on-1's, DL would have a chance to earn things like BS, PWM, and FMV while OL would have a chance to earn XP towards PBK or RBK. Conversely, a WR would have a chance to earn towards CTH, RTE, and CIT while a DB would earn XP towards AWR/PRC and MCV. The amount of XP players would earn day-to-day wouldn't be much but would add up over time. This is obviously more restrictive so it wouldn't be for everyone but I think it would be much better than the anything goes nature currently but I would definitely want to have the option there for players to be able to spend XP however they choose.
    Another added element to this would be the ability to have a good or bad practice. Players with higher potential would have a better chance of having good practices which would give them additional XP earned for that day. Same goes for players with low potential, they'd be more susceptible to having bad practices and having the amount of XP they earn reduced. There would also be a normal or average practice where players would receive the base amount of XP based on their position coach and potential. This is where having a good coaching staff would be really beneficial as well as having higher rated coaches would result in better chances for their position group to have good practices. Also players near the top of your depth chart would be more likely to incur either a good or bad practice while players in the middle would be far more likely to see normal results and players near the bottom of your depth chart would be at an increased chance of having poor results to emulate limited reps. You could take this a bit further and have the ability for a player to have a good or bad portion of each practice but I think that might be a little too much.
    In addition to this, each day the user would have the ability to choose a portion of practice to emphasize. I think I'd limit this to being just a training camp thing but it's something that would add some risk/reward to whole thing. The idea is that you'd choose one part of practice to emphasize every day and with that comes the ability to earn both more or less XP. If a player has a good practice then he could earn double XP for whatever is emphasized while if he has a bad practice he suffers a more severe penalty and risks even gaining no XP at all for that portion.
    One final thing with this is the possibility of injuries each day. This would be something the user could turn off as a lot of people wouldn't want to likely deal with injuries during simulation. Depending on the type of practice injuries would be more or less common. Padded practices would come with greater risks of injuries while non-padded would be less of a risk. As far as serious injuries are concerned, they'd be more rare but still possible but the main injuries you would see are nagging type injuries that would keep players from being able to practice for a given number of days. If a player is unable to practice he would automatically be subject to the poor XP earnings until he returned and it would only be earned towards an attribute like AWR/PRC to emulate film/playbook study.
    Users would have the option to have to camp reports either daily, at the end of each phase, or both. Daily reports would show you how each player performed for that given day while the end of phase reports would give you a summary of each player and how well they did over the course of that phase with the number of good and bad practices. This way the user could move as quickly or methodically through each phase and still be just as aware of how each player on his roster is fairing and progressing.
    Rookie Mini-Camp
    Immediately following the draft would be a three-day Rookie Mini-Camp. You'd need a minimum number of rookies to start this phase as they would be the only players participating. The rookies would be made up of your draft picks, UDFA's, and any additional players you choose on a try-out basis. The amount of drills for each practice would be limited and exclusive to the non-contact variety meaning that XP earnings would also be limited. At the end of this phase you'd get a report as well as potential suggestions from position coaches on try-out players possibly worth signing.
    OTA's
    This could either be handled in three blocks of two three-day OTA's and one four-day OTA or to make things easier, one ten-day block of practices. I think if advancing through CFM were to change to a more calendar-esque system that the first option would be best. It would allow for players potentially injured during one of the portions additional days to heal up along with being a bit more realistic but the latter could work as well. Either way you're looking at 10 practices with your entire roster (this is where you could also emulate a player holding out by not attending). This would follow the same format as before of getting reports daily or at the end of each phase.
    Training Camp
    This is where things would amp up. Padded, full-contact practices would come with increased injury risks but this would also be the longest (21 days) and most important portion of off-season training. The whole allotment of drills would be available each day meaning more XP to be gained as well. Position coaches would identify camp battles within position groups that would be highlighted throughout. This would, ideally using the calendar system to advance days, carry into the first couple weeks of preseason adding in potential injury elements of camp injuries keeping them from playing in games and vice versa.

    Expanded Player Card

    This isn't something huge but expanding the player card a bit more would be nice. Having things like career stats show the teams they've played for should be something that is shown. Tracking player accomplishments as well as transactions is also something I'd like to see. Making it all more accessible and easy to find for the user is the biggest thing.
    Player Ratings
    Obviously these are never going to go away so asking for outright hidden ratings is pointless. However in terms of CFM I think it can be argued that doing so can be something that not only adds more of a challenge, but also makes things more realistic in it's own way. So what I'd like to see is three options of viewing player ratings: Hidden, Perceived, and Traditional.
    Hidden
    All non-physical ratings are completely hidden. Physical ratings are represented in combine numbers or by a letter grade. I think combine numbers would do a better job at conveying a more accurate perception than a letter grade which is important. If you have a guy with 99 SPD, you want to know he's fast or strong or whatever. Letter grades can give you the perception that a player is much better or worse at something than he actually is so I'd probably keep those away from physical attributes.
    Perceived
    All ratings are non-exact. This could be done with numbers but I think the easier way to do this would be to break down ratings into letter grades. No +/-'s, just letters. You could take this further by having your position coaches rating them and the better the coach, the more accurate depiction of ratings. Physical attributes would again be viewed as combine numbers with everything else letter grades. The key with the letter grades would be to make their ranges not only overlap but to also have the middle levels have a much wider range than the A's and the F's so that you're still able to fairly easily identify the top-tier players as well as players who aren't worth much at all. It's something that just creates an added element of strategy and challenge when it comes to progressing, cutting, signing, and drafting players and something that I think would make franchise a better experience.
    Traditional
    Traditional, exact ratings. Everything is how it would normally look with all exact numerical ratings for every player.
    The main thing with this is trying to allow as many people to play the way they want to play as possible. By creating more options you have a greater chance of covering and including more of your player base which is something that should always be considered.
    Player Potential
    I want to echo the same sentiments as I did for player ratings here. Player potential is absolutely something I do not ever want to see because it ruins some of the fun of building a roster and developing players. So I'd like to see the same type of option as I mentioned for player ratings for player potential.
    With that, I like the idea of dynamic player potential but as with many other things, I'm not a fan of the implementation. Basing something as important as a players development trait on things like weekly and/or yearly awards doesn't make too much sense to me. I don't necessarily mind the idea of having a players potential boosted or reduced based on their performance but I think it should be one of the lowest things that affects it. What I wouldn't mind seeing is a slightly more restricted player potential but something that is still dynamic. Instead of having static Poor or Superstar type development traits I'd like to see more career oriented player potential categories. A couple of examples:


    • Flash in the Pan: A player that has average or poor bumps up to superstar potential for one or two seasons but then falls back to average or poor
    • Late Bloomer: A player that starts with Average to Poor potential but then bumps up later in his career
    • Boom or Bust: A player who's potential could be entirely based on something like a coaching staff or his performance in his first training camp
    • Fast Rise Early Demise: A player that starts with Good Potential and quickly bumps up to Superstar but loses it all
    • Journey Man: A player that constantly bumps between Good and Below Average potential. Good enough to stay in the league, not good enough to be more than an average player

    Those are just a few examples but it's something that could maintain that dynamic element while following a more baseline career curve for players rather than potentially having them all over the place based on goals and performance. It's not a perfect method but it's something that I'd feel is more realistic than the current system and something that would be fun given that potential was hidden and these unexpected dips and rises would be allowed to happen organically.

    And with that, you're into another season of CFM. I completely understand that a lot of this is probably stuff that doesn't appeal to a lot of people as well as that none of this is stuff that will just appear in Madden overnight and to add everything here would probably take years upon years. I'm not expecting all or any of this to be in M18 or ever end up in Madden but I wanted to lay out the type of CFM that I would enjoy playing and what I'd want it to look like. Obviously it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea but if you disagree with anything here I encourage you to post your thoughts on any areas that you'd like see fleshed out or options you'd like to have. If there's any questions about a certain section that is confusing or that you'd like me to expand on, I'll do my best to clear any confusion and lay it out in greater detial. Also, anything else that you'd like to see mocked up like I've done here just let me know and I'll try to come up with something. Like I said before, my main goal is to have CFM become something that can be enjoyed by both the most hardcore franchise player as well as the average casual gamer.
    If you've made it this far I really appreciate it and hope you've enjoyed what you've read and seen. Let me know your thoughts and have a great day! Thank you for your time.

    I just read through this again and I was wondering when I'll be able to buy this game...
    *sigh*
    itsmb8
    I like literally everything on this list. Honestly nothing wrong with it. But to add one more thing to it, and specifically the injuries part, we need to be able to edit in injuries to players. Im thinking about this specifically in the "suspensions" mindset, so that we can edit in an injury to a player, even if "personal reasons" or something to emulate a suspension, because EA will never add that in due to NFL restrictions.

    Completely agree and I hoped that would have been something they included in full-player editing. It would have worked perfectly before but with the tweaks they made to injuries this year with the two-week thing it wouldn't work as well but would still obviously be better than nothing and a way to workaround to represent something that is extremely common.
    So I made this thread prior to the release of Madden 17 when we knew what was coming in M17 but not exactly how well it worked. My plan was always to not only come up with new ideas for CFM but to also take a look at what's already in-game and come up with ways it can be improved and that's what I'm looking to do here in regards to Gameplanning.
    First off, let's take a look at what Gameplanning was described as in the pre-release blog:
    Know your opponent’s tendencies every week then pick the right drills to attack and counter those tendencies in game. This new level of strategy delivers more variety and more fun when preparing for your next opponent, whether it’s a user or the CPU. Once you’re in game, expect to see a team boost for those plays you practiced helping you earn that critical score or a defensive stand to secure the win.

    Now that sounds pretty good and this was the one new feature for CFM that I thought was a pretty good idea. However, like many features it's something that sounds good on the surface but fails to deliver once you dig deeper and realize how it actually works.
    So their description above is more or less accurate, or at the very least isn't entirely false with the exception of the "whether it's a user or the CPU" part, but it is still very misleading. If you're playing a solo franchise against the CPU, you're going to find that tendencies aren't tracked at all for CPU teams and the data shown is essentially made up. On top of that, the tendency data is also static meaning that whether your playing a team in 2016 or 2046, their splits and tendencies will display exactly the same every time you play them. Obviously this a huge problem and almost entirely defeats the purpose of the feature for the offline (or solo CFM) crowd.
    As for the online side, it does work a bit better. Data is tracked so long as the game is played and will seemingly fluctuate depending on how the user is playing. However after some testing, I found out that the only data truly tracked is first down plays and that anything that happens on 2nd or 3rd down is disregarded. Now that's not the end of the world, first down is an important down and what happens there largely dictates what you will or won't be forced to do next. Regardless, it still leaves an extremely major hole in what they're attempting to, as well as indicating, they provide. In addition to this, the data also does not accumulate over the course of the season. What this means is that each week when you get the data for your opponent, it is strictly based on first down play calls from their previous game completely ignoring anything that happened before it. Again, this is something that leaves a huge hole in what they're trying, or at least should be trying, to accomplish and turns what should be something really deep and could be great into a pretty deplorable feature. I'll get into the other aspects of Gameplanning below but I wanted to expose it's biggest flaw first before I get into how it could and/or needs to be better.

    Going to stick to the topic of tendency tracking first because I feel it's the most important aspect of Gameplanning as well as what needs the most work. Now tendency tracking isn't something that is overly complicated to understand and with suggestions already in place there's really no reason for it to be as shallow as it is. The goal should be to provide the user with a detailed look at what their opponent has done so that they can be prepared as well as formulate a gameplan to attack and defend their opponent.
    Down & Distance
    This is the obvious one. Expand the tendency tracking to represent the full spectrum of situations to include 2nd/3rd & long, medium, and short as well as additional scenarios like Red Zone, Goal Line, and an overall run/pass ratio. This would provide a much better picture of your opponent and would prepare you for your game in far greater detail. Now this may seem like a bit of a overload but I'd imagine this is exactly what kind of information that someone in an online franchise would love to have.
    Concepts
    Only improvement here would just be expanding the concepts to more than three that are currently shown on the offensive side. Show percentages for all the concepts that an opponent runs for both runs and passes. This isn't something that really needs to be broken down by down or distance and I think a simple percentage for each side would suffice. This would be something more expanded for the defensive side of things where it could provide man/zone percentages as well as blitz percentages and even blitz tendencies as well.
    Run/Pass Tendencies
    This would also be a very simple visual aid to show the user certain tendencies that their opponent may have. Have a chart showing the percentage of runs that go left, right, up the middle, etc. You could expand this to outside left, inside left, middle, inside right and outside right but that wouldn't be essential to the purpose. You could throw in YPC averages into each slot as well to show how effective your opponent is at running in each direction. Also show a "spray chart" of pass tendencies that shows the direction and distance in which passes go. Show target distribution, carry distribution and little nuance stats that just give you that much more information about your opponent.
    Personnel/Formations
    This is another aspect I'd like to see represented and that's knowing how often the opponent uses certain personnel and lines up in certain formations. This would again provide you with a good idea of what to expect prior to playing. In addition to showing how often personnel packages and formations were used, there would also be run/pass ratios attached to them. You could go even further and break it down again by down and distance but I think that would admittedly be a quite a bit of information to handle. The idea would just to give you more general knowledge of how the opponent plays and what you can expect. Alternatively you could show how the opponents defense reacts to certain personnel as well showing their counter personnel as well as man/zone percentages and blitz percentages given the personnel they're facing.
    Statistics
    This is more of an aesthetic thing but I always enjoyed in the older Maddens the ability to click the right stick and get a matchup breakdown that showed both teams stats and where they (and you) ranked in the league and this is a good place to do it. As it currently stands you only get a couple rankings and I'd like to see this expanded to showing YPG (total, rushing, passing) for both sides of the ball along with where they rank in the league. You could also throw in a couple extra stats like sacks and INT as well. Also, I like that they show the top performer but I'd like to know what he's done during the season so show their stats as well. This is also something that easily keeps the user aware of things going on in their league without really having to look for it which is always a big plus for immersion IMO.
    Now I haven't mentioned how any of this would work with the CPU and I'm not sure there's any pretty way to go about tracking stuff for nothing but simulated games. But earlier in the OP I talked about Dynamic Gameplans and what they could bring to CFM in regards to CPU playcalling and I believe it's something that could also work together very well into Gameplanning for the solo CFM or offline player. When you're playing another user, there's hard data based on actual games to base it off of. With the CPU all you really have is the sim stats but fortunately for a lot of what I've described above it can easily be manufactured simply by using the Gameplan Playbooks. The playbooks show how likely a team is to run vs. pass, run a certain direction or use a certain concept so most of the data would already be provided by the playbook itself. And not only is this data actually usable but it is far more relevant on a week-to-week basis which is something this feature completely lacks for the offline crowd. Obviously something like Dynamic Gameplans would be a full fledged feature but even with the base feature that is currently implemented it would still work just fine. Ratios and other stats could be directly pulled and provide the user with reliable data for every game rather than just fabricating it and having it be completely static.
    Enhanced Stat-Tracking
    So having all of this info for your opponent is great but I think it is equally important to have all of this information tracked and easily visible to the user as well. It might just seem like something for the stat nerds but the way I look at it is that it's also an easy way to identify and be aware of your own playstyle and tendencies. This benefits users in two ways: it shows them their potential strengths and weaknesses from a gameplay and philosophy standpoint as well as showing what portions of their roster they could stand to improve to help bolster those strengths and tighten up any weaknesses.
    Injuries
    It's been said by the devs that injuries aren't fun so this would be a long shot and more for the hardcore CFM player but having an option to have players get injured while practicing would be nice. Adds a bit more risk/reward in a couple of different facets. On one hand you risk any player at anytime getting injured which is something we see every year (hey Dante Fowler and Teddy Bridgewater). Having that risk of a player getting injured during practice and missing that weeks game or (far less likely) the season is something that adds some dynamism while placing a greater emphasis and priority on roster management as well. And secondly, it could propose another "big decision" where you're faced with the proposition of practicing an injured player and risking further injury or sitting him and sacrificing development time for health while a player lower on the depth chart gets their reps. Added bonus is another way to have OL injuries occur as well.
    So I think that just about covers everything I had on my mind though. If you guys have any ideas or additional suggestions on how you'd like to see Gameplanning handled and/or tweaked, I'd love to hear them. Also, if there's any other features within CFM that you'd be interested in taking a look at, let me know. I know this is a ton to read as well so as always I appreciate your time if you've made it this far.
    With regards to injuries, I think they should be implemented into practice as well...players get hurt in practice in real life and have to be held out of practice due to injuries...thus decreasing their ability to improve (earn XP).
    Fantastic stuff, Deuce. I'd hire you instantly. Franchise Mode is embarrassing right now, and should be EA's prime target for 18. Another year of what they have now is not going to cut it. I went back to playing Madden 07 (original XBOX) because that franchise mode has some life to it. It also has a great UI design. I've always said that if the team just took a day and watched NFL Network and took notes, they'd realize they're missing almost everything that makes the NFL entertaining to follow. I'm sure they have ideas and awareness to some extent, but until we see that implemented, I gotta wonder why they can't achieve what their peers have. The human element of football is sorely missing. The mode feels cold. I've sent them a lot of these same ideas. Up to them now.
    Lexicon
    Fantastic stuff, Deuce. I'd hire you instantly. Franchise Mode is embarrassing right now, and should be EA's prime target for 18. Another year of what they have now is not going to cut it. I went back to playing Madden 07 (original XBOX) because that franchise mode has some life to it. It also has a great UI design. I've always said that if the team just took a day and watched NFL Network and took notes, they'd realize they're missing almost everything that makes the NFL entertaining to follow. I'm sure they have ideas and awareness to some extent, but until we see that implemented, I gotta wonder why they can't achieve what their peers have. The human element of football is sorely missing. The mode feels cold. I've sent them a lot of these same ideas. Up to them now.

    Complete agree and it's ironic you bring that up because I've done pretty much the same and gone back to Madden 06 for the original Xbox. I was messing around moving the Rams to LA and the relocation process was so much better than what is currently implemented. You can create your own uniforms or stadium (which is admittedly very weak) but you can still do a lot more. And like you mentioned the UI is monumentally better than M17 as well. It still has its warts that any game that has dated 10+ years is going to have and gameplay can't hold a candle to M17 but it is still a really fun game and it's franchise is miles ahead of where CFM currently is IMO.
    DeuceDouglas
    Complete agree and it's ironic you bring that up because I've done pretty much the same and gone back to Madden 06 for the original Xbox. I was messing around moving the Rams to LA and the relocation process was so much better than what is currently implemented. You can create your own uniforms or stadium (which is admittedly very weak) but you can still do a lot more. And like you mentioned the UI is monumentally better than M17 as well. It still has its warts that any game that has dated 10+ years is going to have and gameplay can't hold a candle to M17 but it is still a really fun game and it's franchise is miles ahead of where CFM currently is IMO.

    Have you guys seen some of the new things that they implemented in to the NBA 2k GM and league mode this year? Stuff like league meetings where there may be rule changes every few seasons and new CBA's negotiated. When I first read the new features for 2k's GM mode I remember thinking to myself why can't we get a franchise mode this deep in Madden? Or in any of the EA sports titles for that matter? I've been waiting for them to start expanding on and adding features to give us a deeper franchise experience.
    Shosum13
    Have you guys seen some of the new things that they implemented in to the NBA 2k GM and league mode this year? Stuff like league meetings where there may be rule changes every few seasons and new CBA's negotiated. When I first read the new features for 2k's GM mode I remember thinking to myself why can't we get a franchise mode this deep in Madden? Or in any of the EA sports titles for that matter? I've been waiting for them to start expanding on and adding features to give us a deeper franchise experience.

    I played 2k one night when my wife rented it for me. Got engrossed in setting up my expansion st Louis spirit and only got a couple of short games in. It was free play days for it on xbox a few weeks ago and I played it more. I can't wait to get it for christmas. I go on the 2k app everyday even though I don't own the game to get my free vc. Madden plays better and I don't even watch the nba but I find myself looking forward to that game every year because the franchise is so much more immersive.
    Fabulous post Deuce! I'm a gameplay first and foremost. Always have been. But I figured I'd take a peak at this thread...... You've got me totally captivated by all the possibilities of what a true sports Franchise mode in Madden could possibly be.
    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
    Lots of great ideas. Franchise is just too predictable as it is. A gm or coach of a sports franchise spends a lot of time putting out fires and dealing with unpredictable events. I can draft a qb in my second year and he be my franchise qb for the next 15 years,, guaranteed. Same with rb or any other position. That is not realistic. I know exactly when guys are going to lose attribute points and how much. Irl you wouldn't know. Real players progress and regress individually and at different ages. You may think you drafted a franchise qb who looks good for two years and then regresses, he may suck from the get go or may develop in a few years. Players retire unexpectedly .
    Players can lose physicAl skills at any time. Some adapt to play with their new skills and other can't. Physically, when healthy troy polomalu was still one of the best ss's in the game when he retired. He was slower than his prime and his brain kept telling his body to do things it couldn't which resulted in a lot of errors. This is not just a problem for madden but for all sports video games. I want a gm/coach football sim not a rpg.
    Yeah Duece, I just have to reiterate what everyone else is saying: Amazing post. The dynamic playbooks and injury system were particularly impressive. What's interesting is that many of these ideas have been discussed in one form or another for years but somehow EA has never gotten the memo. They really need to bring in someone with your kind of drive and vision. You've not only exposed the possibilities but have also given them a road map as to how to realize them.
    They could probably never fit all the things you wrote about into the existing game but maybe that just means it's time to start a new franchise. Leave Madden to the MUT players and eSports guys and give sim fans NFL Football 2018. I'm sure I'm one of many that would happily shell out $60 for the type of game you described. Try this on for size: DueceDouglas- Lead Designer of EA Sports NFL '19.
    You just wrote the manual on how EA fixes the Madden Franchise. Talk about handing it to them on a silver platter. I'm sure you'd work for a fraction of what they paid for the exclusive NFL License or the ESPN License they don't use. I wish I could find someone to do my job for me. EA, hire this guy NOW! If the game was like this, it wouldn't leave my console.
    :appl: Standing ovation my man. Not only is this exactly what is needed but the manner that it was presented is EXACTLY what we need when presenting ideas to a Developer from the Community. Well done!
    Will be talking about this on SimStandardRadio next week; and will be giving you credit. Bravo man!
    DeuceDouglas
    When it comes to franchise, some of my fondest memories come from moments like contemplating for a few minutes about a fourth round draft pick between a running back and wide receiver I'd scouted, finally deciding on the running back and then hearing the crowd erupt with cheers of approval and going on to find out I'd just drafted my new offensive cornerstone. Madden has come a long way in a lot of areas but it just feels like franchise has really lost that vigor and has become something more shallow and restrictive but that's not really what I'm here to talk about. I won't be discussing what does or doesn't constitute an overhaul or much of my thoughts on the mode as whole. What I'm going to do is "rebuild" Connected Franchise into something that I wish it was or could be. I'm basically going to go through the process of a CFM season and hit on key points that I feel could use improvement and explaining how and why they can be improved as well as providing some new additions. I'll also be providing mockups of what some of these improvements could look like in-game to create a better impression of what they might entail. This is something I've done a few times before for both presentation as well as CFM so if you've seen those, this will be something that is similar.
    To preface, I will be speaking from the perspective of an offline solo player and someone who wants their experience be something that is as deep, realistic and immersive as possible. I've done my best to try and provide multiple options in places where things might be overwhelming for the average user but that's something that will differ for everyone so it was a bit difficult. My main goal is to achieve a CFM experience where each type of player whether casual or hardcore can feel like they're getting the most out of their CFM experience. I'm going to shy away from talking about anything to do with gameplay as I view that as a separate entity to franchise however I will be discussing some things that would affect gameplay and, in my opinion, have a positive affect on the longevity of CFM. Just a warning, this is going to be a very lengthy post with a lot of words so if that's not your thing I apologize but there will be plenty of pictures along the way so it won't all just be one big wall of text and if you just want to go through and check those out, you'll get a decent idea of what I'm getting at as well. And with all the pictures, click for the full-size. Alright, enough with the intro, on to the goods...

