Hashtags, Lip Service, and What Could Have Been #FixMaddenFranchise

If you have visiting NoobTubeTV at any point since 2011 you have most likely come across a Madden article of some sort. The efforts I have made to improve roster quality, gameplay, and franchise mode experiences are quite apparent. Now, in the age of Twitter and hashtag social movements, we have finally poked the bear that is EA Sports. The #FixMaddenFranchise hashtag was trending in late June after what was supposed to be the long awaited Franchise Mode “upgrade” only to once again be another kick in the “goal post”. Then came the most empty apology I’ve heard from a game developer (https://twitter.com/EAMaddenNFL/status/1278795979924344834).

Moral of the story is this – Madden 21 will not have an updated Franchise Mode. They have no details about what they are going to do because they have NO PLANS TO ACTUALLY MAKE THIS MODE BETTER! They have said this same garbage for over a decade. It’s honestly pathetic and I am done with buying Madden until I see true growth in Franchise Mode. It simply isn’t worth my money or your money anymore.

The thing is – it isn’t a surprise to see such a high potential mode get neglected year after year. For almost a decade Josh Looman was put in charge of Franchise Mode in some way or another. His acumen was supposed to be related to the NFL Head Coach games that sold a whopping 17 copies… okay, maybe they sold more than that – be honest, you didn’t buy it new – you got it used in the GameStop bargain bin if you did buy it. There was some good stuff on those games to be sure, but the Franchise Mode fanbase didn’t want Head Coach – we wanted Franchise Mode to be a living world of NFL History of our own making with intelligent CPU decision making both in the front office and on the sidelines. We got neither of those things over the last 15 years.

I have always held out hope that EA Sports would wake up and see what they had back in Madden 2005’s Franchise Mode. That never happened because the onset of online gaming and the Ultimate Team cash cow that has overtaken sports game culture. The pay to win and play/grind to build a team of superstars might be great for those that can afford the money or time. There are a lot of other gamers out there that want to play a sports game without having to worry about facing an online opponent that will do anything to win rather than play a good game of football.

There are all sorts of manifestos out there about what would make Franchise Mode a perfect mode for those of us that want it to be more enjoyable. I’m almost positive that EA Sports has made the corporate decision to trash Franchise Mode because it makes them no extra money. That is the corporate way and the demands of stock holders. Face it – the truth hurts when you have to realize that the things you like don’t make them worthwhile to those providing them.

I have given input on what Franchise Mode needs to do in order to improve. I am going to post a new exhaustive article soon to outline everything Madden needs to do in order to get my business.

I am skeptical that they will ever deliver.

Don’t buy Madden 21.

New Rules, The NFL, and How You Are Ruining Sports Games

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With all their new rules you’d think Bill Maher was the new commissioner of the NFL… don’t get that joke?  Either I am the Dennis Miller of gaming commentary and online personas or I am just old and lame.
I am starting to think that Madden has hit that slope as well.
Seeing that the draft is coming up and the NFL is as popular as ever it seems like they would be pushing more and more to make their monopoly on football video games a more true representation of the game on the field and on television.  Then again, maybe they are when it comes to all the rule changes that seemingly gut the NFL of any sort of toughness under the guise of ‘player safety’.
In Madden it is nearly impossible to injure a player by hitting them harder (which is basically 80% of the injuries in the league). In Madden your players can’t get unsportsmanlike conduct penalties because that type of thing isn’t in the game either.  So, the new rule of two penalties for being an arrogant taunting jerk with a big mouth has no place in Madden to begin with.
This is why I constantly wonder when the madness will stop.  When will 2K or another publisher pour in the resources to give football fans and football gamers a different option from Madden?  I have been on this journey for over a decade demanding a true competitor to Madden and the football gaming monopoly. 
I am starting to wonder if I’m alone out here on the digital gridiron.  Everyone else seems happy to play two-hand touch on Madden and I am stuck wondering why I waste so much time playing a Franchise Mode for the sake of having a ‘new’ football option every year.
This might be why I am looking forward to MLB 16 more and more.  At least SCEA goes above and beyond to truly add depth to their game every year.  Madden has seen their top guys leave over the course of the last few years and with that they haven’t grown or done anything new.  They have invested in Ultimate Team because gamers seem to have more money than they know what to do with.  So in many respects, if you are playing Ultimate Team you are part of the problem as well.  I’d say this goes for Diamond Dynasty players on MLB, but now that SCEA has made it so you earn packs as you play the game rather than simply giving the option to buy more (which you can also do)… maybe they are similar afterall.

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Maybe I am just like Mugatu and I have taken crazy pills somewhere along the way.

Will Games Change Their Digital Approach Next Generation?

Now that we are firmly into the high speed internet age and online functionality has become almost synonymous with every game on the market (including the ubiquitous ‘patching’ of games).  The issue many sports gamers are running into is that they are pouring $60+ into games that come out every year with minor improvements/changes and roster updates.  This has caused sports gamers to generally ask on occasion why developers like EA and 2K won’t simply release a cheaper update to the game every other year BLOPS2or so instead of requiring the purchase of new software every single year.

The most obvious responses are ‘…because people are buying the games in droves” and “Why would you stop milking your cash cow when it is obviously still producing results?”

The issue at hand in the coming generation of consoles is that they will be largely focused on digital content more-so than even these current consoles seem to be.  While the PlayStation Store and XBox Marketplace are doing well and provide services to subscribers/gamers it seems like only a matter of time before you will have to start buying certain content by sections rather than a full-fledged title.

Some games like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Halo could potentially be sold in three different ways.

  1. Online Multiplayer
  2. Offline Story Mode/Campaign
  3. Full Game (Online and Offline Content)

This isn’t the first time that something like this has been suggested.  You can go to virtually any rumor mill site for gaming and read about an industry analyst talking about the likelihood of a game like Call of Duty charging people to play online.   The issue that gamers should be considering is whether or not they are happy with the current state of games.  Whether or not you are paying extra for maps, add-ons or even avatar clothing you have to appreciate how smooth the transition has been between the PS2/XBox to the PS3 and 360 in terms of online interactivity and microtransactions like coins for Madden Ultimate Team.

We will soon be entering a new realm of digital content distribution.  Considering the actions of developers in the last 18 months, you shouldn’t be surprised if you will have options to buy games by piecemeal or some sort of full-game combo.

If you disagree about the outlook or attitude towards some aspects of games (such as story mode/campaign) you should ask Battlefield or Call of Duty gamers if they have played more than 45 minutes of the campaign mode.

The fact that Battlefield has a disc for campaign mode on 360 says a lot (even if it is simply due to space)… my campaign disc has been in the system for less than two hours – total.

Get ready for some big changes next gen.