There are all sorts of needs when it comes to Madden from a game-play perspective. As many of you know by now – I almost exclusively play Offline Madden Franchise Mode. There are so many aspects of the NFL that keep us interested all year and today we are going to focus on some of the things that Madden (or any other future football game… Are you listening 2K?) needs in Franchise mode.
Player Contracts, Morale and Agents
If you have paid attention to any of the contracts signed by NFL players in the last few years you will see that many of these contracts are not nearly as simple as just throwing out a number and having it accepted or declined. Madden has always had a problem with making contracts too simplified. In that regard it has also made Franchise Mode exceedingly easy from a management perspective. You can always low-ball a player or get someone on the cheap if you know your way around the salary cap. Here are a few ideas on what would make this a bit more realistic and more challenging as you advance through multiple seasons.
- Tiered Contracts – We should have the ability to front load or back load contracts for players just like in real life. (NBA 2K has been doing this for years)
- Incentive Based – There have been numerous contracts in recent memory laced with performance incentives. (See Ben Tate’s deal with the Browns for an example). This could be something that gamers need to focus on as they are building their teams around specific players. You want that young WR you have made into a superstar to sign an extension? Make it worth his while with money up front and incentives based on performance or staying healthy.
- Battling Through Injuries – In this regard I like to see it being somewhat tied to the incentives listed above. If a player tweaks his hamstring or maybe has a sore shoulder and needs to play a certain % of snaps to earn an incentive. A good example of this is the contract of Jason Campbell for the Browns in 2013. He did an admirable job trying to tough it out and play. When it comes to staying healthy and getting paid to play a certain % of the snaps – you bet that is an important aspect for some players.
- Morale – Something that never ceases to annoy Madden gamers is the thought that many features have been added and taken away as the wind blows at EA. Morale was in Madden 2005 and played a large role in realism. Players in the NFL have serious egos and morale swings almost daily. In this case, a simple morale bar would be nice to see when it comes to making players happy to be on your team. In that same breath, it should effect their performance as well.
- Holdouts – Yet another part of the game that was removed is player holdouts. This happens quite often and has at times caused many teams to lose important players or show them the money they demand in order to stick around. This needs to be back in the game.
Another part of Franchise Mode that has been getting better incrementally over the last couple years is the NFL Draft. As we enter the final week before the NFL Draft (in real life) there are many things that are becoming more apparent when looking at the draft and scouting in Madden.
- Big Boards – I’m not talking about the main screen where they have thrown up the top players based on the CPU’s programming. I am talking about as the GM/Coach/Owner making your own Big Board. This could be as simple as taking a lesson from the NCAA Football team when they made a recruiting board for up to 35 players to recruit. In this manner it should be expanded quite a bit (maybe to 50-70 players) so you can work your way through the draft like real teams do.
- Measurables and Grades – I am sick of the simple scouting method of paying to find exact ratings. At most there should be grades or maybe a rating range made available through scouting. When it comes to the combine in real life it is the biggest part of the pre-draft experience. I want to see 40 times, bench press reps, interview notes, etc.
- Coach Input – If you have seen the movie Draft Day you will know what I am talking about when I refer to Denis Leary’s portrayal of the Browns coach that basically tells the GM he is quitting if he takes a certain player or doesn’t help him fill the missing pieces in the draft to fit his system. This is very important needs to have a greater presence in the game (perhaps Coach Morale as well?)
- Scouts – This is something that is desperately needed in Madden for the sake of realism. It would be great to not only streamline the process but also to add some variation to how players are rated based on what qualities that scouts have.