The latest incarnation of Madden saw the absolute gutting of one of the most popular features, franchise mode. That EA would destroy something considered one of the core aspects of the Madden game, shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been following the series. The reality is that Madden doesn’t like giving you the ability to edit rosters, or play multiple seasons on the same copy. They want you to sim and re-sim the one season they give you, and that’s it. Otherwise you might not have a reason to pick up the next years
roster update version of the game.
Madden had to be dragged kicking and screaming to add a franchise mode to the game. Since at the time they were actually trying to get PC sales of the game too, they had to respond to the success/critical acclaim of Dynamix’s Front Page Sports Football. The game had not just a franchise mode, but allowed you to edit just about everything you could think of. It would allow you to setup anything from a 4 to 32 team league. That there are still people playing FPS Football online today should tell you of the high esteem it’s held in.
But that’s part of the problem for EA. If people like a version of a game and can edit stuff, why are they going to buy the next edition? It doesn’t matter that for some reason people are sheep and buy Madden year after year. Seemingly with the game making hardly any year to year changes. You would think that Madden losing a monopoly lawsuit would turn them off to some people, but the Madden series is able to just keep trucking.
The sad thing is that as long as EA controls the rights to the NFL, there’s not much anyone can do about it. Most people agree that NFL 2K5 (Sega’s last release) was better then Madden at a cheaper launch price. The last 3-4 years though it seems there is something that upsets fans of the Madden series. Big changes that are relatively hidden under good PR from EA. Stuff that will be forgotten next year when the “latest and greatest” from the Madden series comes out. All the reviewers will give it huge ratings and promise you that THIS is the Madden that will solve all the previous problems.
Just talking about it makes me want to download Front Page Sports and give it another run through. It’s been years, but I remember how much fun I had printing out all the player ratings (and this was before the Overall Stat) and debating what was better to add to my roster. I would sim games instead of coaching them, so I had to draft well. It’s probably sad on some level that some of my favorite childhood memories are from the video games I played.