    Let's start with the preseason. Probably the most commonly skipped item in all of CFM and rightly so. I used to play every preseason game back in the Madden 2004 days and even into M12. The problem is that somewhere down the line, the little incentive there was to play them was lost. There isn't many ways to spice up preseason games and I'm not looking to make them anything more than they are which is exhibition games predominantly played by backups.
    90-man Rosters
    Off-season NFL rosters allow for 90 players while Madden currently allows for only 75. It may not seem like much adding another 15 players to the bottom of your roster but for those that want even more ability to tinker with their roster it gives them that ability while more importantly being authentic to real life. Other things that could come along with this is increased draft class pools and an increased free agent pool which would both be nice pluses.
    Realistic Cut Dates
    This one pretty much goes along with the expanded rosters. It wouldn't make sense to add more players for preseason if you didn't get a decent chance to play with them. The NFL has two cut downs during preseason, one to 75 after the third preseason weekend and then the final cutdown to 53 prior to the start of the regular season. I wouldn't want to completely eliminate the current option so an option maybe with a few different choices of weekly, one-stage (Week 4 only), and two-stage (Authentic) could be made.
    Multi-Team Depth Charts

    I don't know if this would make preseason more fun, so to speak, but I think it would definitely make it more practical and functional. The idea here is that as the user you'd be able to create unique depth charts to represent each "team" that may take the field during a preseason game. So to the example, you can see there's a first team, second team, third team, etc. To go with this, prior to each game you would choose the number of series each team would play before being subbed out. So rather than seeing your starters come out at halftime and your starting CB's and WR's in on Nickel and 4WR sets, you'd now have full control of who is playing, when they're playing and for how long they're playing during preseason. This is something that would also work well paired with Play The Moment. Say you're still not really interested in playing the preseason, you could play one series with each team while simming everything in between and still get a look at virtually your entire roster in a minimal amount of time.
    Position Coach Suggestions

    I'll get to the coaching staff later but this could be something that both helps the user as well as adds an additional element to who you hire as coaches. The better a position coach is, the better he is at identifying and ranking players according to their value. The green circles indicate who the position coach recommends that you make sure you keep while red X's would be players that he suggests you definitely cut.
    Waiver Wire

    This isn't exclusively a preseason item but this would be the first place you'd encounter it so I figured I'd put it here. This is something that in preseason could be quite overwhelming as there would be the first roster cuts that would put somewhere around 480 players available for claim. What I'd suggest for the preseason is that immediately following cuts you're presented with something similar to a View Roster screen with all the players cut from other teams all in one place and sortable by position with a checkbox so that you could easily see any players you may potentially want to claim. Same goes for final cuts as there'd be an even higher number of players as well as a more valuable pool. Also you'll again notice in the screenshot the green circle and red X signifying that your position coach is either recommending or discouraging you to claim a player.
    Choosing Preseason Opponents
    This was always one of my favorite things from past Madden's. It's a little thing but would be a colossal improvement over playing the exact same preseason opponents (and often division foes) for the entirety of your franchise. I always used to use this to play the SB champs, the team with the #1 overall pick, and teams that were really active in free agency. It would be another way to let users play the way they want to rather than being restricted by static opponents or even random ones.

    This one is a bit harder for me because I think that I may have a different view of how I'd like regular season to play out than others. For me personally, I'd like to have the regular season focus almost strictly on the games. I'd prefer to leave the off-season roster management type stuff like re-signings to the off-season and have the regular season majorly focus on playing games as well as week-to-week team management. Now the issue with this train of thought is that the games have to make you feel like you're actually progressing through a living season and not just playing a series of consecutive Play Now games. To do this I'm going to focus mainly on playstyles, injuries and presentation.

    This is the other big one when it comes to week-to-week type things. I'm glad they finally did something about injuries this year but I'm not exactly fond of how they did it. Giving XP boosts for opting to start backups and the static nature of how injuries are handled doesn't make much sense to me and isn't something I'm a fan of. A few things here:
    More Injury Variety
    More sprains, strains, bruises, contusions and just overall more variety. Injuries like broken collarbones are far too common and I don't feel as if there as many of those nagging and intermediate injuries as there should be. I also feel like there should be a good number of injuries available to each body part (hands, shoulders, feet, etc.) to go along with the expanded injury ratings that I'll talk about later.
    Wear-and-Tear/Season Stamina Effect
    This is another thing that I think would help convey a feeling of progressing through a season although maybe in a less noticeable fashion. Think something similar to Fight Night or MVP Baseball. The idea being that each player has a Season Stamina that is separate but coincides with game stamina. The goal is to create something that represents the wear and tear of an NFL season while providing an effect on gameplay based on what happens over the course of each game and throughout the season.
    I'm not going to do a good job describing this but I'll try to use a running back as an example. Let's say in week one he starts at 100% and you give him 40 carries. After the game his season stamina falls to something in like the 60's or 70's and starts to regenerate based on how many days before the teams next game. By the time you reach the game he should be back to around the high 90's where as if he only had 20 carries or didn't take many hits he'd likely be back at 100%. Over the course of the season it becomes harder to get back to that 100% threshold and the max that a player can get back to begins to drop. The affect this would have is that the further the player falls in Season Stamina, the more it starts to affect certain attributes. So let's say you're going into the postseason with your workhorse running back and he's only at 80-85% maybe that takes a couple points off his injury and stamina rating so he fatigues quicker in-game and is at a little bit higher of an injury risk. The lower you go the more attributes that become affected and physical attributes start to become minorly affected as well. Also to clarify, this wouldn't be something that would mean if your player was at 85% that he would have 85% stamina when you started the game. He would have 100% per normal but he may fatigue faster than normal if the situation calls for it.
    This would be something that would emulate the grind of an NFL season as well as helping represent things like short weeks for Thursday night games or teams fresh off of a bye. It would also present the user with roster management decisions when it comes to maybe resting players for the playoffs or in blowouts. For those that don't want to have to deal with or manage around this, put in an On/Off "Fatigue Effect" option to disable it.
    Injury Timeline
    This is the big one for me and kind of goes along with Injury Variety. Like I said before, I like that they did something with injuries but I'm not a fan of how they've done it. I don't like the idea that it's always 2 weeks before a player is scheduled to be that you have the option to play him. This isn't dynamic or realistic and takes a lot of the intrigue away from dealing with injuries. What I'd propose is starting when a player is injured in-game, you get a report on what part of the body is injured and what the severity is rather than a specific injury. In some cases where it's a very minor injury the specific injury could be mentioned along with any potential attribute reductions i.e. dislocated finger, ready to return, -4 CTH. After the game the player is re-evaluated and you're given a report on the specific injury and length of recovery and the timetable for his return. If the player returns to play in your game, he stands a higher chance of the injury being less severe but a chance still remains that he may miss a couple of weeks.
    Now once the game ends you receive a full eval on the player and the injury is diagnosed and you receive the minimum number of weeks he is out. Once that number is up, the player enters the recovery portion where the player then becomes listed as either doubtful, questionable, or probable. Each of those designations comes with an attribute reduction based on the injury as well as the designation. Doubtful comes with the most severe reductions, questionable is slightly less severe and probable is the least severe and could have minimal to no reductions. One key thing here is that even for a lot of the more minor injuries, players still have to go through some sort of recovery period so even if the player gets injured and can still play, he may not be completely 100% for a few weeks. More serious, long-term injuries would likely forego the recovery process and have a more finite timetable for return to make sure the player is completely 100% when coming back. Another thing that could be done with this is choosing whether or not a player practices during a week where he is suffering from an injury creating a bit of a risk/reward scenario. Do you push to practice him and try to earn full XP while risking an injury setback? Or do you sit him, only earn half or less XP to try and put him in the best position to play that week?
    Expanded Injury Ratings

    One, all-encompasing injury rating is extremely antiquated and doesn't do a good job of giving players any sort of identity when it comes to their injury profile. This would look to change that. I really like what 2K does with their injury system and I think it's something that would carry over well to Madden. Assign injury ratings and possibly a Durability rating to each major body part (head, shoulders, elbows, hands, back, hips, knees, ankles and feet). You could get a bit more intricate and have INJ ratings for both left and right sides but I don't think that would be necessary. Even the first example seems like a bit much so in the example I left it to the head, arms, knees, feet, and back. This is something that would add to each players identity as well as be something that would add a little bit more intrigue to rookie scouting.
    Multiple Injuries
    This one goes with the last two. Allow players to accumulate more than just one injury. If they're playing through a sprained knee make it possible for them to suffer another injury like a sprained ankle or broken finger. Players suffering through multiple injuries could see ratings reductions in multiple areas because of those injuries and make a rating like Toughness play a greater role in the game. It would also make things a bit more dynamic on the injury front.


    As mentioned before something that is very important is ramping up the feel and atmosphere of playoff games to be something more than the average game. If you make every game have that "rock concert" feeling that they're trying to sell then the games that actually need to have that kind of intensity lose some of their vigor. I won't really get into atmosphere but that is something that also needs a lot of attention when it comes to separating itself when it comes to playoff games. But as to the example here, I'd like to see more stat overlays that reflect season numbers as well as broadcast overlays that let you know you're in the playoffs. Throw in some things like camera angles and replays that are unique to the postseason and playoff games start to feel a bit more special.
    Postseason Awards

    This is another thing that gets buried within the menus that I'd like to bring to the forefront just to keep the user more in tune with what's happening around their league. The idea is that there would be a stage somewhere following the end of the regular season where the user could cycle through the yearly awards and get a look at the players stats that earned them their honors. It's a small thing but would be a nice touch to keep players aware of the big awards without them being buried in menus or limited by the newsfeed.

    On to the lifeblood of any franchise mode IMO, the off-season. If that first sentence didn't tell you, the off-season is probably my favorite part of playing a franchise. There have been a few things you may have noticed that I haven't mentioned too much of yet like XP, Goals, and Scouting which have been more regular season things but I'll get to those and how I think they should be handled here.
    Off-Season Hub

    I talked about the menus before and one thing I'd like to see when it comes to the off-season is a centralized hub/checklist that takes you through each stage of the off-season. This is something that was done in the older Madden's and is much easier and convenient to navigate. You can see above each stage of the off-season I will be going through.
    Retirements
    Nothing really to add here but I'd definitely change how the user is notified of retirements. They don't need to be buried or clutter up the transaction log and the news feed will never be able to keep up with them all so I'd do something similar to the way they used to be and what I suggested for the waiver wire. Just make this the first stage of the off-season and take the user to a View Roster type screen where all retirements can be seen in one place and sortable by All and by position.

    The first thing that I think of when it comes to scouting is shallow. The biggest thing I want to add is the ability to have more depth. More information, more variables, more everything. I also want to add some elements that add a bit of immersion on an outside level as well. And the single most important thing is allowing the user to tailor their experience to their preferred depth and accessibility. I don't want scouting to be this tedious process where you have to sift through and work for every bit of information if that's not something you want to do.
    Coach Evaluations

    I recently came across images from the Raiders 2010 Coaching Staff Draft Evaluations and going through the images and seeing how their coaches graded and scouted players was pretty cool and is something that I think would translate well to Madden especially if they were to add coaching staffs. The way I'd think of it is essentially an expanded version of the Xbox/PS2 scouting. You get some blurbs and statements about the pros and cons of the player as well as projections on where that player might fit on your current roster as well as short term and long term projections on the players overall ability.
    Player Grades

    The fact that we only get to scout the three best attributes is pretty absurd to me. It's not a good way to get a unique profile of a player or even allow the user to know the information they might want to know about a given player. I'd like to see this expanded to where you have the option to scout all relevant attributes to the position so you can get a more full player profile. Scouted attributes for each position would be something similar to this:

    QB (THP, SAC, MAC, DAC, PAC, TOR)
    RB (CAR, CTH, TRK, SPM, JKM, SFA, ELU, BCV, PBK, RBK (FB))
    WR (CTH, SPM, JKM, CAR, RTE, CIT, SPC, RLS, KR)
    TE (CTH, RBK, RTE, CIT)
    OL (RBK, PBK, IMP)
    DL (PWM, FNM, BKS, PUR, PRC, TAK)
    LB (TAK, POW, PWM, FNM, BKS, PUR, MCV, ZCV, PRC)
    DB (PRC, MCV, ZCV, PRS, TAK, CTH)
    K (KPW, KAC)
    P (KPW, KAC)
    Medical Evaluation

    This goes along with the expanded injury system I laid out. When scouting a player you'd receive a look at his injury profile along with an overall medical grade. The higher the grade, the more sound his health. The lower the grade and it could be a possibility of a consistently injured player or a sign of something that may potentially derail or end his career.
    Projections & Mock Drafts

    Now this wouldn't exactly all be a part of scouting a player, but would still be something that would show up on his scouting player card. Every year once the off-season hits the first thing you hear about is every analysts mock drafts. Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Mike Mayock, everyone. Everyone and their mother mocks the draft and this is something I wouldn't mind seeing represented in Madden. This is something I've mocked this up before to a further extent but I don't think it needs to be as in-depth as that where I had each analyst grade players on each attribute. I think having each analyst simply have a projection as well as a first round mock would do the job. It would be mostly aesthetic but one of those cool little things to see and watch while also being somewhat relevant to what you're doing. And with this you don't necessarily need the analysts to be real NFL people like Kiper, McShay, Mayock, etc. As cool as that would be they could create their own analysts with their own "personalities" when it comes to their mock drafts and assessments which I think would be kind of cool for something like this. In addition and probably more importantly than this, you'd get projections from your position coach as part of his coach evaluation and you'd also have a scouting department or agency that would give you projections as well. So in total you'd have five different projections that could range all over the place and it is something that's a bit more expansive and mysterious than the current projection system.
    College Stats

    This is another kind of aesthetic thing that could add to the rookies scouting card. Even if mostly aesthetic it would be a cool thing to see a players college stats as well as potentially being used to hint at players trending upward, downward and so on.
    Combine/Pro-Days

    Only thing here really is an option for non-static Combine data i.e. 4.32 40-time doesn't always equal 97 SPD and 44 reps doesn't always equal 97 STR, etc. A potential remedy for this could also be adding Pro-Days so that a player has two separate forms of data tied to him so there is a little bit more of a mystery there. This would also allow the game the emulate the scenario of players missing, skipping or not being invited to the combine limiting the amount of physical data you have on the player. The main thing is making there be a bit of mystery behind the numbers and at least having the option to make them a bit tougher to read.

    This is a tough one. The biggest issue that kills free agency for me is the fact that it's so easy to get any player I want with no trouble at all. So outside of the realm of AI and CPU aggressiveness I'm not sure really how to improve free agency. The main thing I want to feel is the sense of fighting for players and it might sound strange but I think it's actually more fun when you get beat out and lose certain guys you're bidding for. Obviously you don't want signing good players to be impossible but it should be something that feels rewarding and in my opinion that's something that greatly lacks when it comes to Madden.
    Restricted Free Agents
    Pretty straightforward and should honestly be a necessity when it comes to an NFL franchise mode. This is something every team deals with every single year and should be properly represented, not much else to say.
    Signing Free Agents
    Like I said before this is tough. This isn't something that hasn't really ever been done well in my opinion and is something that's really hard to create something both fun and realistic. I liked the old system with days where as you were in the free agency screen you could offer contracts but after a certain amount of time the day would advance. I also liked the timed bidding that M12 had but the problem with both was that they could both be gamed pretty easily taking most of the fun out of it.
    It's not entirely authentic but I like the idea of some kind of visit system where you're alloted one or two visits (options for more) per day and you have to prioritize and try to schedule the guys you want the most as quickly as possible to enter negotiations. Some guys might sign on a visit with their first or second team, some might take multiple visits and then mull all the offers before choosing one. It would be far from perfect but one of my biggest issues with FA is the fact that you're given so much freedom and control over everything and you never get a sense that you're at risk of losing out on someone and I think this could help with that.
    Going back to the day-by-day and the timed bidding system, I think both could work well if they were expanded a bit to be more dynamic. The big problem with the day-by-day system is that CPU teams would only offer contracts and players would only sign when the day advanced. And the big problem with the bidding in M12 was that you could easily just stalk the timer and guarantee that you'd pretty much always get who you wanted. I think a combination of these two systems could work well with some tweaks. I think if you're going to have a timer it has to be turned off or have the option to be turned off to maintain some integrity. I also think that having situations where bids are accepted and bidding ends in the middle of the timer. I think not being able to see other teams offers is also a key to making things a bit more interesting. Obviously you have to have a ballpark but showing their exact contract details or letting the user know they're the leading candidate is a bit too "hand-holdy" for me.
    Free agency is a really tough thing that would take a lot of tuning and honestly I don't really have a solid solution for it. I just know it's something that could definitely be improved upon to be something more exciting and rewarding for the user.
    Roster Strategy
    Within the current system I'd like to see some sort of roster strategy similar to what The Show has with options like Rebuilding, Win Now, etc. When it comes to free agency, a rebuilding team will look for younger players with upside while a Win Now team would be more willing to spend big bucks on a highly rated, aging veteran. This could also be something that extends to trades as teams that were rebuilding would be looking to acquire more draft picks and young players while another may be willing to part with those things. This is something that would also benefit users who simulate as they could set a path or direction for their team and have the AI act accordingly without having to worry too much.
    Team Traits
    This is something I'd like to see for all parts of the off-season but I'll talk about it here. Traits like Free Agency Aggressiveness, Draft Pick Strategy, Draft Trade Strategy, etc. would give teams a more uniqueness that they currently lack. You'd see teams like the Packers being extremely passive in free agency and building through the draft while other teams like the Redskins would be big spenders every year. If GM's were ever added these traits could be applied to them rather than the teams adding another element of depth to the off-season.
    Free Agency Difficulty
    This could be something given to the user to tailor the experience to their liking. Easy would be basic free agency without much trouble, Normal would make teams a bit more aggressive and players a bit harder to compete for, Hard would make teams very aggressive in going after their players and more willing to outbid teams for players they really wanted. The one thing I really want when it comes to free agency is for it to feel rewarding and challenging and something like this could go a long way in allowing the user to decide how easy or hard they want this part to be.

