It’s been a long road for Madden NFL 21’s franchise mode. On the heels of a community campaign to “#FixMaddenFranchise” when it was revealed that the latest edition of the game featured franchise changes that read more like patch notes than upgrades worthy of a new game, EA Tiburon unveiled a long-term vision for the series’ franchise mode.
Now, following previous updates that added things like smarter CPU trade logic, playoff brackets, revamped player-stats cards, and additional commissioner tools, EA Tiburon and EA Sports have announced the final franchise update to Madden NFL 21’s franchise mode. This latest update delivers on the promise EA Tiburon made to go further down the CPU trade logic and evaluations path, while also adding additional historical context to your league.
In any professional sports league, tradition and a sense of history is important. With this new update to Madden NFL 21’s franchise mode, players can revisit the record books of seasons past to view a running log of key award winners, as well as conference and Super Bowl champions on a yearly basis. The records exist in a single hub with a way to filter by year for ease of finding exactly the record you’re looking for. Unfortunately, the data will not exist for any award winners or champions that were already crowned, but any seasons you complete after the patch hits will be tracked going forward.
The big upgrades in this patch come in the way the CPU-run teams react to trade offers. One key area is in how star players are valued by the CPU general managers. Going forward, the CPU will consider notions of “reciprocation” when dealing star players away. Essentially, this means that to acquire a star, it will typically require a combination of high-value players and draft picks. If you happen to be the one trading away a star player, you can expect higher returns.
The patch also fixes several issues, including offensive linemen not being properly valued, players being evaluated at the wrong position in the depth chart, and issues involving trades for players at the same position. Franchise players can also be on the lookout for other improvements like a better picture of the actual value of the trade, Dev Traits playing a bigger role in a player’s value calculation, and certain defensive positions carrying more weight depending on the scheme run by the team.
Teams will also have more nuanced perspectives of player trade values and draft picks to create situations like we see in the real-life NFL. Other updates include players being more valuable when they’re rookies or in the first year of their contracts (as long as they aren’t in a one-year contract), and a new age value curve where the older the player gets, the more age affects their value. In addition, top-tier quarterbacks are becoming more valuable. EA Tiburon also continued sharpening the draft logic of the CPU GMs, realigning the base value of draft picks to work with the new player value changes outlined above.
To close out the update, executive producer Seann Graddy delivered a brief video address talking about the improvements still to come as the team shifts its focus toward Madden NFL 22. In the video, Graddy affirmed the studio’s renewed commitment to developing franchise mode alongside the rest of the modes in the Madden NFL series. He also said the team is gathering additional feedback from the community, including Game Changers, play testers, content creators, and more, to give players the franchise mode they’ve been clamoring for.
Only time will tell if EA Tiburon is able to deliver on the franchise mode improvements in Madden NFL 22. In the meantime, the final set of Madden NFL 21 franchise mode improvements arrive tomorrow. Madden NFL 21 launched last August on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The new-gen version, which added smoother gameplay, a new playcall system, and Next-Gen Stats integration, followed in December.
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