What do you care more about these days with single-player experiences, a deep career mode (Road to the Show, MyPlayer, etc.) or a deep franchise mode?
Michael Larson: As someone who mostly plays hockey sports games, I’m definitely in the deep franchise group as NHL has not given its hockey fans a truly deep franchise mode yet. I want a more living league, something closer to NBA 2K’s MyLeague allows players to have. I want rule changes and full 31-36 team control so I can truly make my league feel like it’s living. I really hate being pigeon-holed into a single-team franchise experience because you eventually lose immersion when you feel like you’re playing in a bubble. With NHL 2K10, I was able to play any game of the season regardless of who my one “user” team was, and even though that wasn’t perfect, it was still way better than anything EA has given us. I guess you can say my wish is for a deep “league mode” if you will, but for the sake of the question I’ll put myself in the “franchise mode” group.
Kevin Groves: I’d say a deep career mode is more important to me. I want to be able to track my player’s stats throughout the entirety of my career. I want to know that I’m approaching records, whether that be league records or team/franchise records. I want to see an individual “honors/accomplishments” page like they have on Wikipedia etc. At the end of the day, a player is measured by accomplishments, more so team accomplishments first (rings, trophies) and then individual accomplishments later. College Hoops 2K8 did a fairly decent job at this and that was 2007/8. We’re a decade on and we’re getting less immersive titles every year. I know us offline gamers are a dying breed but show a little love to the folks who have been down since day one.
Josh Houtz: For me, the most exciting thing about sports gaming nowadays is the ability to create your character and work your way from a top prospect to a perennial superstar. Madden is far behind some of the other games like NBA 2K and MLB The Show. So for me, I’d like to see more focus from EA in the future. Truth is, QB1 was extremely fun and seemed like everything was headed in the right direction. And then it just stopped and essentially turned into a glorified franchise mode. If EA could make a football version of Road to the Show, I think we would all be more than excited to play this year’s installment. As for franchise mode, more realistic rosters moves, better draft classes, and realistic stats would go a long way.
Truth is, Madden 2005 might have had the best franchise mode. At the time, it seemed foolish to see the repetitive newspaper headlines and listen to each week’s installment of the Tony Bruno Show. Heck, who could forget raising concession prices and other minute details. If this were added to Madden 2021, who would be upset? I think just as many people would be excited to play franchise as they would a new and improved QB1. At the end of the day, both areas need significant improvement. But I’d rather scan my face or create my own unique character than worry about an entire team.
Jeff Botkin: I appreciate a deep franchise mode versus a career mode. The best part about taking control of a franchise is having the ability to turn around an under-performing franchise. As the general manager of a franchise, there are a variety of ways you can improve. You can trade all your players to bring in that one game-changing athlete. Or you can clear up cap space and bring in a quality set of role players who each have their own unique skills to contribute to the team. Although I do like career modes, I find much more value in a franchise mode that has a variety of flexibility to create a system based on your vision. The greatest experience I have had with this is with NCAA Football 14. Turning a single-star program into a five-star powerhouse with detailed recruiting over the span of a couple years was awesome.