    This would be where I'd like to see the majority of your teams progression take place. I'd like to see progression take a turn from having such a huge focus on goals to having more of a focus on player potential, coaching staffs, and the off-season programs. That doesn't mean that what you do during the regular season would be null and void, it just means that the bulk of the XP that you gained would be gained here. Each of the three phases would play out more or less the same and would vary in length of days. Basically the idea would be that each day you'd have a schedule of practice activities (Red Zone, 11-on-11's, 1-on-1's, 9-on-7's, 7-on-7's, etc.) which would be the same across the board for every team.
    So my initial idea was rather than have players earn global XP available to use on anything, having them earn XP towards specific attributes. Now how this would work in terms of training camp would be that each drill would come with it's own set of attributes that earn XP for each position in a given drill. So let's take 1-on-1's, DL would have a chance to earn things like BS, PWM, and FMV while OL would have a chance to earn XP towards PBK or RBK. Conversely, a WR would have a chance to earn towards CTH, RTE, and CIT while a DB would earn XP towards AWR/PRC and MCV. The amount of XP players would earn day-to-day wouldn't be much but would add up over time. This is obviously more restrictive so it wouldn't be for everyone but I think it would be much better than the anything goes nature currently but I would definitely want to have the option there for players to be able to spend XP however they choose.
    Another added element to this would be the ability to have a good or bad practice. Players with higher potential would have a better chance of having good practices which would give them additional XP earned for that day. Same goes for players with low potential, they'd be more susceptible to having bad practices and having the amount of XP they earn reduced. There would also be a normal or average practice where players would receive the base amount of XP based on their position coach and potential. This is where having a good coaching staff would be really beneficial as well as having higher rated coaches would result in better chances for their position group to have good practices. Also players near the top of your depth chart would be more likely to incur either a good or bad practice while players in the middle would be far more likely to see normal results and players near the bottom of your depth chart would be at an increased chance of having poor results to emulate limited reps. You could take this a bit further and have the ability for a player to have a good or bad portion of each practice but I think that might be a little too much.
    In addition to this, each day the user would have the ability to choose a portion of practice to emphasize. I think I'd limit this to being just a training camp thing but it's something that would add some risk/reward to whole thing. The idea is that you'd choose one part of practice to emphasize every day and with that comes the ability to earn both more or less XP. If a player has a good practice then he could earn double XP for whatever is emphasized while if he has a bad practice he suffers a more severe penalty and risks even gaining no XP at all for that portion.
    One final thing with this is the possibility of injuries each day. This would be something the user could turn off as a lot of people wouldn't want to likely deal with injuries during simulation. Depending on the type of practice injuries would be more or less common. Padded practices would come with greater risks of injuries while non-padded would be less of a risk. As far as serious injuries are concerned, they'd be more rare but still possible but the main injuries you would see are nagging type injuries that would keep players from being able to practice for a given number of days. If a player is unable to practice he would automatically be subject to the poor XP earnings until he returned and it would only be earned towards an attribute like AWR/PRC to emulate film/playbook study.
    Users would have the option to have to camp reports either daily, at the end of each phase, or both. Daily reports would show you how each player performed for that given day while the end of phase reports would give you a summary of each player and how well they did over the course of that phase with the number of good and bad practices. This way the user could move as quickly or methodically through each phase and still be just as aware of how each player on his roster is fairing and progressing.
    Rookie Mini-Camp
    Immediately following the draft would be a three-day Rookie Mini-Camp. You'd need a minimum number of rookies to start this phase as they would be the only players participating. The rookies would be made up of your draft picks, UDFA's, and any additional players you choose on a try-out basis. The amount of drills for each practice would be limited and exclusive to the non-contact variety meaning that XP earnings would also be limited. At the end of this phase you'd get a report as well as potential suggestions from position coaches on try-out players possibly worth signing.
    OTA's
    This could either be handled in three blocks of two three-day OTA's and one four-day OTA or to make things easier, one ten-day block of practices. I think if advancing through CFM were to change to a more calendar-esque system that the first option would be best. It would allow for players potentially injured during one of the portions additional days to heal up along with being a bit more realistic but the latter could work as well. Either way you're looking at 10 practices with your entire roster (this is where you could also emulate a player holding out by not attending). This would follow the same format as before of getting reports daily or at the end of each phase.
    Training Camp
    This is where things would amp up. Padded, full-contact practices would come with increased injury risks but this would also be the longest (21 days) and most important portion of off-season training. The whole allotment of drills would be available each day meaning more XP to be gained as well. Position coaches would identify camp battles within position groups that would be highlighted throughout. This would, ideally using the calendar system to advance days, carry into the first couple weeks of preseason adding in potential injury elements of camp injuries keeping them from playing in games and vice versa.

    Expanded Player Card

    This isn't something huge but expanding the player card a bit more would be nice. Having things like career stats show the teams they've played for should be something that is shown. Tracking player accomplishments as well as transactions is also something I'd like to see. Making it all more accessible and easy to find for the user is the biggest thing.
    Player Ratings
    Obviously these are never going to go away so asking for outright hidden ratings is pointless. However in terms of CFM I think it can be argued that doing so can be something that not only adds more of a challenge, but also makes things more realistic in it's own way. So what I'd like to see is three options of viewing player ratings: Hidden, Perceived, and Traditional.
    Hidden
    All non-physical ratings are completely hidden. Physical ratings are represented in combine numbers or by a letter grade. I think combine numbers would do a better job at conveying a more accurate perception than a letter grade which is important. If you have a guy with 99 SPD, you want to know he's fast or strong or whatever. Letter grades can give you the perception that a player is much better or worse at something than he actually is so I'd probably keep those away from physical attributes.
    Perceived
    All ratings are non-exact. This could be done with numbers but I think the easier way to do this would be to break down ratings into letter grades. No +/-'s, just letters. You could take this further by having your position coaches rating them and the better the coach, the more accurate depiction of ratings. Physical attributes would again be viewed as combine numbers with everything else letter grades. The key with the letter grades would be to make their ranges not only overlap but to also have the middle levels have a much wider range than the A's and the F's so that you're still able to fairly easily identify the top-tier players as well as players who aren't worth much at all. It's something that just creates an added element of strategy and challenge when it comes to progressing, cutting, signing, and drafting players and something that I think would make franchise a better experience.
    Traditional
    Traditional, exact ratings. Everything is how it would normally look with all exact numerical ratings for every player.
    The main thing with this is trying to allow as many people to play the way they want to play as possible. By creating more options you have a greater chance of covering and including more of your player base which is something that should always be considered.
    Player Potential
    I want to echo the same sentiments as I did for player ratings here. Player potential is absolutely something I do not ever want to see because it ruins some of the fun of building a roster and developing players. So I'd like to see the same type of option as I mentioned for player ratings for player potential.
    With that, I like the idea of dynamic player potential but as with many other things, I'm not a fan of the implementation. Basing something as important as a players development trait on things like weekly and/or yearly awards doesn't make too much sense to me. I don't necessarily mind the idea of having a players potential boosted or reduced based on their performance but I think it should be one of the lowest things that affects it. What I wouldn't mind seeing is a slightly more restricted player potential but something that is still dynamic. Instead of having static Poor or Superstar type development traits I'd like to see more career oriented player potential categories. A couple of examples:


    • Flash in the Pan: A player that has average or poor bumps up to superstar potential for one or two seasons but then falls back to average or poor
    • Late Bloomer: A player that starts with Average to Poor potential but then bumps up later in his career
    • Boom or Bust: A player who's potential could be entirely based on something like a coaching staff or his performance in his first training camp
    • Fast Rise Early Demise: A player that starts with Good Potential and quickly bumps up to Superstar but loses it all
    • Journey Man: A player that constantly bumps between Good and Below Average potential. Good enough to stay in the league, not good enough to be more than an average player

    Those are just a few examples but it's something that could maintain that dynamic element while following a more baseline career curve for players rather than potentially having them all over the place based on goals and performance. It's not a perfect method but it's something that I'd feel is more realistic than the current system and something that would be fun given that potential was hidden and these unexpected dips and rises would be allowed to happen organically.

    And with that, you're into another season of CFM. I completely understand that a lot of this is probably stuff that doesn't appeal to a lot of people as well as that none of this is stuff that will just appear in Madden overnight and to add everything here would probably take years upon years. I'm not expecting all or any of this to be in M18 or ever end up in Madden but I wanted to lay out the type of CFM that I would enjoy playing and what I'd want it to look like. Obviously it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea but if you disagree with anything here I encourage you to post your thoughts on any areas that you'd like see fleshed out or options you'd like to have. If there's any questions about a certain section that is confusing or that you'd like me to expand on, I'll do my best to clear any confusion and lay it out in greater detial. Also, anything else that you'd like to see mocked up like I've done here just let me know and I'll try to come up with something. Like I said before, my main goal is to have CFM become something that can be enjoyed by both the most hardcore franchise player as well as the average casual gamer.
    If you've made it this far I really appreciate it and hope you've enjoyed what you've read and seen. Let me know your thoughts and have a great day! Thank you for your time.
    I think free agency would benefit from a similar system to recruiting in NCAA 14. "Free agent" points could be assigned to each player alongside a bonus for what your franchise offers them. Once you reach a certain number you can offer a contract. Example would be reigning SB champs could have such a high number they can offer a contract on week 1. But the Browns would get laughed at immediately because they can only offer disappointment and sorrow.
    If you and another team both reach the "target" you can have a battle with contracts. Knowing what they offer and you offer. The player could then play you both off to get more money out of you both
    mrprice33

    2) They've expanded how overall is calculated based on scheme and player type. I really want this blown out for the future, and am like halfway through a write up on it. Would that be something that would be of interest to people? If you could basically set the types of players you want in certain spots, and the game would recalculate the OVR based off your desires?

    Yes. Yes and yes. One caveat will the player's desire/cost to resign be based on my "adjusted" overall or their raw/default overall?
    I would love to see position battles make there way back into the game. I can't remember which versions had this but it needs to come back.
    SyncereBlackout
    Yes. Yes and yes. One caveat will the player's desire/cost to resign be based on my "adjusted" overall or their raw/default overall?

    It should be based on his overall as player tyoe and demand for his type at that position.
    Hey Deuce,
    Great work man. We will be discussing this thread tonight on the Sim Standard Hangout. I know this is short noticed but if you would like to come on a be a part of the discussion we will be happy to have you. Let me know.
    Geodude
    Youtube video of the post coverage here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5XGtHo03io
    Congratulations Deuce, I hope for everyone this goes far :)

    That's awesome, I'm glad to see it gaining some traction. Obviously I'm on board with it being the "blueprint" for CFM and would love to see it start becoming something that resembles this as soon as possible. If CFM looked like this I would almost undoubtedly be playing Madden year-round but as it stood with 17 though I didn't even make it to a regular season.
    The info they release for 18 regarding CFM will tell me all I need to know about how much time I'll be putting into Madden this year and I really, really hope especially with the extremely promising transition to Frostbite that there is a large emphasis into turning CFM into a high-quality franchise mode.
    Great Post! I loved reading! My first question is are those all custom made screenshots that you made? They look amazing! I have never seen position coaches or coordinators in my Madden 17 Franchise, am I missing something? Great work!
    John_Elway
    Great Post! I loved reading! My first question is are those all custom made screenshots that you made? They look amazing! I have never seen position coaches or coordinators in my Madden 17 Franchise, am I missing something? Great work!

    Thanks! And yeah, they're all custom mockups that I made showing how it could look in-game. No position coaches or coordinators in Madden yet but hopefully they'll get them in this year.
    Wow,This is my thoughts as well. I would only like to see go deeper in scouting of prospects. Add in their award history to all players in the scouting. This way it will give us more realistic things happening as we play our CFM..Have the storylines go into the players states and Awards being talked about as there's are being scouted and drafted.
    cowboy_kmoney
    Wow,This is my thoughts as well. I would only like to see go deeper in scouting of prospects. Add in their award history to all players in the scouting. This way it will give us more realistic things happening as we play our CFM..Have the storylines go into the players states and Awards being talked about as there's are being scouted and drafted.

    Agreed. It's unfortunate that scouting has consistently taken steps backward through the years and currently is so dumbed-down.
    Not to be a doomsayer, and I know this doesn't contribute anything to the discussion, but has anyone else read this and then immediately felt sad or down that we don't have anything close to this? And whilst we wish for M18, we sort of know it will never be all of this? :(
    Geodude
    Not to be a doomsayer, and I know this doesn't contribute anything to the discussion, but has anyone else read this and then immediately felt sad or down that we don't have anything close to this? And whilst we wish for M18, we sort of know it will never be all of this? :(

    I'm trying to keep hope. The move to Frostbite has kind of pulled me back in for the time being because I think it could be something that's really positive for Madden. But, for me, the fact still remains that if I can't get into CFM it's going to severely reduce the amount of time I'm willing to put into the game regardless of how many steps gameplay takes forward. The biggest thing that gives me pause is how poorly thought out and executed most CFM features have been in recent years. Have to wait and see what this years info entails but I'm still hoping for the best but expecting more of the same.
    Even though he's a gameplay guy, Rex's interviews over the last couple of years have changed the way I analyze the potential implementation of anything new, even in CFM.
    We know that mimicking realistic NFL methodology is always only a partial consideration for new features. Ease of use for new/casual players, appeal to those same groups , active vs passive participation in a task, time spent on non gameplay activities, are areas that seem to hold more weight than authenticity.
    So when I read this proposal, my enthusiasm is tempered by my realization that so much of it is going to be a hard sell to people whose goals for the mode aren't necessarily the same as ours.
    Sent from mTalk
    DeuceDouglas
    The move to Frostbite has kind of pulled me back in for the time being because I think it could be something that's really positive for Madden.

    Honestly ,im just not sure how much that change to frostbite will bring.Maybe better wear and tear on field,unis .Slightly better graphics. Hopefully better AI for players, but still not sure on that.Seems i had read somewhere people who play FIFA said it really didnt make a big noticeable difference in FIFA this year. Maybe that was because the game was already good? I hope so.
    DeuceDouglas
    But, for me, the fact still remains that if I can't get into CFM it's going to severely reduce the amount of time I'm willing to put into the game regardless of how many steps gameplay takes forward. The biggest thing that gives me pause is how poorly thought out and executed most CFM features have been in recent years. Have to wait and see what this years info entails but I'm still hoping for the best but expecting more of the same.

    Im the same here , i only buy it for CFM. No other reason. Improved gameplay is awesome to see , no doubt. However , the over hype of " how much they put into CFM" really bit them in the rump this year. Should not have hyped it up like that for it to come out of the gate the way it did, without any more improvements than from years past. Alot of the improvements were merely UI changes.Things such as regression , still to most seem poorly thought thru and implimented as it is just a basic straight line , no depth. Same thing for opponents tendencies, as we found out thru testing , its only based off first down calls from the week before. Not at all what most thought it was going to be, not how it seemed to be presented, and really needs much more depth added to it.
    The problem is , how this sort of thing seems to happen to CFM year after year, after year. They wont give them the resources they need, we all know the old wore out story of why, doesnt make it any better.That is what worries me most about it, as ive seen the track record, and no matter what engine they use, i dont see that helping in the resources dept, money being given to the CFM team to use to really make big additions .Thats the part that worries me most, because i see how it works, i know why it works this way, and i dont see it changing sadly.I believe John could do alot for CFM, if they just gave the man the man/women power and other resources to do so, but i think we all know that isnt going to happen.
    Geodude
    Not to be a doomsayer, and I know this doesn't contribute anything to the discussion, but has anyone else read this and then immediately felt sad or down that we don't have anything close to this? And whilst we wish for M18, we sort of know it will never be all of this? :(

    Only reason I have not subscribed to this threat...Too much excitement reading...Then once the OP is read, reality sets in...Sigh lol
    jfsolo
    So when I read this proposal, my enthusiasm is tempered by my realization that so much of it is going to be a hard sell to people whose goals for the mode aren't necessarily the same as ours.

    While I agree to a certain extent and understand how things work I can't help but also feel like that is somewhat of a convenient statement for them to make. Just looking at M17, if you can sell gap play, of all things, along with realistic defensive zones, two things that probably upwards of 95% of players truly know nothing about, I can't imagine realistic franchise features being that much harder of a sell.
    And looking at the back of the box the biggest slot is for Big Decisions which, outside of the slight tweaks to injuries, is hardly more than a UI upgrade. Also mentioned is the ball-carrier moves which, IMO, weren't anything that game-changing when compared to other aspects. My point being, they can pick and choose what to sell no matter how big or small its contribution to the game actually is.
    I understand the goals for the mode laid out in this thread aren't for everyone and might not even be for most, it's just unfortunate that when it comes to features for CFM that the casual side is always unanimously winning out which consequentially leaves nearly every feature to be introduced exclusively in its shallowest form and leaving anyone with a desire for added depth or realism grasping at straws.
    DeuceDouglas
    While I agree to a certain extent and understand how things work I can't help but also feel like that is somewhat of a convenient statement for them to make. Just looking at M17, if you can sell gap play, of all things, along with realistic defensive zones, two things that probably upwards of 95% of players truly know nothing about, I can't imagine realistic franchise features being that much harder of a sell.
    And looking at the back of the box the biggest slot is for Big Decisions which, outside of the slight tweaks to injuries, is hardly more than a UI upgrade. Also mentioned is the ball-carrier moves which, IMO, weren't anything that game-changing when compared to other aspects. My point being, they can pick and choose what to sell no matter how big or small its contribution to the game actually is.
    I understand the goals for the mode laid out in this thread aren't for everyone and might not even be for most, it's just unfortunate that when it comes to features for CFM that the casual side is always unanimously winning out which consequentially leaves nearly every feature to be introduced exclusively in its shallowest form and leaving anyone with a desire for added depth or realism grasping at straws.

    Sadly I think it's more a case of....they know what we want but do not wish to provide it but will never admit to that for obvious reasons. Why break their system of continual new purchases in order to provide the ultimate franchise experience? Personally, I'd gladly pay them a fee each year if it meant I got full features but hey...here we are.
    So I've been thinking about Free Agency quite a bit lately and how it functions in Madden and ways to improve the process or "event" when it comes to advancing through the off-season. As I mentioned in the OP, free agency is tough. They've tried a lot of things over the years and it's always been something that I don't feel like has ever been quite right. It's always seemed to be an area that can be gamed fairly easily and that, as long as salary cap space allowed, enabled the user the ability to sign whoever you wanted without any challenge from other teams which in itself makes Free Agency quite pointless IMO. A couple of things first:
    Draft Depth
    This is something that I think should be indicated to the user throughout the season as well as something that has an impact on the AI. Whether it shows in the scouting screen or somewhere else I think there should be an indicator of perceived depth of both the draft as a whole as well as position-by-position. Since Free Agency takes place prior to the draft, it would be helpful for the user in a multitude of ways as well as being a factor in helping the AI dictate where they may or may not attack in Free Agency. For instance, if a team is in need of a QB and the draft depth indicates that the upcoming class is weak for QB's, the AI would likely be more aggressive in free agency and vice versa.
    Team Needs
    This is something that I'd also like to see become more prominent when it comes to advancing to the off-season. Have team needs be more specific than simply just position. Expand it to be more particular to the depth chart and indicate that a team needs a QB2, WR3, WR1, etc. Also, allow this to be modified by the user when heading into an off-season. I'd imagine this would be huge for online leagues as it would allow them some kind of direction if they were absent for the process. Have a list of like top ten team needs that is automatically suggested but is also customizable.
    Free Agent Targeting
    This kind of goes along with the Team Needs. Prior to free agency you would go through an event where you're allotted five or so areas you want to target. This would be handled similarly to a trade block but far more specific. You'd be able to input anything from simply "High OVR WR's" to "WR's with high CTH" or "3rd Down RB." The idea is that you input what you're looking for when you advance to free agency you get a list of ten players that fit your search. You would use these for the areas you consider high priority and places where you're definitely looking to add players through free agency and would be something that I think would greatly aid users in building the type of team that they desired.

    I mentioned this in the OP and this is the idea I keep coming back to when it comes to free agency. The idea is that Free Agency is split into two calendar like events, one prior and one post draft. The first one being the longer, more significant portion whether it be something like 30 days or 45 days and the second being a more brief period used mostly for roster filling, say 10 or 15 days but the amount of days is fairly insignificant.
    Upon the beginning of free agency you'd first be made aware of every player that was available, basically a quick event where you simply go through a view roster type screen of all of the upcoming free agents so you can peruse and figure out what your top priority free agents might be.
    Now once you enter free agency, things would begin to look quite differently compared to what we have now:
    Hidden/Perceived Ratings
    This is a big one for me and is something I also mentioned in the OP that I'd actually like to see rosters as a whole treated this way but that's another discussion. As for here I'd love to have free agency be somewhat similar to rookie scouting where there is more mystery behind what you're signing as well. This is a place though where I think having a limited view of attributes works well from both a realism and challenge aspect and would add a lot to trying to find free agent gems or dealing with free agent busts similar to how you do in real life and the draft.
    So the idea here is that instead of players being sorted by OVR in free agency, they'd be sorted by their "market value" or asking price essentially. This would take some fairly significant re-working of how much money players demand but I'd like to see the amount of money a player asks for largely based on their performance. If there's a free agent QB that is 26 that just threw for 4000 yards and 40 TD's he should be going after $20-million+ per year whether he's a 99 or a 78 and this is something I'd like to see represented.
    Onto the hidden/perceived ratings part, I'd like to see this be treated similar to rookie scouting but more in-depth when applicable and minus the actual need to "scout" a free agent. What I mean is that say there is a player that is a 12-year veteran that is a free agent. A player like that would have the most information available about him and at that point you could even go as far as showing actual attributes because a player like that has been around long enough that everybody essentially knows what he is. As for younger players, the information would be less exact and also based upon actual playing time. So let's say you have two players, both 4-year players coming off their first contracts and entering free agency. Player A is a 4-year starter and has played significantly every season he's been in the league. For this player you would get a decent amount of information about his attributes because essentially there is more "tape," so to speak. Player B has seen very limited time whether it be due to injury or being buried on the depth chart for the extent of his first contract. A player like this would have very little exact information available about him because he has virtually no "tape" to speak of. So the more (and longer) a player plays, the more information you'll know about him and the more certain you can be of what kind of player he really is. Physical attributes would not be included in this and would be known whether it be in exact numeric form or in the form of combine style numbers which I think I'd prefer. To add to this, any players that were free agents that you had scouted while they were part of a draft class would always have that information available for you.
    Now, there are tons of different directions this could be taken to expand upon. If there are coaching staffs or position coaches, you could integrate them in a way where they know more about the players they've coached and are familiar with. So let's say you hired another team's DB coach, if there were any free agents DB's from that team in free agency, it would almost be a bonus in terms of information on those players because of how familiar that coach was with them. You see coaches all the time showing a preference for players they know over ones they don't and this would attempt to emulate that.
    Visiting Process
    So this would be a format to kind of equalize free agency and try to prevent what I hate the most about free agency and that's the ability to get whoever I want without any challenge from other teams whatsoever. Think of this kind of like the old NCAA recruiting mechanic. Each day of free agency you'd be allotted one or two (maybe three) visits to bring in free agents and start the negotiation process.
    Player Interests
    Players would prioritize visits based on their interests. This could be used in the form of a points system similar to how contracts are handled and use the interests as a modifier to determine their most desired destinations. Basically before free agency started each player would formulate their own list of all 32 teams in order from most desired to least desired with some teams being completely eliminated if there is a strong conflict with their interests. This would almost certainly have to be under the hood and hidden but having the option to see the list I don't think would end up hurting too much either.
    Money - I hesitate to even put this on the list because nearly every player's biggest interest should nearly always be money so it's something largely universal. But I think when it comes to older players it's something that can become a bit less of a factor so being able to see that represented as a player grows older would be something that would be good to see so I included it. Players with money being the greatest interest would prioritize teams willing to pay them the most money and with the most cap space.
    Winning - Indicates a players interest in playing for a winning team. Players that value you this the most would prioritize winning teams and eliminate teams at the bottom of the league and out of contention for consideration. Player would also be more willing to take a lesser contract from a proven contender over a team that's been in and out of the playoffs.
    System - A player most interested in a system fit would eliminate teams that have strong scheme conflicts and would prioritize places where a scheme fit was possible.
    Location - Indicates a players desire to play near his hometown. Players with high interest in this category will prioritize teams nearest to his hometown.
    Playing Time - Indicates a players desire to sign with a team that would lead to him seeing the most playing time. Players most interested in this would be looking to sign with teams where they could be starters based on the depth chart.
    There's probably a lot more that could be included here but I wanted to keep it simple enough to where there isn't a lot of moving parts and it's something that would be easy for every user to understand why a player was or wasn't interested in their team versus others.
    Requesting A Visit
    Prior to the start of free agency there would be a five day period where you would be able to contact players and schedule visits. Think of this as a modified version of the tampering period in the NFL. This is where teams would prioritize the highest target free agents scheduling visits for the moment that free agency starts. How this would work is that you would go through the free agent list and choose the players that you're interested in signing and negotiating with and check them off in a process similar to scouting.
    When the day advances you'd receive request updates for the players you've selected and will be prompted to select a date for the player to "visit." This is also where you'll find out where you fall in terms of that players interest in your team. If you're far down on his interest list, you may find out that he already has multiple visits set-up with teams he is more interested in thus making him much harder to sign. If you're high on his interest list, you'll have a good chance of being able to schedule a visit as quickly as possible.
    As you get into actual free agency you can continue to request visits with free agents but they won't be able to actually visit until the next day at the soonest. I think two visits per day sounds about right but having options for just one or even more would be optimal.
    The Process of A Visit
    Once that first period has ended and free agency officially begins, players will begin to take their "visits." Just think of a visit as entering negotiations under the current format. It could also be something that is used to find out a bit more information about a player that you don't see from the basic free agency menu. For instance, requesting a visit could be a process very similar to scouting where you know very little about a player before hand and must go further to find out more. It could also be used to provide some other minor details like injury ratings to emulate the player taking a physical. There's a lot of freedom here to work with.
    Contracts
    This is something I'd like to see them completely overhaul. I mentioned before that I'd like to see players ask for money based on performance than just overall and I think that's something that's really important here. Players should be asking for money that matches their perceived market value. Starters should want money that coincides with other starters at their position. Stars should ALWAYS be asking for above and beyond and this is one of the reason's it's so easy to work around the cap in Madden. I don't care if a player is a 75 OVR, if he's a free agent and coming off a 22 sack season he should be looking for Von Miller money.
    I think they should also make contract offering a bit more user friendly. When negotiating, lay out the entire contract instead of just showing salary and bonus. Bring back the frontloaded, backloaded, escalating, deescalating options for contracts. Also, instead of toggling salary and bonus separately and players asking for a "3-years/$15-million", show players asking price as APY along with Guaranteed Money. You could even take this a step further and create contract templates around these options so that the entire negotiating process is made quicker and easier.
    After A Visit
    As you advance a day, players will either sign or move on to their next visit. Some players may sign immediately, some may take all of their visits before choosing an offer, while others may decide in the middle of their tour of visits. This would create an interesting dynamic where there is constant action around the league each day and you have to constantly keep abreast with your negotiations and what's happening around the league. You may be put in a situation where you have to choose to withdraw an offer to a player because you simply can't afford to wait on him. The start of free agency would emulate that "free agent frenzy" that we see each year and would be able to be as quick or methodical as a user desired.
    I think that about covers most of what I had on my mind. It's not a completely fleshed out idea but I think it would be a very strong foundation with a lot of freedom for improvement and would make Free Agency a much more challenging and fun experience than what is currently implemented. A couple more things I wanted to add that don't directly have to do with Free Agency but I do think would benefit it, and CFM, if they were to be implemented.
    No Progression/Regression until after the draft
    One of my biggest issues with the whole XP system is that I feel like it destroys roster building which is something that I believe should be the fundamental focus of a franchise mode. Madden puts more of an emphasis on player building when it comes to progression and regression and does so in a very unrealistic, simplistic, paint-by-the-numbers manner and I wouldn't have much of a problem with this if there were other avenues to create a more realistic approach. One of those being not allowing progression/regression until the end of the off-season. This was something that MVP Baseball did that I think is a great idea. The reason being that it forces you to try and anticipate how your roster will look rather than knowing every single exact detail about your roster at all times.
    For example, let's say you have an aging starter who is on the decline but is still a serviceable player. At some point he is going to decline to the point where he is no longer starter worthy. Now in Madden, you're made aware of this as soon as your season ends. You already know going into your next season that you should cut ties and that he's not going to be remotely the same player as he was before. This makes roster management a very simple process with very little risk. Now if that same player regresses in the same manner BUT you're not made aware of it until after you have to take care of these off-season tasks, it forces you to think about it a bit more and try to anticipate the rise and falls of certain players. Do you take a high pick at his position or go after a top free agent anticipating his decline? Or do you do nothing and risk that the position becomes an immediate need? This is not only more realistic but also more challenging which is something CFM desperately needs. The idea with locking progression under the same rules has to do with the same concept. I'd hide the amount of XP a player has until the end of the off-season so that you're not always aware of who might be a breakout star or a breakout bust. Obviously this wouldn't be the only option, just another option for those that wanted a more challenging and more realistic experience.
    Alternatively, it provides a great foundation for free agent gems and busts. You might sign a player to a huge deal hoping he'll be the cornerstone of your offense or defense only to find out that he's already on the downside of his career and have him fizzle out after two years. To that same extent, you might sign a player and upon signing him find out he's sitting on a boatload of XP and that the fairly arbitrary signing you thought you made ends up being a breakout star and a free agent gem. It also would make you think a bit more about who to resign or let go heading into the off-season.
    Dev Trait Hidden, Calculated as Part of the OVR
    This is another thing that MVP Baseball did that I think would greatly benefit multiple aspects of CFM and not just free agency. In MVP there was no classic numeric overall, it was instead shown in the form of a bar. The fuller the bar, the better the player essentially. However, something rather ingenious they did was have a player's potential affect the bar or overall. So you could have two players with identical attributes across the board but a team would value one more than the other because of that difference in potential and this is something I would love to see Madden do. I think this would help CFM in numerous areas especially when it comes to having the AI build a smarter roster by valuing younger talent with more potential over older, aging, high-priced talent. The Dev Trait wouldn't have to be entirely hidden, just removed from the player card and viewable inside the player edit screen. This would also come with the caveat of making the Dev Trait editable which I'm sure a lot of people would enjoy as well.
    And that's what I've got. As always, thanks for reading if you took the time and if you have any additional suggestions or ideas for how you'd like to see free agency or any other aspect of CFM, let 'em loose!
    I like using real world examples when I refer to what madden should do.
    So I will be using some to highlight your points.
    DeuceDouglas
    So I've been thinking about Free Agency quite a bit lately and how it functions in Madden and ways to improve the process or "event" when it comes to advancing through the off-season. As I mentioned in the OP, free agency is tough. They've tried a lot of things over the years and it's always been something that I don't feel like has ever been quite right. It's always seemed to be an area that can be gamed fairly easily and that, as long as salary cap space allowed, enabled the user the ability to sign whoever you wanted without any challenge from other teams which in itself makes Free Agency quite pointless IMO. A couple of things first:
    Draft Depth
    This is something that I think should be indicated to the user throughout the season as well as something that has an impact on the AI. Whether it shows in the scouting screen or somewhere else I think there should be an indicator of perceived depth of both the draft as a whole as well as position-by-position. Since Free Agency takes place prior to the draft, it would be helpful for the user in a multitude of ways as well as being a factor in helping the AI dictate where they may or may not attack in Free Agency. For instance, if a team is in need of a QB and the draft depth indicates that the upcoming class is weak for QB's, the AI would likely be more aggressive in free agency and vice versa.
    That idea right there is some next level thinking. It is especially bad in the draft when a team will draft a QB in the 1st and 2nd round.
    Anytime a big name player hits the free agency, and a team signs them for a lot of money, that team is usually not going to spend its' first pick on that same position.
    The Saints weren't in a hurry to draft a QB when they signed Brees in 2006
    The Raiders weren't in a hurry to replace Rich Gannon in 2001 (Which later cost them)
    However, some of these QB's were not all that old. Age is another consideration to factor in with this when considering the draft. The Broncos took Osweiler with the 57th pick when they signed Manning, because Manning was also 37 when he was signed.

    Team Needs
    This is something that I'd also like to see become more prominent when it comes to advancing to the off-season. Have team needs be more specific than simply just position. Expand it to be more particular to the depth chart and indicate that a team needs a QB2, WR3, WR1, etc. Also, allow this to be modified by the user when heading into an off-season. I'd imagine this would be huge for online leagues as it would allow them some kind of direction if they were absent for the process. Have a list of like top ten team needs that is automatically suggested but is also customizable.
    Well said. They need to not have just these positions, but different uses for that player. I am not saying Julian Edelmen is not a great receiver. But if you are going to use him as a #1 like you would with Aj Green or Julio Jones, it wouldn't work. That is why madden needs to specify positions like "Slot receiver" "nickle corner" etc etc.
    This is also huge with running backs. Usually teams that run multiple back systems have a "beef guy" and a speedy receiving back. No need for a team to stack up on running backs like LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis'.
    Every one-two punch has a different kind of variance to each HB position.

    Free Agent Targeting
    This kind of goes along with the Team Needs. Prior to free agency you would go through an event where you're allotted five or so areas you want to target. This would be handled similarly to a trade block but far more specific. You'd be able to input anything from simply "High OVR WR's" to "WR's with high CTH" or "3rd Down RB." The idea is that you input what you're looking for when you advance to free agency you get a list of ten players that fit your search. You would use these for the areas you consider high priority and places where you're definitely looking to add players through free agency and would be something that I think would greatly aid users in building the type of team that they desired.
    I like this idea a lot. I believe NBA2k does something similar to this. I am always looking for speedy receivers/ backs, and of course with the way Maddens’ current free agency works, I can’t do that

    I mentioned this in the OP and this is the idea I keep coming back to when it comes to free agency. The idea is that Free Agency is split into two calendar like events, one prior and one post draft. The first one being the longer, more significant portion whether it be something like 30 days or 45 days and the second being a more brief period used mostly for roster filling, say 10 or 15 days but the amount of days is fairly insignificant.
    Upon the beginning of free agency you'd first be made aware of every player that was available, basically a quick event where you simply go through a view roster type screen of all of the upcoming free agents so you can peruse and figure out what your top priority free agents might be.
    One thing I would like to see added to this... players on the trade block (Kirk Cousins, Jay Cutler, and Richard Sherman to name a few). Because what we have to consider is, there are teams that will have new head coaches and coaching schemes. So there are some players that a new coach has no problem trading away. (Brandon Marshall with the Bears to the Jets)
    Now once you enter free agency, things would begin to look quite differently compared to what we have now:
    Hidden/Perceived Ratings
    This is a big one for me and is something I also mentioned in the OP that I'd actually like to see rosters as a whole treated this way but that's another discussion. As for here I'd love to have free agency be somewhat similar to rookie scouting where there is more mystery behind what you're signing as well. This is a place though where I think having a limited view of attributes works well from both a realism and challenge aspect and would add a lot to trying to find free agent gems or dealing with free agent busts similar to how you do in real life and the draft.
    So the idea here is that instead of players being sorted by OVR in free agency, they'd be sorted by their "market value" or asking price essentially. This would take some fairly significant re-working of how much money players demand but I'd like to see the amount of money a player asks for largely based on their performance. If there's a free agent QB that is 26 that just threw for 4000 yards and 40 TD's he should be going after $20-million+ per year whether he's a 99 or a 78 and this is something I'd like to see represented.
    I like the idea of market value. However, I think something like an "NFL top Free Agents List" where you would have different experts rank players differently. I believe that hidden ratings would be an awesome addition. Especially if they allowed us to to turn it on or off for those that want to know a players overall.
    Onto the hidden/perceived ratings part, I'd like to see this be treated similar to rookie scouting but more in-depth when applicable and minus the actual need to "scout" a free agent. What I mean is that say there is a player that is a 12-year veteran that is a free agent. A player like that would have the most information available about him and at that point you could even go as far as showing actual attributes because a player like that has been around long enough that everybody essentially knows what he is. As for younger players, the information would be less exact and also based upon actual playing time. So let's say you have two players, both 4-year players coming off their first contracts and entering free agency. Player A is a 4-year starter and has played significantly every season he's been in the league. For this player you would get a decent amount of information about his attributes because essentially there is more "tape," so to speak. Player B has seen very limited time whether it be due to injury or being buried on the depth chart for the extent of his first contract. A player like this would have very little exact information available about him because he has virtually no "tape" to speak of. So the more (and longer) a player plays, the more information you'll know about him and the more certain you can be of what kind of player he really is. Physical attributes would not be included in this and would be known whether it be in exact numeric form or in the form of combine style numbers which I think I'd prefer. To add to this, any players that were free agents that you had scouted while they were part of a draft class would always have that information available for you.
    Now, there are tons of different directions this could be taken to expand upon. If there are coaching staffs or position coaches, you could integrate them in a way where they know more about the players they've coached and are familiar with. So let's say you hired another team's DB coach, if there were any free agents DB's from that team in free agency, it would almost be a bonus in terms of information on those players because of how familiar that coach was with them. You see coaches all the time showing a preference for players they know over ones they don't and this would attempt to emulate that.
    I really don’t have much to add here, besides this is a level of depth that I hope Madden can achieve someday!
    Visiting Process

    So this would be a format to kind of equalize free agency and try to prevent what I hate the most about free agency and that's the ability to get whoever I want without any challenge from other teams whatsoever. Think of this kind of like the old NCAA recruiting mechanic. Each day of free agency you'd be allotted one or two (maybe three) visits to bring in free agents and start the negotiation process.
    I love this idea. I think it is unrealistic that you can “submit offers” to whoever you want, as long as the salary cap allows you to (If you have it turned on). I deeply enjoy the idea of an NCAA style recruiting, because that is how the NFL Free Agency works.
    Each player has their own reasons as to why they left their team in the first place, or why they are looking at which team in the free agency. I see you get into that with your next paragraph…

    Player Interests
    Players would prioritize visits based on their interests. This could be used in the form of a points system similar to how contracts are handled and use the interests as a modifier to determine their most desired destinations. Basically before free agency started each player would formulate their own list of all 32 teams in order from most desired to least desired with some teams being completely eliminated if there is a strong conflict with their interests. This would almost certainly have to be under the hood and hidden but having the option to see the list I don't think would end up hurting too much either.
    You hit the nail on the head. There will be some teams that may be eliminated due to a conflict of interest.
    For example, whether it is the distaste for a coach or former team, not fitting into a scheme, or a team being set at that certain position.
    So when Peyton Manning was a free agent, there were teams that were instantly eliminated because they already had a star QB (GB, NE, PIT, NO, ATL, and SD), the team that just cut him (IND), or other teams for various reasons (NYG bc of his brother) (CLE bc it is CLE)

    Money -
    I hesitate to even put this on the list because nearly every player's biggest interest should nearly always be money so it's something largely universal. But I think when it comes to older players it's something that can become a bit less of a factor so being able to see that represented as a player grows older would be something that would be good to see so I included it. Players with money being the greatest interest would prioritize teams willing to pay them the most money and with the most cap space.
    I believe this starts digging into “Player Personalities” something I could write a whole thread about. But there are some players that choose winning, playing opportunities, or various other reasons over money.
    Look at Tom Brady. It seems like every year he is taking some sort of pay cut to help his team out. He is the 13th highest paid QB in the league…. Let that sink in. He has 3 more super bowls than the next closest QB, and he is 13th. It is evident that money isn’t that big of a deal to him. Well at least money from his team. Endorsements however, that is a whole different story that I think could be a more than welcome additon to madden

    Winning -
    Indicates a players interest in playing for a winning team. Players that value you this the most would prioritize winning teams and eliminate teams at the bottom of the league and out of contention for consideration. Player would also be more willing to take a lesser contract from a proven contender over a team that's been in and out of the playoffs.
    Nothing to add here
    System - A player most interested in a system fit would eliminate teams that have strong scheme conflicts and would prioritize places where a scheme fit was possible.
    Two words… Nhamdi Asamough. Pro-Bowler for Oakland. Gets a fat contract in Philly with a different scheme, and he became a nobody over night.
    Location - Indicates a players desire to play near his hometown. Players with high interest in this category will prioritize teams nearest to his hometown.
    I like this. I feel like this could be at least a great tie breaker or add a few more “interest points” for a team/ player. You hear stories of how Kaepernick grew up a Packers fan, or Cam Newton a Falcons fan.
    Playing Time - Indicates a players desire to sign with a team that would lead to him seeing the most playing time. Players most interested in this would be looking to sign with teams where they could be starters based on the depth chart.
    There's probably a lot more that could be included here but I wanted to keep it simple enough to where there isn't a lot of moving parts and it's something that would be easy for every user to understand why a player was or wasn't interested in their team versus others.
    I think this is important for a lot lower to midrange ratings. Had the Bears not paid Mike Glennon $15 million per year, it is safe to say he isn’t going to sign with a team that has an established quarterback. He is going to sign with a team desperate for a QB.
    Requesting A Visit
    Prior to the start of free agency there would be a five day period where you would be able to contact players and schedule visits. Think of this as a modified version of the tampering period in the NFL. This is where teams would prioritize the highest target free agents scheduling visits for the moment that free agency starts. How this would work is that you would go through the free agent list and choose the players that you're interested in signing and negotiating with and check them off in a process similar to scouting.
    When the day advances you'd receive request updates for the players you've selected and will be prompted to select a date for the player to "visit." This is also where you'll find out where you fall in terms of that players interest in your team. If you're far down on his interest list, you may find out that he already has multiple visits set-up with teams he is more interested in thus making him much harder to sign. If you're high on his interest list, you'll have a good chance of being able to schedule a visit as quickly as possible.
    As you get into actual free agency you can continue to request visits with free agents but they won't be able to actually visit until the next day at the soonest. I think two visits per day sounds about right but having options for just one or even more would be optimal.
    This is awesome. With this you have to be careful of who you approach right away. If you go after all the top players, well so is every other team. So at that point, you may be competing with 15-20 teams for one player to get them to come visit you.
    Whereas, if you go for a second tier player, you have a much easier shot at getting them to come visit you and sign earlier.

    The Process of A Visit
    Once that first period has ended and free agency officially begins, players will begin to take their "visits." Just think of a visit as entering negotiations under the current format. It could also be something that is used to find out a bit more information about a player that you don't see from the basic free agency menu. For instance, requesting a visit could be a process very similar to scouting where you know very little about a player before hand and must go further to find out more. It could also be used to provide some other minor details like injury ratings to emulate the player taking a physical. There's a lot of freedom here to work with.
    You said it with “There is a lot of freedom here to work with.” You could even have an actual physical representation of this with showing the player in casual attire meeting with you in the office.
    Contracts
    This is something I'd like to see them completely overhaul. I mentioned before that I'd like to see players ask for money based on performance than just overall and I think that's something that's really important here. Players should be asking for money that matches their perceived market value. Starters should want money that coincides with other starters at their position. Stars should ALWAYS be asking for above and beyond and this is one of the reason's it's so easy to work around the cap in Madden. I don't care if a player is a 75 OVR, if he's a free agent and coming off a 22 sack season he should be looking for Von Miller money.
    Stats mean nothing in madden, and this right here is how you start adding the importance of statistics. It is huge for this that you don’t see their overall.
    How many players have we seen over the years have a great one year statistically, sign with a new team the next year, and become a no name? Remember when Matt Flynn through for 6 TD’s in one game, and then the Seahawks gave him a $26 million contract.
    Another thing to consider is the popularity of a player from a big performance. The Raiders were guilty of this twice when they paid out big for two super-bowl stars Desmond Howard and Larry Brown.

    I think they should also make contract offering a bit more user friendly. When negotiating, lay out the entire contract instead of just showing salary and bonus. Bring back the frontloaded, backloaded, escalating, deescalating options for contracts. Also, instead of toggling salary and bonus separately and players asking for a "3-years/$15-million", show players asking price as APY along with Guaranteed Money. You could even take this a step further and create contract templates around these options so that the entire negotiating process is made quicker and easier.
    After A Visit
    As you advance a day, players will either sign or move on to their next visit. Some players may sign immediately, some may take all of their visits before choosing an offer, while others may decide in the middle of their tour of visits. This would create an interesting dynamic where there is constant action around the league each day and you have to constantly keep abreast with your negotiations and what's happening around the league. You may be put in a situation where you have to choose to withdraw an offer to a player because you simply can't afford to wait on him. The start of free agency would emulate that "free agent frenzy" that we see each year and would be able to be as quick or methodical as a user desired.
    Yes! This adds an element of excitement and uncertainty (Just like the real NFL). How do you think an NFL team feels when they put in what they think is a great offer for a player they really want, then they have to wait a few days and a few visits to find out if they got that player.

    I think that about covers most of what I had on my mind. It's not a completely fleshed out idea but I think it would be a very strong foundation with a lot of freedom for improvement and would make Free Agency a much more challenging and fun experience than what is currently implemented. A couple more things I wanted to add that don't directly have to do with Free Agency but I do think would benefit it, and CFM, if they were to be implemented.
    No Progression/Regression until after the draft
    One of my biggest issues with the whole XP system is that I feel like it destroys roster building which is something that I believe should be the fundamental focus of a franchise mode. Madden puts more of an emphasis on player building when it comes to progression and regression and does so in a very unrealistic, simplistic, paint-by-the-numbers manner and I wouldn't have much of a problem with this if there were other avenues to create a more realistic approach. One of those being not allowing progression/regression until the end of the off-season. This was something that MVP Baseball did that I think is a great idea. The reason being that it forces you to try and anticipate how your roster will look rather than knowing every single exact detail about your roster at all times.
    For example, let's say you have an aging starter who is on the decline but is still a serviceable player. At some point he is going to decline to the point where he is no longer starter worthy. Now in Madden, you're made aware of this as soon as your season ends. You already know going into your next season that you should cut ties and that he's not going to be remotely the same player as he was before. This makes roster management a very simple process with very little risk. Now if that same player regresses in the same manner BUT you're not made aware of it until after you have to take care of these off-season tasks, it forces you to think about it a bit more and try to anticipate the rise and falls of certain players. Do you take a high pick at his position or go after a top free agent anticipating his decline? Or do you do nothing and risk that the position becomes an immediate need? This is not only more realistic but also more challenging which is something CFM desperately needs. The idea with locking progression under the same rules has to do with the same concept. I'd hide the amount of XP a player has until the end of the off-season so that you're not always aware of who might be a breakout star or a breakout bust. Obviously this wouldn't be the only option, just another option for those that wanted a more challenging and more realistic experience.
    I enjoy the idea of this. It is realistic and it adds more of challenge.
    Alternatively, it provides a great foundation for free agent gems and busts. You might sign a player to a huge deal hoping he'll be the cornerstone of your offense or defense only to find out that he's already on the downside of his career and have him fizzle out after two years. To that same extent, you might sign a player and upon signing him find out he's sitting on a boatload of XP and that the fairly arbitrary signing you thought you made ends up being a breakout star and a free agent gem. It also would make you think a bit more about who to resign or let go heading into the off-season.
    This is great. Are you going to be signing a Jerry Rice like when he went to Oakland, or are you signing a Jeff Garcia like the Browns did in 2004?
    Dev Trait Hidden, Calculated as Part of the OVR
    This is another thing that MVP Baseball did that I think would greatly benefit multiple aspects of CFM and not just free agency. In MVP there was no classic numeric overall, it was instead shown in the form of a bar. The fuller the bar, the better the player essentially. However, something rather ingenious they did was have a player's potential affect the bar or overall. So you could have two players with identical attributes across the board but a team would value one more than the other because of that difference in potential and this is something I would love to see Madden do. I think this would help CFM in numerous areas especially when it comes to having the AI build a smarter roster by valuing younger talent with more potential over older, aging, high-priced talent. The Dev Trait wouldn't have to be entirely hidden, just removed from the player card and viewable inside the player edit screen. This would also come with the caveat of making the Dev Trait editable which I'm sure a lot of people would enjoy as well.
    And that's what I've got. As always, thanks for reading if you took the time and if you have any additional suggestions or ideas for how you'd like to see free agency or any other aspect of CFM, let 'em loose!
    To the above posted (sorry, didn't want to re-quote it as it was fairly long). I can imagine the Madden offseason becoming like a player stock market.






















    Voila, the Free Agent/Draft stock market.
    Love this thread still, big influence on my style of threads
    To illustrate my point above, essentially it would take setting some limits to define the draft class position profile as bad, below average, average, above average and good. A draft class position would get one of these 5 profiles which would then have a +% or -% affect on the demands on the free agent market.
    The diagram below shows the bell curves of typical draft classes and how their peaks and means align with the draft strength profiles. The statistical analysis would likely go further in this case also using standard deviations and reporting on the skew, variance, kurtosis etc and converting that into draft class information (good depth rounds 1-3, lot of above average talent but no superstars etc, poor day 1 but plenty talent day 3 of draft).
    It's a lot of lines but only the CPU would calculate this and the scouts might issue a report at the beginning of FA saying "WR class is above average with good depth, with the players we have already hold off on Free Agency", or "CB draft class is very poor, it's going to be a tough Free Agency considering we're below average at that position already".
    p.s. Not everyone likes maths, economics or statistics, but it's about using that information under the hood and presenting it in a cool easy way that makes every Franchise alive and dynamic!
    Read through this today for the first time.
    Excited me, then took the air out of me as I realized I was nodding along and my mental notebook was scribbling things at a mile a minute. I allowed myself to even cross over into "hype" territory, and that's just not good.
    There were some good arguments regarding what's truly feasible when you think about *selling* a game (or gameplay features) to the public. But honestly, in this era of gaming it just continues to baffle me that the hardcore sim audience can't get one video game that encapsulates the extensive artistry of football. Many of those items remind me of things I've seen in 2K games and The Show, and those games still offer the casual user and even intermediate users deep experiences that are quick to pick up and play.
    The same *could* happen with Madden if they wanted it to. Maybe not to the extent of your absolute genius of a vision, DD, but there's no reason they can't push the envelope at this point and provide their rabid football audience with a product that can entice the advanced user, as well as satisfy those casual/intermediate levels.
    So my question is.... "Would Madden benefit from hiding the players ratings?"
    If so, how would you suggest presenting a players talent?
    Granted I think you should have the ability to set your settings to where you could view them or hide them.
    Toupal
    So my question is.... "Would Madden benefit from hiding the players ratings?"
    If so, how would you suggest presenting a players talent?
    Granted I think you should have the ability to set your settings to where you could view them or hide them.

    It's hard to say if Madden overall would benefit but I think there would be a good number of people that would enjoy the feature if it were implemented into CFM. Hiding/obscuring ratings would benefit a number of aspects of the mode, the one area that I think it would hurt the most though just from an overall standpoint is the draft. People definitely love seeing the player they drafted immediately, especially if it's a stud, but that's why there has to be options. If player ratings were hidden, it becomes more about the process than that short thrill. If you had to reveal a players true attributes over time it would give you an incentive to play preseason games and make practice more important.
    As for presenting a players talent, I think obscuring ratings is the best bet. They already basically do this with the PHY & INT ratings. But give the user some basic, vague grades for certain areas of a player that become more specific over his time in the league and with your team. What Madden 12 did with draft picks was absolutely great IMO and seeing that expanded with a few tweaks to the entire roster is what I'd most like to see. Physical attributes would be given or could always be a step or two ahead of the other attributes. The idea being that if a player was good (or terrible) at something you wouldn't be completely left in the dark, it just wouldn't be exact. But the longer you had that player the more clear the picture of what he was would become. What I'd personally like to see as well that I mentioned in my last post is calculating potential into OVR. I think for CFM a players overall rating should be heavily tweaked to fit the mode which would mean taking potential as well as production into account. You could even throw something like age into the equation. This would nearly benefit everything in CFM. Contract negotiations, trades, free agency, the depth chart, etc.
    I really like what The Show does with the ratings wheel. That is something I'd definitely like if Madden were to implement it.
    And then you look at 2K's rosters and I think they do a great job as well. You get letter grades that are non-exact but still give you a basic picture of a player. It's not like hiding the ratings all of sudden changes everything and doesn't give you the ability to know whether Steph Curry or Shaq is a better 3-Point shooter, it just makes things a little more unknown and exact.
    So back to your original question, I'm not sure it would benefit Madden as a whole to hide ratings but I think it would undoubtedly benefit CFM to have the option available. It wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea but I think a lot more people would enjoy it than might be expected.
    ^Count me as someone who would love the option to hide ratings in Franchise mode.
    I love this thread, so many great ideas. We really need DeuceDouglas to be a Gamechanger
    Since we were on the topic of hidden attributes I wanted to go through and layout examples of how and why this would be a good addition to CFM by just going through the parts of a season and showing why it would be beneficial.
    Starting with the preseason, with viewable numeric attributes, it makes preseason very predictable and more than likely skipped because there is really no point in playing the games. Now I'm not going to act like hiding attributes is going to suddenly change preseason games and turn them into this almighty holy grail of fun because it absolutely won't. However when you create an actual purpose to playing the games it will undoubtedly make them more worth playing. Let's say you're the 49ers and they draft a QB this week in the draft. Going into preseason if you're using them and you automatically know Brian Hoyer is a 76 and the QB they drafted is a 71, you're inherently going to choose the 76 almost by default. But with hidden attributes it creates a bit of mystery and a position battle where there likely wouldn't have been one previously and you're actually encouraged to play both of them. This goes for all positions as well. 80 vs. 75 seems like a fairly big difference on paper but if you're looking at vague attributes then those small to medium differences start to become much more narrow and tougher to gauge which adds a nice challenge to roster building. The superstars would still standout compared to middle of the road players and known commodities would be more valuable in a lot of situations versus unknown which is something that definitely resembles real life.
    Not too much would change during the regular season but it would definitely provide for some more interesting scenarios than what CFM is accustomed to. With viewable attributes you know exactly what you have for the entire season and it also gives you the ability to sign or trade for players that you know are better than what you have on your current roster. With hidden attributes, there introduces a layer of mystery behind each potential transaction. No longer would there be the ability to go to the free agent list and immediately identify a number of players that are better than what you have on your roster. Same goes for the trade market, instead of being able to go through the league and pluck a superior player from another roster, that same certainty is no longer a foregone conclusion.
    Once you get to the offseason is where the largest difference would be made. Re-signing players would be a bit more challenging and would require a bit more diligence and the same logic would apply for free agent signings. The draft is where I think the single biggest difference would come. Let's say you're the Steelers and after season one Ben Roethlisberger retires and you let go of Landry Jones. You've got no QB's so drafting one is a huge priority. You scout a few of them and when it comes time to pick you take one and he's a 65. Now with the current system you're notified of this immediately and it changes the entire way you draft. Chances are you're likely going to take another QB with your next pick because you already know the one you just took sucks before the next team was even on the clock. With hidden attributes you get an idea of what he is but not that instant confirmation. This again adds some challenge and life to CFM which it desperately needs.
    Another interesting dynamic of this that has been mentioned before is the progression of revealing a players attributes over time. This would just add more depth to a masked attribute system. It would put an emphasis on having players in your organization and present a true risk/reward when it came to players around the league. There's a ton of different areas, many of which I'm probably forgetting, that I feel CFM would GREATLY benefit from having the option available. And that's the key thing, I don't want to remove anybody's ability to play the game the way they want to, only add additional ways to make CFM a more interesting and worthwhile experience to a wider audience.
    Another thing I wanted to dive into a bit is scouting. In my opinion it is one of the most poorly done aspects in all of CFM as well as probably the worst interpretation that has ever been in Madden. With the amount of emphasis placed on the casual player and accessibility the suggestions in the OP will never even be considered moving forward so I just want to talk about what could or should be improved on what's already in the game.

    Under the current format the players are projected in accordance to a draft pick rather than perceived value and that is something that needs to be changed. What I'm talking about is the fact that each draft class has 32 players projected per round with the leftovers being projected as undrafted. Instead it should judge players on their perceived talent and project them accordingly. Some draft classes might have 40+ first round talent type players because it is so deep while some might only have like 15. With something like this it would be a lot easier for the user to determine where the strengths and weaknesses of each draft class lie. I'd also like to see the inclusion of a wider range of projections. Include projections like 1st-2nd, 2nd-4th, 5-7th, etc.
    Alternatively you could take an entirely new direction and replace the round projections with more of a player grade whether it be a 0.0-10.0 or a 0-100 scale.

    Just ax it. I'd say provide an option to turn it off but I don't even think that is necessary. Having it in the game makes it pointless to even project the players if you're just going to tell them the "real" projection by scouting them. If you're going to keep it in the game just get rid of the stock projections all together and require the user to fully scout a player to reveal his projection then. Even with that it's still a terrible way to handle it so this is something that should just be done away with.

    Full Draft Class Scouting - As someone who uses 32-team control I'd always scout every player so that the entire class was as known as it could possibly be. I've also heard of online leagues doing this as it creates an even playing field for everyone and could also make up for players who miss weeks of scouting to not put them at a disadvantage. Have an option or commissioner tool to just forgo scouting all together and have all attribute grades viewable for every player. This is something that could also be used by people who either don't have time or don't want to scout as well as a time saver for users that are simulating through a season.
    Scouting Points Slider - Similar to the XP slider. Add a slider that allows the user to adjust the amount of allotted scouting points for a given week for them or their league. This is something I'd imagine online leagues would definitely utilize.
    Any other suggestions for how you'd like to see scouting handled or changed that are somewhat within the realm of what is already in-game?
    Reading these posts makes me sad, because madden hasn't even scratched the surface to a majority of these ideas.
    After watching the draft this last weekend, then comparing that experience to what Madden has to offer, it is more than underwhelming.
    ^Count me as someone who would love the option to hide ratings in Franchise mode.
    /QUOTE]
    Agreed.
    I think the most imports aspect should be if a player fits your offensive and defensive scheme.
    Rating should take a major hit if said player does not.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    logically the variance from reality ie scouting accuracy should be impacted by the quality/experience of the scouting staff and the definition of requirements given to the scouts
    Ueauvan
    logically the variance from reality ie scouting accuracy should be impacted by the quality/experience of the scouting staff and the definition of requirements given to the scouts

    Not to hijack the thread too much, but I discuss the need for a scouting attribute for all coaches and front office staff in my Revamped Coaching thread. The aim there is that the combination of HC/coordinator and Position coach scouting attribute would determine how accurate you can see the attributes of your own recently acquired players at a specific position, your opponents at a specific position and free agents at a specific position.
    Say you have 2 coaches, at HB and at WR, they both have the same coordinator and HC but the HB coach has a high scouting value and the WR coach has a low scouting value. You can then be sure that your recently acquired (after draft, after FA) players at HB are reasonably accurate, can scout your opponents HBs accurately and unsigned Free agents wont surprise you by being that different once you sign them. It would be the complete opposite for the WR position, where it could fluctuate a lot more when you view various players.
    In this case the OVR and attributes/ratings are not hidden but have various degrees of reliability.
    Draftees and UDFAs would be down the scouting skill of the scouting department and treated separately.
    Geodude
    Not to hijack the thread too much, but I discuss the need for a scouting attribute for all coaches and front office staff in my Revamped Coaching thread. The aim there is that the combination of HC/coordinator and Position coach scouting attribute would determine how accurate you can see the attributes of your own recently acquired players at a specific position, your opponents at a specific position and free agents at a specific position.
    Say you have 2 coaches, at HB and at WR, they both have the same coordinator and HC but the HB coach has a high scouting value and the WR coach has a low scouting value. You can then be sure that your recently acquired (after draft, after FA) players at HB are reasonably accurate, can scout your opponents HBs accurately and unsigned Free agents wont surprise you by being that different once you sign them. It would be the complete opposite for the WR position, where it could fluctuate a lot more when you view various players.
    In this case the OVR and attributes/ratings are not hidden but have various degrees of reliability.
    Draftees and UDFAs would be down the scouting skill of the scouting department and treated separately.

    I would like to see an owner mode where you hire GM's. Those GM's would have "ratings" or "traits". Depending on how good they are, your scouting info on free agents and prospects would vary in accuracy.
    Toupal
    I would like to see an owner mode where you hire GM's. Those GM's would have "ratings" or "traits". Depending on how good they are, your scouting info on free agents and prospects would vary in accuracy.

    Yeah that's a better one for free agency, have it tied to the gm and vp of player personnel. I prefer gm to owner as then as a gm you still have someone to be accountable and responsible too in terms of goals. An owner never retires, sells or is fired in cfm.
    Sent from my F3111 using Operation Sports mobile app
    I honestly think they should just ditch the whole "Connected" aspect and just go back to a more traditional franchise model. They have a good opportunity this year if they wanted to follow in the footsteps of FIFA and create a single player mode to go along with the transition to Frostbite. It would eliminate the need for the current "Superstar" mode within CFM which I don't think has really even been touched since CFM's inception. And then having an Owner and HC mode where, outside of relocation, they both do almost entirely the same thing is quite redundant. They just consolidate it into a GM mode where you're not playing a role rather than just controlling a team.
    And on the topic of scouting it reminded me of a quote made about it prior to M16 when talking about Madden's current scouting system:
    Reality is like you gotta hire a bunch of scouts and you gotta send em out, you gotta learn to trust that scout, that scouts gotta give you great information that's going to be bunch of written feedback; numbers, charts, graphs, sentences. That's not realistic. And that's not realistic in the sense of what you could do in the scope of a video game. To expect that millions of people will be able to parse all of this information and make sense of it and go like 'I know what to do in the draft,' it's not an easy thing.

    It just shows what a huge uphill battle it is going to be to get nearly any aspect of CFM to have any kind of depth beyond it's absolute simplest form and scouting is a perfect example of this. He's right it's not an easy thing but the exact things he mentioned weren't realistic in terms of what you could do in a video were in Madden 13 years ago, worked well and were in the game for years. And to think that even something that, to me, is quite simple isn't even considered a realistic option anymore is really unfortunate.
    Madden 2004:

    Madden 09:
    ^^ there it is^^
    Madden 09, it had it's flaws and wasn't perfect but it's my favourite of them all. Drafting logic was deeply flawed, IR didn't work, players physicals progressed every season (everyone was fast then) and when drafting you could sort all players by potential, but it had that scouting system... and look, 5 CFM attributes for blocking, not 3!!!
    I got all around excited for M12 too and M17 is best for gameplay, but I rebought M09 for the 360 and still boot it up now and again.
    I agree that I would love to see a separated Career, HC (which would be easier for big online leagues) and a role-playing GM mode.
    DeuceDouglas
    I honestly think they should just ditch the whole "Connected" aspect and just go back to a more traditional franchise model. They have a good opportunity this year if they wanted to follow in the footsteps of FIFA and create a single player mode to go along with the transition to Frostbite. It would eliminate the need for the current "Superstar" mode within CFM which I don't think has really even been touched since CFM's inception. And then having an Owner and HC mode where, outside of relocation, they both do almost entirely the same thing is quite redundant. They just consolidate it into a GM mode where you're not playing a role rather than just controlling a team.
    And on the topic of scouting it reminded me of a quote made about it prior to M16 when talking about Madden's current scouting system:
    It just shows what a huge uphill battle it is going to be to get nearly any aspect of CFM to have any kind of depth beyond it's absolute simplest form and scouting is a perfect example of this. He's right it's not an easy thing but the exact things he mentioned weren't realistic in terms of what you could do in a video were in Madden 13 years ago, worked well and were in the game for years. And to think that even something that, to me, is quite simple isn't even considered a realistic option anymore is really unfortunate.
    Madden 2004:

    Madden 09:

    I miss this kind of design, so much...
    When I was going through looking for old Madden scouting screenshots I also came across some old NCAA screenshots and saw something that I think would fit really well into to Madden on a multitude of levels and that's the SPARQ score.

    You can see it in the top right and for those that are unaware SPARQ stands for Speed Power Agility Reaction and Quickness. It's essentially an attempt to quantify athleticism into a single metric. For more info you can go here. Also, the site 3-Sigma Athlete has created a variation of this called pSPARQ (position specific SPARQ) based on combine and pro-day data that gives players a rating based on their specific position. They also provide a z-score (number of standard deviations a player is above or below the NFL average) and NFL percentile which is essentially the same but shows where the player ranks among peers based on percentage i.e. 85th percentile means he ranks in the top 15% in the league.
    Okay, so how does it fit in Madden?
    When it comes to incoming rookies, instead of receiving a "combine grade" at the combine, you would first receive a perceived SPARQ score at the beginning of the year. One of the things that bugs me about scouting is that you're given zero info in regards to a players physical traits prior to the combine and this would aim to remedy that. Once you reach the combine you'd receive a players actual SPARQ score based off of their combine numbers as well as a Team Ranking and NFL Percentile. The team ranking would show you where the player ranked compared to the players at his position on your current roster while the NFL percentile would show you where they rank based on the entire league at their position. If they included Pro Days as well it could allow for some variation where a players score could get better as well. For veteran players, it would essentially replace the Physical rating and be sortable through the view roster screen.
    Now where they could take this to the next level is by allowing the user to customize the formula to their own specific preferences by both overall and by specific positions. So let's just say the formula is made up of Speed, Acceleration, Agility, Jumping, and Strength and the base scale weighs each attribute equally or 20%. If you coveted speed receivers you could adjust the rating scale to weigh speed more heavily and receivers with good speed would rate higher while slower receivers would grade out much lower. This would be able to be adjusted unique to each position. This would help users not only in the draft but also in trading and free agency at quickly and easily identifying the physical player types that they covet while also weeding ones that they don't want to even consider.
    DeuceDouglas
    When I was going through looking for old Madden scouting screenshots I also came across some old NCAA screenshots and saw something that I think would fit really well into to Madden on a multitude of levels and that's the SPARQ score.

    You can see it in the top right and for those that are unaware SPARQ stands for Speed Power Agility Reaction and Quickness. It's essentially an attempt to quantify athleticism into a single metric. For more info you can go here. Also, the site 3-Sigma Athlete has created a variation of this called pSPARQ (position specific SPARQ) based on combine and pro-day data that gives players a rating based on their specific position. They also provide a z-score (number of standard deviations a player is above or below the NFL average) and NFL percentile which is essentially the same but shows where the player ranks among peers based on percentage i.e. 85th percentile means he ranks in the top 15% in the league.
    Okay, so how does it fit in Madden?
    When it comes to incoming rookies, instead of receiving a "combine grade" at the combine, you would first receive a perceived SPARQ score at the beginning of the year. One of the things that bugs me about scouting is that you're given zero info in regards to a players physical traits prior to the combine and this would aim to remedy that. Once you reach the combine you'd receive a players actual SPARQ score based off of their combine numbers as well as a Team Ranking and NFL Percentile. The team ranking would show you where the player ranked compared to the players at his position on your current roster while the NFL percentile would show you where they rank based on the entire league at their position. If they included Pro Days as well it could allow for some variation where a players score could get better as well. For veteran players, it would essentially replace the Physical rating and be sortable through the view roster screen.
    Now where they could take this to the next level is by allowing the user to customize the formula to their own specific preferences by both overall and by specific positions. So let's just say the formula is made up of Speed, Acceleration, Agility, Jumping, and Strength and the base scale weighs each attribute equally or 20%. If you coveted speed receivers you could adjust the rating scale to weigh speed more heavily and receivers with good speed would rate higher while slower receivers would grade out much lower. This would be able to be adjusted unique to each position. This would help users not only in the draft but also in trading and free agency at quickly and easily identifying the physical player types that they covet while also weeding ones that they don't want to even consider.

    They need to hire you. They need to take what you got here, take Geos stuff too, and rebuild franchise over the next 5 or so years. Introduce a few things each year, work on stuff in the background, and Madden 22 will be everything we've hoped for.
    Sent from my SM-G386W using Operation Sports mobile app
    It's about that time when we start to see the first screenshots of the new Madden and a month until EA Play.
    With this being the first year of the new engine, do you guys think we are going to get a scaled back version of a "new" traditional type of franchise mode ? I'm a tad worried, hopefully they have been working on the transition for awhile now so we don't get a scaled back version of what we currently have.
    iFnotWhyNoT
    It's about that time when we start to see the first screenshots of the new Madden and a month until EA Play.
    With this being the first year of the new engine, do you guys think we are going to get a scaled back version of a "new" traditional type of franchise mode ? I'm a tad worried, hopefully they have been working on the transition for awhile now so we don't get a scaled back version of what we currently have.

    I don't think so. This transition doesn't seem like one that is going to completely shake up the infrastructure of the game and shouldn't be much different than the move to Ignite so CFM should remain largely unaffected by the transition. I'm guessing it's also something that was considered for last year as it was likely already in the works but wasn't deemed ready so they waited until this year. They seem to have genuinely learned from the Xbox>360 transition though so I wouldn't be worried about it too much.
    That franchise mode team has a lot to prove. The mode has been underwhelming for some time now. Even last year, boasting an in-game ticker that, to this day, doesn't work properly (displays incorrect win-loss records) was kind of embarrassing. I'd really like to see them break out. I know Looman tweeted back in February that the team had good momentum. I believe they have the potential to really do something special.
    DeuceDouglas, have you ever been contacted by the game devs or any other gamechangers after shopmaster featured you on his channel a while back? I tweeted Clint Oldenburg a link to this thread just asking if the devs ever found time to read some of the more creative threads (I don't think they know who Geodude is, so didn't bother with mine... :P)
    Lexicon
    That franchise mode team has a lot to prove. The mode has been underwhelming for some time now. Even last year, boasting an in-game ticker that, to this day, doesn't work properly (displays incorrect win-loss records) was kind of embarrassing. I'd really like to see them break out. I know Looman tweeted back in February that the team had good momentum. I believe they have the potential to really do something special.

    I agree and I think they just need to start being a bit more deliberate with their ideas and implementation. Almost all of the features for 17 weren't fully fleshed out and left a lot to be desired. The ticker issues you mentioned, GamePlanning only taking into account first down plays from the previous game and not tracking data at all for the CPU, injuries was just a bad design choice, practice squads not having correct eligibility rules, etc. Just moving into 18 you've got all this stuff that you just implemented last year that still needs a ton of work but you also have to add a bunch of new things and that kind of sets in motion this cycle where you've got all these different features that aren't getting built on or getting attention because they weren't well fleshed out to begin with and have been knocked to the bottom of the priority list.
    It's also crazy to me to think about how much time has been spent over the last five years of CFM constantly reworking and retooling how XP and goals work. Maybe it's just me, but if you're having to go back every year and spend time changing something just to try and make it work, that says to me that it isn't a very good game mechanic. I know it's not going anywhere but luckily they seem to be headed in a better direction but I still have issues with the award bonuses and goals.
    I agree though and hopefuly this year will be a lot better than last and they can start righting the ship.
    Geodude
    DeuceDouglas, have you ever been contacted by the game devs or any other gamechangers after shopmaster featured you on his channel a while back? I tweeted Clint Oldenburg a link to this thread just asking if the devs ever found time to read some of the more creative threads (I don't think they know who Geodude is, so didn't bother with mine... :P)

    Not really. I've sent them a few of my threads over the years and either haven't gotten a response or been told it's not that easy. The thing also with sending things to Rex or Clint is that I don't think they are all that in-touch with the CFM side of things and that's not a knock on either of them, it's just what I've gathered. They're separate teams so it makes complete sense and it seems like the CFM team is pretty much allowed to do their own thing. There is also pretty much zero dialogue when it comes to the CFM team or CFM as a whole as well which doesn't help things either. It'd be amazing to have someone as upfront and engaging as Rex for CFM.
    DeuceDouglas
    I agree and I think they just need to start being a bit more deliberate with their ideas and implementation. Almost all of the features for 17 weren't fully fleshed out and left a lot to be desired. The ticker issues you mentioned, GamePlanning only taking into account first down plays from the previous game and not tracking data at all for the CPU, injuries was just a bad design choice, practice squads not having correct eligibility rules, etc. Just moving into 18 you've got all this stuff that you just implemented last year that still needs a ton of work but you also have to add a bunch of new things and that kind of sets in motion this cycle where you've got all these different features that aren't getting built on or getting attention because they weren't well fleshed out to begin with and have been knocked to the bottom of the priority list.
    It's also crazy to me to think about how much time has been spent over the last five years of CFM constantly reworking and retooling how XP and goals work. Maybe it's just me, but if you're having to go back every year and spend time changing something just to try and make it work, that says to me that it isn't a very good game mechanic. I know it's not going anywhere but luckily they seem to be headed in a better direction but I still have issues with the award bonuses and goals.
    I agree though and hopefuly this year will be a lot better than last and they can start righting the ship.
    Not really. I've sent them a few of my threads over the years and either haven't gotten a response or been told it's not that easy. The thing also with sending things to Rex or Clint is that I don't think they are all that in-touch with the CFM side of things and that's not a knock on either of them, it's just what I've gathered. They're separate teams so it makes complete sense and it seems like the CFM team is pretty much allowed to do their own thing. There is also pretty much zero dialogue when it comes to the CFM team or CFM as a whole as well which doesn't help things either. It'd be amazing to have someone as upfront and engaging as Rex for CFM.

    Franchise Mode has so many things working against it. Firstly, it hasn't had the stability of the Gameplay team. In the 6 or so years, we've had 4 different leads for the Franchise team, I believe. There was Looman, the guy before Looman, Kolby, and now John White. Looman took this mode into a very problematic area when he decided to make it an RPG focus. And every year since, they've tried to build on it, and like you said, they've had to rework it or try to alter it. It was a rotten idea that should have been reserved for a standalone career mode, and unfortunately, we're feeling the effects from it still. And it's also pretty boggling that a guy like Looman set this in motion, since he actually worked on those great franchise modes of the past.
    It's very obvious that there's a disconnect between Rex and Franchise Mode. Last year, in the hype leading up to 17, he stated that Franchise would be getting a complete overhaul. It's obvious that it didn't. Either that, or we have very different definitions of "overhaul." He also does nothing but champion eSports, Twitch streams, and MUT. Now, I understand that THAT'S HIS JOB, and I understand that his directive from his bosses is to build Madden into an eSport (I know that this is like the #1 focus in sports games right now). However, you have a few million people who buy your game mainly based on Franchise Mode. When they changed it from Franchise Mode to Connected Careers, remember how many people were freaking out thinking that Franchise Mode was gone? It's a big part of Rex's game, and I just feel he should treat it with a little more outward affection.
    But here's my proposal to legitimately rebuild this mode: Pick a guy who's committed to the next 3 years (at least) to stay in the position of lead on Franchise and rebuild the mode from scratch. I know all the arguments against this: It'll cost too much, it's not that easy, we don't have time for that, we don't have the resources to allocate to that, Franchise doesn't generate revenue, etc. But if you don't want to continue the ill will with the Franchise sector of the community, it's time to do it right. I can hear the groaning from everyone who says "Start over? Not again..." but that's the way I see it ending up anyway. At some point, they're going to look at what they have, realize they've hit a wall, and want to start fresh. Better sooner than later, I say.
    There are so many things that don't work in this mode. I mentioned the ticker not working properly, lots of complaints about formation subs, CPU roster management AI, getting kicked back to the main menu after a game, the aforementioned Gameplanning, the menus are absolutely atrocious. Things like confidence seem inconsequential. Then there's just the overall underwhelming feeling of the mode in general. It's a lifeless and cold mode. I know the NFL won't allow certain things like suspensions and stuff like that, but there are other things they can do to make the mode feel dynamic. Their overall presentation needs a huge boost. It's like every single game feels the same, and I see the same exact cutscenes in every game.
    There are many valid arguments for why this mode is in the shape that it's in, but at some point, the excuses have to stop and you have to deliver. It's just sad for me to see them progress so much in the Gameplay area because it's like they understand how to make that dynamic, but Franchise Mode is like this puzzle that they can't crack for some reason or another.
    Lexicon
    Franchise Mode has so many things working against it. Firstly, it hasn't had the stability of the Gameplay team. In the 6 or so years, we've had 4 different leads for the Franchise team, I believe. There was Looman, the guy before Looman, Kolby, and now John White. Looman took this mode into a very problematic area when he decided to make it an RPG focus. And every year since, they've tried to build on it, and like you said, they've had to rework it or try to alter it. It was a rotten idea that should have been reserved for a standalone career mode, and unfortunately, we're feeling the effects from it still. And it's also pretty boggling that a guy like Looman set this in motion, since he actually worked on those great franchise modes of the past.
    It's very obvious that there's a disconnect between Rex and Franchise Mode. Last year, in the hype leading up to 17, he stated that Franchise would be getting a complete overhaul. It's obvious that it didn't. Either that, or we have very different definitions of "overhaul." He also does nothing but champion eSports, Twitch streams, and MUT. Now, I understand that THAT'S HIS JOB, and I understand that his directive from his bosses is to build Madden into an eSport (I know that this is like the #1 focus in sports games right now). However, you have a few million people who buy your game mainly based on Franchise Mode. When they changed it from Franchise Mode to Connected Careers, remember how many people were freaking out thinking that Franchise Mode was gone? It's a big part of Rex's game, and I just feel he should treat it with a little more outward affection.
    But here's my proposal to legitimately rebuild this mode: Pick a guy who's committed to the next 3 years (at least) to stay in the position of lead on Franchise and rebuild the mode from scratch. I know all the arguments against this: It'll cost too much, it's not that easy, we don't have time for that, we don't have the resources to allocate to that, Franchise doesn't generate revenue, etc. But if you don't want to continue the ill will with the Franchise sector of the community, it's time to do it right. I can hear the groaning from everyone who says "Start over? Not again..." but that's the way I see it ending up anyway. At some point, they're going to look at what they have, realize they've hit a wall, and want to start fresh. Better sooner than later, I say.
    There are so many things that don't work in this mode. I mentioned the ticker not working properly, lots of complaints about formation subs, CPU roster management AI, getting kicked back to the main menu after a game, the aforementioned Gameplanning, the menus are absolutely atrocious. Things like confidence seem inconsequential. Then there's just the overall underwhelming feeling of the mode in general. It's a lifeless and cold mode. I know the NFL won't allow certain things like suspensions and stuff like that, but there are other things they can do to make the mode feel dynamic. Their overall presentation needs a huge boost. It's like every single game feels the same, and I see the same exact cutscenes in every game.
    There are many valid arguments for why this mode is in the shape that it's in, but at some point, the excuses have to stop and you have to deliver. It's just sad for me to see them progress so much in the Gameplay area because it's like they understand how to make that dynamic, but Franchise Mode is like this puzzle that they can't crack for some reason or another.

    Whilst I agree that there are many things that should hopefully change between iterations, I feel that a real life expectation is an improvement in superstar mode, like with what happened in Fifa and a glossy redesign of franchise in terms of UI and a couple of additions at a level similar to Practice Squad and Formation Subs. I don't believe this is the year we get the Franchise overhaul, just due to the big feature being the frostbite engine.
    Ha, I would be willing to offer my time for the price of a flight and a hotel. I tweeted shopmaster to check out my threads if he has time but fully expect all of them to just be my own thought experiment and never implemented. Also, playing in a 32 user league has given me fresh insight in what could work and what would be atrocious and further reinforces my belief there should be an online coach mode and a separate GM mode.
    Sent from my F3111 using Operation Sports mobile app
    Geodude
    Whilst I agree that there are many things that should hopefully change between iterations, I feel that a real life expectation is an improvement in superstar mode, like with what happened in Fifa and a glossy redesign of franchise in terms of UI and a couple of additions at a level similar to Practice Squad and Formation Subs. I don't believe this is the year we get the Franchise overhaul, just due to the big feature being the frostbite engine.
    Ha, I would be willing to offer my time for the price of a flight and a hotel. I tweeted shopmaster to check out my threads if he has time but fully expect all of them to just be my own thought experiment and never implemented. Also, playing in a 32 user league has given me fresh insight in what could work and what would be atrocious and further reinforces my belief there should be an online coach mode and a separate GM mode.
    Sent from my F3111 using Operation Sports mobile app

    After years and years of "waiting our turn," my expectations are pretty high because I can't in good faith buy the game again with insignificant improvements. Some may not think that's "fair," but honestly, I'm past the point of "fair." I don't expect everything that I want, but I do expect them to deliver something dynamic and slick. Shouldn't be too much to ask in 2017.
    As a sidenote, and something that pertains more to the point of the thread, I think having multiple scouts that you hire would be cool. Say you can hire 2-3 scouts and a GM, on top of a HC, OC, and DC. The combination of the scouts you hire can give teams lots of different possible team building logic. It would also be cool to see scouts learn from head scouts, and then see those scouts eventually be considered for GM jobs. And I've always liked the idea of having retired players become coaches, like they used to do in Madden. Would be cool to see some of them become scouts, as well.
    EDIT: Forgot to speak on the Gamechanger thing. I, too, have sent long lists of ideas them. I've linked devs to 20 minute reviews of their games where I go in to depth of what my issues are. And I know there are quite of few of us who have done the same. I think we've done our part in letting them know. Certainly, if they read these boards, they know what our interest is lol. But my problem with Shopmaster, from what I've seen, is that his main focus/interest is Online Franchise. Online and offline are the same mode right now, but I think that's a big problem, because Online Franchise guys and Offline Franchise guys have some very different needs. So, when I go to check out that poll that Shopmaster posted to put my two cents in on what should be in Franchise, mostly all of it is Online Franchise needs/wants.
    I think, personally, I'm on a completely different field than a lot of these Gamechangers. It seems like some of them (not all of them, I know that for certain) just want to add smaller features onto what's already there. I think guys like us want to tear down the whole mode and build it back up properly. They want band-aids, we want major surgery. I know the expectation should be on that level, because based on their track record, that isn't happening. But there comes a point where you're tired of "understanding" and just want to see some significant change.
    Geodude
    Whilst I agree that there are many things that should hopefully change between iterations, I feel that a real life expectation is an improvement in superstar mode, like with what happened in Fifa and a glossy redesign of franchise in terms of UI and a couple of additions at a level similar to Practice Squad and Formation Subs. I don't believe this is the year we get the Franchise overhaul, just due to the big feature being the frostbite engine.

    I definitely agree with Lexicon in that Franchise needs a completely new direction and rebuilt from the ground up but at this point I just don't think they view it, or ever will, as a big enough priority to pull the trigger on such an undertaking. To the bold though, the UI has been a very similar predicament as XP since CFM's inception. It's something that is constantly being changed and having time dedicated to it and, IMO, is getting worse every year.
    Looking at 18 though I'll continue to say the same thing and that's that I want to at the very least start to see some kind of change in direction for me to start having any faith moving forward. You look at something like Big Decisions which isn't even really a feature but it's going to be something that I'm sure gets added to this year and, to me, perfectly logical additions would be things like restricted free-agency, fifth-year options for first rounders, and a waiver wire. The only pause I'd have is that even when we get thrown a bone like with practice squads, it ends up getting dumbed down for casuals but even so I'd take them adding realistic, and honestly what should be standard, mechanics to CFM over these contrived "fun" mechanics.
    This thread just makes me sad.
    We need to accept that EA is not trying to make CFM into any type of sim mode or add any significant depth. Its an online multiplayer mode that also functions as a solo franchise mode.
    Lex;
    Just an FYI, AJ, who used to work at EA stated FM is in good hands with John White. He gave him a good vote of confidence in one of these threads. I'll dig up the quote shortly.
    Quotes from AJ in earlier threads:
    FranTK is a test bed, basically. It can run a full season in about a minute. It's a fantastic tool that finally has a designer who'll use it.
    I think John White is one of the most intelligent, professional, and competent people I met at EA. I think the full potential of FranTK hasn't even been scratched. The future is very bright.
    I doubt if the future all comes in on one shot, but I do appreciate AJ's comments and opinions.
    roadman
    Lex;
    Just an FYI, AJ, who used to work at EA stated FM is in good hands with John White. He gave him a good vote of confidence in one of these threads. I'll dig up the quote shortly.
    Quotes from AJ in earlier threads:
    FranTK is a test bed, basically. It can run a full season in about a minute. It's a fantastic tool that finally has a designer who'll use it.
    I think John White is one of the most intelligent, professional, and competent people I met at EA. I think the full potential of FranTK hasn't even been scratched. The future is very bright.
    I doubt if the future all comes in on one shot, but I do appreciate AJ's comments and opinions.

    Yeah, the jury is still out on JW, and probably won't be returned for a few years, at least. I'm definitely not condemning him yet, though Play the Moments is not a good sign in my eyes, as it just makes you get through everything quicker and doesn't make anything deeper. I felt like it immersed me even less, but I know it's for a certain section of the audience and that it was generally well received by reviewers. What kind of scared me early on about JW is when I saw on Twitter people bringing up pretty obvious suggestions that have been desires for years and he responded like he hadn't ever heard or thought of anything like it. At the same time, this is the guy that tweeted "Customization is king," so I do still have hope.
    I was thinking about my scouting suggestion earlier and how the two real things they need to do if they were to rebuild the mode are aim for dynamics and explanation.
    DYNAMICS
    For dynamics, imagine if you had a Head Coach, OC, DC... and you also had a second group of personnel for your team: GM, Head Scout, Assistant Scout. They would work similarly. The GM has a Team Building style, and that's what the CPU uses for it's roster and transaction logic. Everything from trading up or trading back in the draft to signing veterans vs keeping a younger roster.
    Now, imagine if your Head Scout and his philosphy played into the decision 70/10 in favor the GM (throw 20% in for the HC or what have you, possibly much more, depending on the coach), simulating the Head Scout's influence and suggestions on the GM. Also imagine if the Assistant Scout were hired with mostly base stats, and they learned from the Head Scout they're under at any given time. So an Assistant Scout could start with the Ravens and learn from their Head Scout, and then maybe that Assistant Scout gets fired or instead takes a job with SF, and he begins to learn from SF's Head Scout. So now, he has a unique skill-base that's a hybrid of two different Head Scouts, and he might be the only one (or one of few) who has a varied skillset like that. Now imagine (if you will) that Head Scout in BAL that our Assistant Scout once learned under becomes the GM of BAL, and our Assistant Scout has worked his way up and taken a GM job with CLE... you have a story that the system could then focus on, thus helping to build immersion and creating a dynamic atmosphere where you feel like your Franchise is living and breathing, and your Franchise will likely be completely different from mine.
    The same would go for the coaches mentioned. And then there's the situation where that Assistant Scout never leaves the organization he starts with and his organization promotes from within, thus keeping the team's philosophy the same all the way through, decades down the road. Now, add retired players into the mix. Say you're playing a Cardinals' Franchise, and Larry Fitzgerald retires and becomes an OC. He learns from Bruce Arians until Arians reties, and now you have the ability to hire Fitzgerald as the HC of the Cardinals, which pleases the fans and builds their commitment to your team. OR, you could decide Fitzgerald isn't ready, hire a different coach, and in-turn anger Fitzgerald, making him take an OC job with SEA and eventually become their HC, and now the system has one helluva story to tell for years to come in your Franchise.
    Dynamic. That's what this mode needs to be.
    Explanation
    Why this is important is because people will not accept certain things without proper explanation. For example, in Gameplay, there are people (mostly tournament players) who think that if you hit your receiver right in the hands with a pass, the receiver should ALWAYS catch the ball. Now, we all know why that's non-sense for a simulation football game, but part of it falls on the company for not explaining why that happens well enough.
    Here's my example for my Dynamic section above:
    Let's say that Denver has had Paxton Lynch for 5 years now. That's all you know, because you don't make it a habit of checking in on Denver. You just know that DEN has Lynch and he hasn't been terrible. Then, in the draft, you see DEN select a QB in the 1st round. Now, as is, most people would say "That's unrealistic and senseless." But here's my fix to this: A "reasons" button. You could go to the transaction screen, go to any transaction, and click on "Reasons" to see the thought process behind why the CPU made that move. For our example, you go to the DEN QB pick, and it tells you the following:
    -New HC prefers *insert rookie name*'s style over Lynch.
    -Lynch is in the final year of contract.
    -DEN and Lynch lack loyalty to each other.

    Now those are just examples, so don't roast me on the specifics lol. I think not only does giving explanations of the CPU's decisions make each decision easier to understand, but it also can feed back into the front page stories and continue to help build immersion.
    This mode has way more problems than just this, and I know this is just me typing stuff out and it's easier said than done... But this would be my vision for a rebuild. Focus on creating a system for dynamic relationships and a system for helping the user understand why things are happening in their Franchise.
    Lexicon
    Yeah, the jury is still out on JW, and probably won't be returned for a few years, at least. I'm definitely not condemning him yet, though Play the Moments is not a good sign in my eyes, as it just makes you get through everything quicker and doesn't make anything deeper. I felt like it immersed me even less, but I know it's for a certain section of the audience and that it was generally well received by reviewers. What kind of scared me early on about JW is when I saw on Twitter people bringing up pretty obvious suggestions that have been desires for years and he responded like he hadn't ever heard or thought of anything like it. At the same time, this is the guy that tweeted "Customization is king," so I do still have hope.
    I was thinking about my scouting suggestion earlier and how the two real things they need to do if they were to rebuild the mode are aim for dynamics and explanation.
    DYNAMICS
    For dynamics, imagine if you had a Head Coach, OC, DC... and you also had a second group of personnel for your team: GM, Head Scout, Assistant Scout. They would work similarly. The GM has a Team Building style, and that's what the CPU uses for it's roster and transaction logic. Everything from trading up or trading back in the draft to signing veterans vs keeping a younger roster.
    Now, imagine if your Head Scout and his philosphy played into the decision 70/10 in favor the GM (throw 20% in for the HC or what have you, possibly much more, depending on the coach), simulating the Head Scout's influence and suggestions on the GM. Also imagine if the Assistant Scout were hired with mostly base stats, and they learned from the Head Scout they're under at any given time. So an Assistant Scout could start with the Ravens and learn from their Head Scout, and then maybe that Assistant Scout gets fired or instead takes a job with SF, and he begins to learn from SF's Head Scout. So now, he has a unique skill-base that's a hybrid of two different Head Scouts, and he might be the only one (or one of few) who has a varied skillset like that. Now imagine (if you will) that Head Scout in BAL that our Assistant Scout once learned under becomes the GM of BAL, and our Assistant Scout has worked his way up and taken a GM job with CLE... you have a story that the system could then focus on, thus helping to build immersion and creating a dynamic atmosphere where you feel like your Franchise is living and breathing, and your Franchise will likely be completely different from mine.
    The same would go for the coaches mentioned. And then there's the situation where that Assistant Scout never leaves the organization he starts with and his organization promotes from within, thus keeping the team's philosophy the same all the way through, decades down the road. Now, add retired players into the mix. Say you're playing a Cardinals' Franchise, and Larry Fitzgerald retires and becomes an OC. He learns from Bruce Arians until Arians reties, and now you have the ability to hire Fitzgerald as the HC of the Cardinals, which pleases the fans and builds their commitment to your team. OR, you could decide Fitzgerald isn't ready, hire a different coach, and in-turn anger Fitzgerald, making him take an OC job with SEA and eventually become their HC, and now the system has one helluva story to tell for years to come in your Franchise.
    Dynamic. That's what this mode needs to be.
    Explanation
    Why this is important is because people will not accept certain things without proper explanation. For example, in Gameplay, there are people (mostly tournament players) who think that if you hit your receiver right in the hands with a pass, the receiver should ALWAYS catch the ball. Now, we all know why that's non-sense for a simulation football game, but part of it falls on the company for not explaining why that happens well enough.
    Here's my example for my Dynamic section above:
    Let's say that Denver has had Paxton Lynch for 5 years now. That's all you know, because you don't make it a habit of checking in on Denver. You just know that DEN has Lynch and he hasn't been terrible. Then, in the draft, you see DEN select a QB in the 1st round. Now, as is, most people would say "That's unrealistic and senseless." But here's my fix to this: A "reasons" button. You could go to the transaction screen, go to any transaction, and click on "Reasons" to see the thought process behind why the CPU made that move. For our example, you go to the DEN QB pick, and it tells you the following:
    -New HC prefers *insert rookie name*'s style over Lynch.
    -Lynch is in the final year of contract.
    -DEN and Lynch lack loyalty to each other.

    Now those are just examples, so don't roast me on the specifics lol. I think not only does giving explanations of the CPU's decisions make each decision easier to understand, but it also can feed back into the front page stories and continue to help build immersion.
    This mode has way more problems than just this, and I know this is just me typing stuff out and it's easier said than done... But this would be my vision for a rebuild. Focus on creating a system for dynamic relationships and a system for helping the user understand why things are happening in their Franchise.

    Haha, dude, have you not seen my revamped coaching thread?? See the signature. Great minds think alike
    Sent from my F3111 using Operation Sports mobile app
    Geodude
    Haha, dude, have you not seen my revamped coaching thread?? See the signature. Great minds think alike
    Sent from my F3111 using Operation Sports mobile app

    For sure. You go into MUCH greater detail about it lol. And that would be great to eventually have, but breaking it down the base of what we're all talking about: We need a relationship system. These players and coaches and other staff all need to feel like they're interacting with each other. I'm glad you and Deuce have gone through the trouble to lay it all out. Really valuable feedback that I hope they're actually considering.
    Lexicon
    Yeah, the jury is still out on JW, and probably won't be returned for a few years, at least. I'm definitely not condemning him yet, though Play the Moments is not a good sign in my eyes, as it just makes you get through everything quicker and doesn't make anything deeper. I felt like it immersed me even less, but I know it's for a certain section of the audience and that it was generally well received by reviewers. What kind of scared me early on about JW is when I saw on Twitter people bringing up pretty obvious suggestions that have been desires for years and he responded like he hadn't ever heard or thought of anything like it. At the same time, this is the guy that tweeted "Customization is king," so I do still have hope.

    I was just going off your tear the whole mode apart a few posts back and thinking it's not going to happen at this stage.
    Yes, there is frustration on FM at this point, but there really isn't much the consumer can do at this point that they haven't already done for the past decade.
    I can understand the frustrations being high with this mode because of several years of not performing up to people's standards (including mine), but, at the same time, it's only been one year with JW at the helm. He needs a bit more judging with only one year out of the gate.
    I think what set everything apart from last year, was stating that they spent the greater amount of resources on CFM than before and to most people, it was underwhelming. For instance, your take on Play the Moment was lessened while mine was appreciative because I used Play the Moments for the lousy punting/fg's when the wind was shanking punts/fg's issue.
    To each their own on that one.
    I'm not a fan of the XP system, but I sure it's not going anywhere until the whole mode is blown apart. Not sure if that is happening anytime soon.
    People are clamoring for immersion, I am to a certain extent, but I'm the type of person that doesn't want to spend all day on Madden. The older I become, the less of a reality it becomes for me. Games are already 1 hr 15 minutes for me and that is where it's most important for me on my end.
    As long as their is a button press or a sim this or sim that button, I'm fine with that.
    Hope that makes sense.
    roadman
    I was just going off your tear the whole mode apart a few posts back and thinking it's not going to happen at this stage.
    Yes, there is frustration on FM at this point, but there really isn't much the consumer can do at this point that they haven't already done for the past decade.
    I can understand the frustrations being high with this mode because of several years of not performing up to people's standards (including mine), but, at the same time, it's only been one year with JW at the helm. He needs a bit more judging with only one year out of the gate.
    I think what set everything apart from last year, was stating that they spent the greater amount of resources on CFM than before and to most people, it was underwhelming. For instance, your take on Play the Moment was lessened while mine was appreciative because I used Play the Moments for the lousy punting/fg's when the wind was shanking punts/fg's issue.
    To each their own on that one.
    I'm not a fan of the XP system, but I sure it's not going anywhere until the whole mode is blown apart. Not sure if that is happening anytime soon.
    People are clamoring for immersion, I am to a certain extent, but I'm the type of person that doesn't want to spend all day on Madden. The older I become, the less of a reality it becomes for me. Games are already 1 hr 15 minutes for me and that is where it's most important for me on my end.
    As long as their is a button press or a sim this or sim that button, I'm fine with that.
    Hope that makes sense.

    Oh yeah, it's all "to each their own," with everything. Same with Gameplay. I know gameplay isn't near perfect right now, but I have fun with it and I think it's fine how it is. There's a crowd who would think I'm nuts for saying that haha. And those folks want to see Gameplay worked on every year, and they want to see big leaps, as they should. You have to speak up for what you want, or they'll say, "Well, no one was saying they wanted it, so..."
    As for JW (I love calling him JW now, btw lol. I have a Rookie QB in my All-32 Franchise out of Texas named JW Leach playing for CLE), like I said, I'm not completely down on him yet. I'm just saying his rookie year wasn't impressive, and his communication on Twitter is definitely not on the level of Rex or Clint (though it seems to definitely be better than Kolby or Looman's). And I also can't 100% pin Play the Moments on JW, because that might have been Kolby's idea. And also, there are a number of people who liked it (I just don't get not wanting to play the game, unless you were doing a full-on GM playthrough or something).
    And yes, I know and agree that it's extremely unlikely that they'll rebuild the mode, but this thread is about rebuilding the mode, so that's what we're talking about. I'd like XP tossed, but if it doesn't go away, I'm okay with that. That's not make or break for me anymore. The menu system is a big pain, but I can even deal with that. What I really need is for this mode to not feel so dang cold. It's so lifeless. We'll know in a month or so what JW can do to warm it up...
    roadman
    I was just going off your tear the whole mode apart a few posts back and thinking it's not going to happen at this stage.
    I can understand the frustrations being high with this mode because of several years of not performing up to people's standards (including mine), but, at the same time, it's only been one year with JW at the helm. He needs a bit more judging with only one year out of the gate.

    I am all for "wait and see," i mean what other option is there. But the problem here is not that JW can or can't make a great mode, its that EA just is not interested in doing it.
    Economically, they have decided that "franchise mode" is important to game sales BUT making franchise mode significantly different or better costs a lot of resources and will not really help their bottom line.
    It sucks but i dont know they are really wrong and that is the part that is hard to really swallow.
    Brightline
    I am all for "wait and see," i mean what other option is there. But the problem here is not that JW can or can't make a great mode, its that EA just is not interested in doing it.
    Economically, they have decided that "franchise mode" is important to game sales BUT making franchise mode significantly different or better costs a lot of resources and will not really help their bottom line.
    It sucks but i dont know they are really wrong and that is the part that is hard to really swallow.

    Definitely agree.
    There is a business side and we are on the consumer side of things.
    For now, there isn't much else to go on, so, I'm hoping AJ's right about JW.
    At the same time, Madden has made more money now than it ever has, so you'd think they'd kick down a lot more resources for each team to make the product better, overall. Because overall sales and Metacritic scores do matter to the publisher, and having an overall better game isn't going to hurt the game. Hire a few more guys, invest some money into some new tech, etc. Maybe they are doing that, but we don't know yet. Franchise doesn't make digital revenue, but I guarantee that Madden would take a big hit in units sold if Franchise Mode disappeared. Being able to say that you're in the top 10 of games sold is worth a lot of money.
    True, just depends where the suits and developers meet and agree to spend the allocated resources.
    Last year we were told that FM was allocated a lot of the resources and I'm sure many consumers would feel "how could that be?"
    Question is, will FM mode be allocated a lot more again or status quo with some improvements.
    roadman
    True, just depends where the suits and developers meet and agree to spend the allocated resources.
    Last year we were told that FM was allocated a lot of the resources and I'm sure many consumers would feel "how could that be?"
    Question is, will FM mode be allocated a lot more again or status quo with some improvements.

    Indeed. And I believe that they probably were allocated a lot of resources, but the foundation of this mode is probably not safe to build on, which is why some of us want a rebuild. Design a new base to make things easier in the years to come.
    I've been seeking out people's wishlists for M18 on Youtube over the past few days, and the majority of them all say the same things:
    -Franchise needs to be a focus
    -Need OC's and DC's
    -The news feed is garbage and needs to be changed
    -Want a weekly recap show
    -Need better CPU roster management AI
    -Draft process needs to be more in-depth
    I mean, those are the base things. A lot of us have lots more ideas that would improve the mode substantially, but these are the things I expect them to address this year, in some capacity.
    Created some different UI mockups for CFM. As has been mentioned before UI has been one of CFM's biggest and most annoying issues since its transition. I essentially just copied NHL 17's franchise mode layout and created what I thought it would look like if Madden were to use it. IMO, NHL's layout is miles better to look at and is far superior to Madden's. Click pics for full-size.

    This is the main hub or main menu of CFM. You'd have access to the calendar, and the calendar system is something I think they should definitely try to move to. I don't know if that's even possible with CFM's current infrastructure but I think a calendar, day-by-day format is much easier and allows for a lot more freedom than the current week-by-week setup. Standings, roster breakdown, cap space, and upcoming games all on the front page. Also quick access to full standings and stats with the Stats Central tile. And then at the bottom a CFM ticker that constantly cycles through information from your CFM. Also by pressing the Start/Menu button you'd be able to quickly change teams/owners.
    Compared to Madden 17

    This is the News Hub. Not on the front page but just a click away. Features two main stories and two side stories. Scrollable Twitter feed along side all stories with talk from around the league. Also features transactions from around your CFM on the bottom tile. Again, ticker is along the bottom no matter what hub you're on. Madden 17.

    This is the Draft Hub or Draft News Hub. This would be separate from your NFL news and would be accessible through the Start/Menu button similar to how you would change teams or owners on the main hub. Obviously the actual NCAA screenshots will never happen so this section would look a lot more dull and stupid without them but it is still far better than Madden's current offering. Also included along the bottom bar is relevant information pertaining to the draft with overall draft depth, deepest position, weakest position, and the projected number one overall pick for the upcoming draft and a click of the RS would take you directly to scouting.

    Team Hub. This is where you'd want to be for any and all roster moves. Big Decisions tile on the right would alert you when certain moves or opportunities were available. Each tile has some baseline information pertaining to it (i.e. Scouting>Points Available, Free Agents>Cap Space, etc.). Along the bottom is another quick link to Stats Central and displays your team leaders in passing yards, rushing yards, receiving yards, and sacks (or INT).
    Was also going to make up a mock up of this:

    but I figure that picture does enough justice. There's no reason you should have to scroll through each division like you currently do and they should redesign the Standings UI to show all teams and have it separated by Conference (Playoff Standing) and Divisions.
    I did like the NHL Franchise UI when I played it, but I also do think it looks a bit uninteresting (not that Madden's UI is interesting).
    And since I heard someone in a video talk about this yesterday and I've had some time to think about it: While I do understand the benefits of a day-to-day system, I overall don't think it's a good idea. Maybe if Franchise Mode were "control 1 team only," it would work. Like a Head Coach-style system. But when you have Online Franchise attached, and especially the way I play controlling all 32 teams offline, it probably wouldn't fly.
    Lexicon
    I did like the NHL Franchise UI when I played it, but I also do think it looks a bit uninteresting (not that Madden's UI is interesting).
    And since I heard someone in a video talk about this yesterday and I've had some time to think about it: While I do understand the benefits of a day-to-day system, I overall don't think it's a good idea. Maybe if Franchise Mode were "control 1 team only," it would work. Like a Head Coach-style system. But when you have Online Franchise attached, and especially the way I play controlling all 32 teams offline, it probably wouldn't fly.

    Agreed it would struggle in online leagues unless you made all the days in the run up to the main game playable or self advance-able and commissioners decide when the next week of dates advances and unlocks.
    Sent from my F3111 using Operation Sports mobile app
    Deuce, there's not a lot of praise I can heap upon you and your post that others haven't heaped already, but I really can't thank you enough for taking ideas and wishes that so many of us sim users have had for so long and assembling them in such a clear, thoughtful way.
    In particular, there are a few ideas of yours that I'd love to echo because I believe they would add so much to the Franchise experience in regards to both realism and immersion.

    • 90 Man Rosters And Realistic Cut Dates
    • Multi Team Depth Charts In addition to being realistic, this would do so much to simplify (in a good way) the pre-season which can be quite a mess when one lets the CPU handle depth chart changes mid-game. I also think it would be cool to be able to determine when "teams" switch based off of either number of possessions played or until the end of a given quarter. For example, in the first pre-season game I might have my first team play two possessions and my second team play until halftime.
    • Choosing Pre-Season Opponents
    • CFM Menu Ticker This is very high on my personal wishlist. A menu ticker may not seem like a huge addition in the grand scheme of things, but I believe it would go a long way in creating immersion in a Franchise. I'm also intrigued by the idea of such a ticker (and the Franchise menu system in general) having NFL Network (example 1, 2, 3, 4) and/or NFL.com branding.
    • Multiple Broadcast Packages This is another addition that I believe would do its part in keeping Franchise Mode fresh. In real life, each network's NFL presentation package has its own distinct "feel". For example, FOX is known for having a loud, over-the-top way of presenting a game, whereas CBS traditionally has a more calm, reserved way of presenting the game. I'd also love to see a retro presentation package included for use with classic rosters, perhaps mimicking the 1994 or 2001-2002 NFL on FOX packages.
    • Full Coaching Staff
    • Expanded Player Card Specifically, I would love the inclusion of a player's injury and transaction histories as well as denoting the team(s) he played for on the career stats screen. This speaks to a broader need for better record-keeping in Franchise.

    The only thing I'm not entirely with you on is the idea of player ratings being hidden or obscured in the pre-season. I acknowledge that a FIFA or Madden NFL 12 style system would be more realistic that what's in place now, but I just love the instant gratification that comes with drafting studs in the current incarnation of Franchise and seeing their ratings right off the bat.
    I have a few Franchise (and Madden-related in general) ideas of my own in the Google Doc link in my sig, if anyone would like to take a gander.
    ripcandlestickpark
    The only thing I'm not entirely with you on is the idea of player ratings being hidden or obscured in the pre-season. I acknowledge that a FIFA or Madden NFL 12 style system would be more realistic that what's in place now, but I just love the instant gratification that comes with drafting studs in the current incarnation of Franchise and seeing their ratings right off the bat.

    Understand you 100% in that regard and ironically it's something I actually suggested they do in a Rebuilding the Off-Season thread I created back in 2014. I check out the Madden Reddit a lot and it seems like the vast majority of posts over there are pictures of people's stud draft picks so it's definitely something I know a lot of people enjoy and I wouldn't want to take that away. Same for hidden attributes as a whole, it definitely wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea but I'd love to see it become an option but options has never been CFM's strong suit.
    nearly every idea has been thought of and most of them repeated every year. a small portion may be ntroduced and historically alot of those new things were actually in previous iterations of madden. presentation ideas have been the exception with excellent suggestions and mock ups. if in its the game its in the game? most of the franchise stuff is in the cba, rules etc. if there had been a new cba recently i could understand if things were minamalist but this cba is bedded in so franchise things like rfas (which were in prior maddens) and compensatory picks (new but just maths), different contract set ups (every game in every sport at one point).
    none of this should be rocket science to plug in however given how long it took to fix the IR in preseason roster bug my hopes are very low. the new engine and the money making MUT will be looked after first and marketed heavily
    Lexicon
    At the same time, Madden has made more money now than it ever has, so you'd think they'd kick down a lot more resources for each team to make the product better, overall. Because overall sales and Metacritic scores do matter to the publisher, and having an overall better game isn't going to hurt the game. Hire a few more guys, invest some money into some new tech, etc. Maybe they are doing that, but we don't know yet. Franchise doesn't make digital revenue, but I guarantee that Madden would take a big hit in units sold if Franchise Mode disappeared. Being able to say that you're in the top 10 of games sold is worth a lot of money.

    And that's kind of the catch-22 with Franchise. They can kick down a lot more money and resources but from a business standpoint, unless they also start charging for certain parts of CFM, which would be absolutely absurd considering its quality, they're not going to see much return on investment in that regard. Sure they'd get some return purchases that they've lost over the years from people who've given up on the game but that's about it. And to the same extent, if it actually started becoming an engaging, realistic and worthwhile mode it also run would run the risk of taking part of their user base away from MUT.
    We can keep waiting and waiting but at some point you have to call it like it is. CFM wants to try to create the illusion of being a realistic, deep mode by constantly self-proclaiming it as such but its reality is that it is and almost certainly continue to be aimed at casual users that just want to play one or two seasons and win a couple Super Bowls. It's essentially become a 'play it to beat it' mode. I want to keep hope and I want to believe JW is the guy but until it starts actually showing up in the mode it doesn't really matter what anybody says because it's the same things we've heard and been told for years. CFM was supposed to be so much easier to add features for and Looman was going to do incredible things because he worked on HC09 and that's what CFM is going to be. Then it was Kolbe and how great he was for MLB The Show's franchise and CFM was going to be on par with that. It's been the same thing every time and now it's JW's turn. It's nothing against them because those decisions come from above and it seems like they're severely hamstrung in what they can even consider. But it's not really about time anymore, they've had five, going on six, years now to add elements that should be honestly be considered standard for a NFL franchise mode as well as take the opportunity to teach these elements to new users so that they can understand how they function and why they are relevant to the mode. Other sports games do it just fine. But instead they've opted to continue to build the mode around the people that weren't even playing it. Even when they try to implement realistic features, like GamePlanning, it comes in the form of virtually no depth and contrived in such a gamey manner that takes away from it's usefulness and enjoyment. Went on a bit of a rant there but I'm honestly just tired of waiting. We'll see what 18 has to offer and I'd be happier than anyone to be shocked and proven wrong but I can't help but be confident it'll continue to be a lifeless, paint-by-the-numbers mode.
    Ueauvan
    nearly every idea has been thought of and most of them repeated every year. a small portion may be ntroduced and historically alot of those new things were actually in previous iterations of madden. presentation ideas have been the exception with excellent suggestions and mock ups. if in its the game its in the game? most of the franchise stuff is in the cba, rules etc. if there had been a new cba recently i could understand if things were minamalist but this cba is bedded in so franchise things like rfas (which were in prior maddens) and compensatory picks (new but just maths), different contract set ups (every game in every sport at one point).
    none of this should be rocket science to plug in however given how long it took to fix the IR in preseason roster bug my hopes are very low. the new engine and the money making MUT will be looked after first and marketed heavily

    Madden should to take a page out of The Show's book and implement this:

    If you put that into CFM and present it in a coherent way, there's no reason for a new user to not be able to understand any type of roster management aspects added. Most of these elements (RFA, PUP, Fifth-Year Options, etc.) are not difficult concepts to grasp or explain which consequentially makes them very hard features to screw up because they have very black and white guidelines to follow.
    DeuceDouglas
    And that's kind of the catch-22 with Franchise. They can kick down a lot more money and resources but from a business standpoint, unless they also start charging for certain parts of CFM, which would be absolutely absurd considering its quality, they're not going to see much return on investment in that regard. Sure they'd get some return purchases that they've lost over the years from people who've given up on the game but that's about it. And to the same extent, if it actually started becoming an engaging, realistic and worthwhile mode it also run would run the risk of taking part of their user base away from MUT.
    We can keep waiting and waiting but at some point you have to call it like it is. CFM wants to try to create the illusion of being a realistic, deep mode by constantly self-proclaiming it as such but its reality is that it is and almost certainly continue to be aimed at casual users that just want to play one or two seasons and win a couple Super Bowls. It's essentially become a 'play it to beat it' mode. I want to keep hope and I want to believe JW is the guy but until it starts actually showing up in the mode it doesn't really matter what anybody says because it's the same things we've heard and been told for years. CFM was supposed to be so much easier to add features for and Looman was going to do incredible things because he worked on HC09 and that's what CFM is going to be. Then it was Kolbe and how great he was for MLB The Show's franchise and CFM was going to be on par with that. It's been the same thing every time and now it's JW's turn. It's nothing against them because those decisions come from above and it seems like they're severely hamstrung in what they can even consider. But it's not really about time anymore, they've had five, going on six, years now to add elements that should be honestly be considered standard for a NFL franchise mode as well as take the opportunity to teach these elements to new users so that they can understand how they function and why they are relevant to the mode. Other sports games do it just fine. But instead they've opted to continue to build the mode around the people that weren't even playing it. Even when they try to implement realistic features, like GamePlanning, it comes in the form of virtually no depth and contrived in such a gamey manner that takes away from it's usefulness and enjoyment. Went on a bit of a rant there but I'm honestly just tired of waiting. We'll see what 18 has to offer and I'd be happier than anyone to be shocked and proven wrong but I can't help but be confident it'll continue to be a lifeless, paint-by-the-numbers mode.

    I hear what you're saying and don't disagree, but NBA 2K has proven that theory wrong. They have not only 1 great franchise mode, but they have 2 great franchise modes. 2K16 was given a lot of critical praise because of that, which boosted score and general awareness for the game, more people bought it and then more people spent digital revenue on their card mode.
    I'm going to make a reference here that not everyone is going to click with, so stick with me: In its heyday, the WWE had 6-7-8 million people watching their weekly show. They were making money hand over fist. Today, that same program averages 2.5-3 million viewers. Is that still good? Yeah, it's one of the highest rated shows on cable. But the ceiling is much, much higher. I say all that to say this: Madden's ceiling is WAY higher than what they're selling right now. There's no way an NBA game should be even coming close to outselling an NFL game in North America. Let's say they sell 5 million units every year right now, and from that they make $500 million in digital revenue... Let's say they go all out with Franchise Mode, the critics praise the crap out of it and call it the greatest football game ever made (because most of the critics are already super high on the gameplay, whether anyone thinks the same or not), it gets a 94 or whatever on Metacritic... That's going to generate a substantial uptick in sales from people who are just curious, along with everyone else who already buys the game out of habit. Then, those players try out MUT and get hooked, and the next thing you know, your $500m digital revenue is now $800m or more.
    TL;DR: Invest in Franchise and it could be their Pied Piper to more players for MUT, and the Franchise guys get what they want and everyone's happier.
    DeuceDouglas

    We can keep waiting and waiting but at some point you have to call it like it is. CFM wants to try to create the illusion of being a realistic, deep mode by constantly self-proclaiming it as such but its reality is that it is and almost certainly continue to be aimed at casual users that just want to play one or two seasons and win a couple Super Bowls. It's essentially become a 'play it to beat it' mode. I want to keep hope and I want to believe JW is the guy but until it starts actually showing up in the mode it doesn't really matter what anybody says because it's the same things we've heard and been told for years. CFM was supposed to be so much easier to add features for and Looman was going to do incredible things because he worked on HC09 and that's what CFM is going to be. Then it was Kolbe and how great he was for MLB The Show's franchise and CFM was going to be on par with that. It's been the same thing every time and now it's JW's turn. It's nothing against them because those decisions come from above and it seems like they're severely hamstrung in what they can even consider. But it's not really about time anymore, they've had five, going on six, years now to add elements that should be honestly be considered standard for a NFL franchise mode as well as take the opportunity to teach these elements to new users so that they can understand how they function and why they are relevant to the mode. Other sports games do it just fine. But instead they've opted to continue to build the mode around the people that weren't even playing it. Even when they try to implement realistic features, like GamePlanning, it comes in the form of virtually no depth and contrived in such a gamey manner that takes away from it's usefulness and enjoyment. Went on a bit of a rant there but I'm honestly just tired of waiting. We'll see what 18 has to offer and I'd be happier than anyone to be shocked and proven wrong but I can't help but be confident it'll continue to be a lifeless, paint-by-the-numbers mode.

    This is exactly where I am with Madden. It's why I have fallen way back with the game. I'll check in. I'll buy the game. Then I'll shelve it after realizing the franchise mode isn't up to snuff after a month or so. I don't even care to do wishlist's anymore as it's clear this CFM model isn't changing any time soon so why bother. It's crazy because the on field gameplay is the best it has ever been by a wide margin to me. Your posts are incredible though, man. It's depressing in a way. I just feel like the ball is in Maddens court here. Other sports games focus on online and transactions and are raking in the dough but they still put out damn good single player offline franchise modes. Madden can still do that. At this point it's up to them to do it or not. If and when they do I'll be here and exstatic. If not, then oh well. It is what it is. I have moved on from hoping unfortunately.
    I just want somewhere between the over-casualized disappointment of Franchise depth we have now and full-on ridiculous over-the-top management simulation. It doesn't have to have everything, at the end of the day we're still playing a video game and not actually owning or coaching a NFL franchise.
    There's just no reason for our franchises to not have a more tailored experience. Options are king. If I want to control more aspects of simulation I should be able to, if for some reason I want to have less control of the reigns, I should be able to. "Manual/Auto" of Free Agents, Re-Sign Players is not enough.
    Not too get too far off topic, however something I feel that also needs to be addressed is player retirement/ retired players.
    I think it is very annoying when a player like Tom Brady retires after the first season in CFM solely based on age, or at random.
    I think there is a lot that goes into a players retirement. Things that go hand in hand with player personalities, and Duece, by all means, if you can find the time or way to mock this up, it would be greatly appreciated.
    Things that go into retirement would be:
    Player Performance-There is just a point where the player can't play like he used to. We saw Peyton Manning take a sudden drop off in arm strength in 2015, he almost became a liability, and of course after winning Super Bowl 50, he rode off into the sunset. We saw the same thing happen with Brett Favre in 2010. He had an MVP caliber performance in 2009, and the next year, he had the Vikings finish in last place in the division.
    Player Success- This stems off of the points I made in the previous personality trait. Every player wants to ride off into the sunset with a Super Bowl, and they hit that point where they either achieve it, or realize that it may not be achievable. Tom Brady is the perfect example of this. The man is almost 40, and yet he is still as successful, if not more successful than any other QB in the league. So if an old QB is having success, why retire?
    Team Success- There are some players that are just on bad teams and want a way out. You can make the argument that Calvin Johnson did this.
    Playing Time- If a player is not receiving the playing time they desire, they will usually jump ship and find another team, or if they are old enough, retire.
    Younger Talent Grooming Behind Player- This really isn't a trait, but we will see a younger player sit behind a veteran, and when an organization feels the young buck is ready, the vet will retire or find another team.
    Health- Probably one of the biggest reasons a player would retire early. Granted concussions are not allowed in the game, a lingering injury has caused a lot of great players to call it quits. Something like this would require a much more improved injury system. But I believe this would add another level to the game. Some players that have fallen victim to the injury bug that have us asking "What if?!" Bo Jackson, Gale Sayers, Sterling Sharpe, Troy Aikman, or Terrell Davis just to name a few.
    Money- Once again, this plays more into free agency, however if you don't want a player to retire, you can always offer more money to try to persuade them to stay.
    Other Career Interests- Sometimes a player has more career desires than the NFL. Sometimes you will hear that feel good story of an athlete who will quit his career, and pursue a career in the military (Pat Tillman and Glenn Coffey). Sometimes they leave for broadcasting. We just saw it twice this year with Jay Cutler and Tony Romo. This is also another thing we see with coaches.
    Please feel free to throw other traits that would lead a player to retire if I didn't touch something else.
    Another element to retirement that drives me crazy with madden, is once a player retires, he is gone forever. We see it happen a lot where a player will retire, and come back. We just saw Marshawn Lynch do it. We would all love to see Calvin Johnson do it. Brett Favre did it like it was cool. Cris Carter, Ricky Williams, Deion Sanders, Junior Seau, and Randall Cunningham are just to name a few. I can promise this wont be the last time this happens either. So if they could go to the free agency or some kind of retirement limbo that we could try to talk them out of retirement to play or coach through contract negotiations.
    Let me know what you think, and if this is something you would like to see in Madden.
    I think the OVR rating is a HUGE hindrance to immersion. People trying to collect the highest overalls instead of building a team properly. Hard to give that 77 OVR a big contract in Free Agency because he's been on fire when you're staring at that 77 OVR...
    Lexicon
    I think the OVR rating is a HUGE hindrance to immersion. People trying to collect the highest overalls instead of building a team properly. Hard to give that 77 OVR a big contract in Free Agency because he's been on fire when you're staring at that 77 OVR...

    Agree that it should go beyond OVR, in our 32 user sim league it does to some extent as the slower veterans have less value but higher ovr. In terms of accessibility, the OVR is here to stay as it allows people less involved to make snappier decisions without trawling attributes. Maybe an option to hide them for sim leagues? The whole thing needs a giant SIM button ha
    Sent from my F3111 using Operation Sports mobile app
    Geodude
    Agree that it should go beyond OVR, in our 32 user sim league it does to some extent as the slower veterans have less value but higher ovr. In terms of accessibility, the OVR is here to stay as it allows people less involved to make snappier decisions without trawling attributes. Maybe an option to hide them for sim leagues? The whole thing needs a giant SIM button ha
    Sent from my F3111 using Operation Sports mobile app

    An option would be nice. I'd love for there to be an option to play with only player grades. The way I play, I'm building 32 teams at one time, and I think it would end up being a much more dynamic league if I just had player grades to go off of. As mentioned many times before, player roles would also be great to go along with those grades.
    EricFreakingBerry
    I just want somewhere between the over-casualized disappointment of Franchise depth we have now and full-on ridiculous over-the-top management simulation. It doesn't have to have everything, at the end of the day we're still playing a video game and not actually owning or coaching a NFL franchise.
    There's just no reason for our franchises to not have a more tailored experience. Options are king. If I want to control more aspects of simulation I should be able to, if for some reason I want to have less control of the reigns, I should be able to. "Manual/Auto" of Free Agents, Re-Sign Players is not enough.

    100% agree and that's what is so frustrating is that there doesn't seem to be much in the way of compromise between the two sides which in turn makes it, as someone who wants overwhelming depth in the mode, seem like we don't even have a seat at the table. Injuries in practice? Injuries aren't fun for most users. In-depth scouting? Too complicated for most users. 90-man rosters? Too much for most users to handle. Like you said, options are king. CFM having depth and realism doesn't automatically require the mode to be overwhelming and complex. It takes a lot more to make a shallow feature deep than it does to dumb down an already deep feature. Look at what The Show does:

    Look at what NHL does:

    There can be options for everything. Hidden ratings, injuries in practice, morale/confidence, roster management, etc. There's no need to dumb everything down to it's absolute simplest form to be implemented. There needs to be levels to this stuff. Everyone from Timmy No Thumbs to Diehard Dan should be able to have the experience they desire.
    I just want an Intelligence rating in CFM. They had it at one point but took it out. In building a team I'd have a bunch of smart dudes, even if athleticism suffered occasionally. Now in Franchise it's mostly a crapshoot to draft, so something that was a deep passion of mine has gathered dust for 3 years.
    A simple option to turn off the Overall rating for all players would go a long way to making CFM that much more challenging and interesting. No longer would you be able to just look at the OVR and think that you're playing the best player at every position. Spending time scouting your own team and see the ratings of every player at every position to figure out the optimal lineup would make team building much more enjoyable.
    Lexicon
    Yeah, the jury is still out on JW, and probably won't be returned for a few years, at least. I'm definitely not condemning him yet, though Play the Moments is not a good sign in my eyes, as it just makes you get through everything quicker and doesn't make anything deeper. I felt like it immersed me even less, but I know it's for a certain section of the audience and that it was generally well received by reviewers. What kind of scared me early on about JW is when I saw on Twitter people bringing up pretty obvious suggestions that have been desires for years and he responded like he hadn't ever heard or thought of anything like it. At the same time, this is the guy that tweeted "Customization is king," so I do still have hope.

    Play the Moments was a no brainer. It should have been in the game a decade ago.
    Some ridiculously high percentage (I don't remember and don't want to guess because somebody will call me on it if I'm wrong) of franchise modes never reach the first off-season. I mean, stupid high. I remember being shocked even though I was pretty aware that was generally the case. Now, I would have designed it very differently (contextual, with varying degrees of direct control based on the importance and score of the game at hand and with play-call within SuperSim - probably planned but you get the basic feature in first and expand it later), but it was a feature that needed to happen.
    I could make a pretty good case that Big Decisions was my idea, though not in the form it ended up in. My suggestion was to, as often as possible, present the user with binary options and all relevant information at-hand. This was intended to be within the context of a user being able to assemble a staff, so that at some level, the user is in complete control of even decisions he defers. All functionality that exists now would still be there, to dig into and fine tune however you want, the key decisions feature would be specifically to help beginners and casuals ease into the mode and have the important decisions made as forward facing and easy as possible. There was a lot of feedback that some people got into franchise and plain didn't know what to do.
    Here's the critical data; the average 20-something football fan that buys Madden tunes out the NFL after the Superbowl, but everyone loves the idea of franchise mode... but they're intimidated by it. It's big and complicated and scary, and they don't eat, drink, and breath football in the off-season. They don't know what a franchise tag is, they don't know how the salary cap works or what a rookie reserve is. We wanted more people to play Madden, so we figured if we gave them in-game "advisers" (ie assistant coaches, front office personnel) presenting them with simple decisions, it would take the pressure off.
    I'll lay dollars to doughnuts adjustable XP awards was John's idea, so that's a positive.
    Now to take the piss out of my own comments; I don't know if John's a math guy. That's my one hesitation. Franchise mode needs a math guy. With a math guy, progression, stats, salaries, all that **** can be worked out with precision. That's why NCAA's rosters/generated players/progression was always pretty good. They had a mathematician doing all that. I tried, but there were obstacles. I hope those are out of JWs way and he's either a math guy or has a math guy on his staff.
    One last thing in JW's defense; unless a lot's changed since I was there, he probably had to fight like hell to get formations subs in that first patch. I don't remember a feature that big patched in after release ever, and producers are never receptive to the idea of adding features after alpha has started, much less adding something so late it needs a day 1 patch. I almost think he'd have had to pay someone off to get that done.
    Adam
    i appreciate your candidness. I totally agree a lot of casual franchise people stop after the SB. I have a hypothesis though. The average age and disposable income of those who are here and sim, offline cfm is greater than the 20 somethings that stop around the SB. key line there is "disposable income". I'm a Brit, i never grew up with the game, i started watching around '79 or so.
    However i want the immersion of the franchise mode. Madden 08 had RFAs and that wasn't a whistles and bells version, it just worked. i hated that i had to be the qb as there wasn't a true coach mode out of the box. i dont like that you had to buy an xbox one to see the right way if you played a MLB in CFM but i got it and stopped playing player cfms as defence was pants, i had 140 odd tackles, several ints/ff/fr/deflections i.e. a solid rookie season and got virtually no exps even though i was a late round ss dev.
    i want "if it's in the game" i.e. deals like the Ostweiler deal when guaranteed money was transferred for the 2nd rounder because the Browns had cap space.
    if im getting frustrated with the lack of depth i can only guess what an American sim person is feeling, especially when a lot of what people are asking for was in previous version of madden or ncaa. i applaud the PS, the other obvious thing that wasn't in prior iterations is the 5th year option.
    and a naive thought to finish, i am lucky enough to be in a position that if DLC to make Madden more CFM Sim immersive on or offline, that was additional to the base game, i would be able to buy it.
    adembroski
    Play the Moments was a no brainer. It should have been in the game a decade ago.
    Some ridiculously high percentage (I don't remember and don't want to guess because somebody will call me on it if I'm wrong) of franchise modes never reach the first off-season. I mean, stupid high. I remember being shocked even though I was pretty aware that was generally the case. Now, I would have designed it very differently (contextual, with varying degrees of direct control based on the importance and score of the game at hand and with play-call within SuperSim - probably planned but you get the basic feature in first and expand it later), but it was a feature that needed to happen.
    I could make a pretty good case that Big Decisions was my idea, though not in the form it ended up in. My suggestion was to, as often as possible, present the user with binary options and all relevant information at-hand. This was intended to be within the context of a user being able to assemble a staff, so that at some level, the user is in complete control of even decisions he defers. All functionality that exists now would still be there, to dig into and fine tune however you want, the key decisions feature would be specifically to help beginners and casuals ease into the mode and have the important decisions made as forward facing and easy as possible. There was a lot of feedback that some people got into franchise and plain didn't know what to do.
    Here's the critical data; the average 20-something football fan that buys Madden tunes out the NFL after the Superbowl, but everyone loves the idea of franchise mode... but they're intimidated by it. It's big and complicated and scary, and they don't eat, drink, and breath football in the off-season. They don't know what a franchise tag is, they don't know how the salary cap works or what a rookie reserve is. We wanted more people to play Madden, so we figured if we gave them in-game "advisers" (ie assistant coaches, front office personnel) presenting them with simple decisions, it would take the pressure off.
    I'll lay dollars to doughnuts adjustable XP awards was John's idea, so that's a positive.
    Now to take the piss out of my own comments; I don't know if John's a math guy. That's my one hesitation. Franchise mode needs a math guy. With a math guy, progression, stats, salaries, all that **** can be worked out with precision. That's why NCAA's rosters/generated players/progression was always pretty good. They had a mathematician doing all that. I tried, but there were obstacles. I hope those are out of JWs way and he's either a math guy or has a math guy on his staff.
    One last thing in JW's defense; unless a lot's changed since I was there, he probably had to fight like hell to get formations subs in that first patch. I don't remember a feature that big patched in after release ever, and producers are never receptive to the idea of adding features after alpha has started, much less adding something so late it needs a day 1 patch. I almost think he'd have had to pay someone off to get that done.

    Love hearing from someone who was there. Appreciate the insight.
    I guess my issue is that I feel it's a "chicken/egg" thing. Are people not getting through the first season because everything takes too long, or because the mode isn't immersive enough? I mean, what good is it if you can get to season 4 in a week's time if Year 4 feels exactly like Year 1? I don't think the feature is unnecessary, because I know for a fact there are people who like to use it. But if you put that feature in, and people use it to get further, only to find that franchise mode is still just as boring, what good is that? What's the significance of getting to year 4 instead of year 1 if they don't have things around the bend to get to?
    The mode doesn't display much history. Like yearly awards. It obviously keeps track of them in the system, because if you know who won the award, you can go into their player card and see that it's listed. But you don't have a menu showing you the history of the award. Same with the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, etc.
    That's what my post was trying to get across. Why come out with this feature to expedite your progress in Franchise if there's really nothing that makes you want to get to that point?
    I used Play the Moments to test it out, and all it really did for me was lose the context of my games, and therefore lose context for my season. I even used it in one save to sim 10 years of the future, but there's no real history tracking to show, so it was extremely difficult to understand how the league evolved, outside of different rosters.
    I just think it's kind of sad that they won't invest heavily into the mode because they see that people don't get far in it, instead of realizing people don't get far into it because there's very little reason to keep going.
    adembroski
    Play the Moments was a no brainer. It should have been in the game a decade ago.
    Some ridiculously high percentage (I don't remember and don't want to guess because somebody will call me on it if I'm wrong) of franchise modes never reach the first off-season. I mean, stupid high. I remember being shocked even though I was pretty aware that was generally the case.

    To piggyback off of what you're talking about here - last time I talked to someone at Tiburon (and I also currently actively work with a couple people who left Tiburon after Madden 17 was finished), it was something like 50% of all franchises ever created fail to even reach Regular Season Week 1 of the first season.
    To that end, I obviously agree with you Play The Moments was absolutely a necessary addition for the long-term health of the mode. Also agreed that it should have been it there a long time ago, but it's also something which as an end user I admittedly never knew I even wanted in the game until it was there.
    CM Hooe
    To piggyback off of what you're talking about here - last time I talked to someone at Tiburon (and I also currently actively work with a couple people who left Tiburon after Madden 17 was finished), it was something like 50% of all franchises ever created fail to even reach Regular Season Week 1 of the first season.
    To that end, I obviously agree with you Play The Moments was absolutely a necessary addition for the long-term health of the mode. Also agreed that it should have been it there a long time ago, but it's also something which as an end user I admittedly never knew I even wanted in the game until it was there.

    Agreed. Great feature, should probably have been there a while ago. I love using it. Creativity points deducted because the Show.
    Let's be honest we won't see everything in the game . I've just come to accept it. Why can't we have downloadable content. I'd definitely pay for ESPN sports center broadcast for my online or offline league. Weekly highlights so people that want it cause we purchase won't skip it. Ea had the extra point maybe use for local channel and ESPN for national or CBS or NFL Network skies the limit with options . Users can pick . Imagine your own media centre with weekly highlights and pre draft show and pro bowl and free Agency and also be able to upload your show to twitch or YouTube so other users can watch.
    Sent from my SM-G930W8 using Tapatalk
    CM Hooe
    To piggyback off of what you're talking about here - last time I talked to someone at Tiburon (and I also currently actively work with a couple people who left Tiburon after Madden 17 was finished), it was something like 50% of all franchises ever created fail to even reach Regular Season Week 1 of the first season.
    To that end, I obviously agree with you Play The Moments was absolutely a necessary addition for the long-term health of the mode. Also agreed that it should have been it there a long time ago, but it's also something which as an end user I admittedly never knew I even wanted in the game until it was there.

    I've often questioned this statistic in my head, wondering does it take into account people like me, who start a new franchise when a new roster comes out just to see how the ratings translate to PHYS INT etc, and then delete it soon after. Or the fact I run a tonne of new franchises to test for tips, bugs and workarounds which other people might do too? Obviously it will probably be in a minority but those might skew the statistics.
    Buuut if the statistic is true, is that indicating that people feel franchise isn't good enough so not worth their time or too complicated so avoid it for simpler modes and so on and so on? Probably a million reasons :S
    Geodude
    I've often questioned this statistic in my head, wondering does it take into account people like me, who start a new franchise when a new roster comes out just to see how the ratings translate to PHYS INT etc, and then delete it soon after. Or the fact I run a tonne of new franchises to test for tips, bugs and workarounds which other people might do too? Obviously it will probably be in a minority but those might skew the statistics.
    Buuut if the statistic is true, is that indicating that people feel franchise isn't good enough so not worth their time or too complicated so avoid it for simpler modes and so on and so on? Probably a million reasons :S

    Yeah, I buy the statistic but I don't think it means what they think it means. I play a franches 20 plus years but start many more that don't get far. I start a franchise just to see the team ratings. I start a franchise because I have some spare time, do hours of work getting team set, then abandon it because I can't get excited for the same ole. I am a geek so I want running my franchise to be like a second job. I know most people don't want to go deep but a lot of things could be set to auto.

More in Madden NFL 21

To Top