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Here’s What We Can Expect From Franchise Mode In ‘Madden 23’

Nothing about the Madden series has fallen off harder in the eyes of fans than the game’s franchise mode. What used to be the main selling point of the entire brand has for years remained largely underdeveloped in comparison to modes that are more lucrative, such as Ultimate Team, or an opportunity to offer fans live updates like Superstar KO. As a result, the hardcore players who love to go 20 years deep fine-tuning rosters and making dynasties have remained unsatisfied.

Could that possibly be changing in the near future? The devs over at EA Sports Tiburon want you to believe they are. Madden 23 is promising to be one of the bigger updates the series has seen with a huge gameplay update, but its also promising a deeper and improved franchise mode. On Friday, EA Sports released a video showcasing some of the new features to expect in the upcoming franchise.

The trailer highlights a handful of the bigger features coming to franchise in Madden 23 such as improved free agency, improved AI logic, and a process meant to involve players a little more while they’re in menus. When we got a chance to check out Madden 23 a little early back in May, Sr. Game Design Director Connor Dougan told us about how improving the gameplay loop was a point of emphasis for them while not only developing 22, but continuing that into 23.

“Franchise has been super important to us, and so last year we did stuff with weekly strategy, game planning, franchise staff, talents, and then we released scouting post-launch.” Dougan said to UPROXX. “The reason we did that in 22 was that we wanted to make the core loop stronger. But we also then started thinking about some of the other elements like the offseason and free agency. And so when we’re moving forward to Madden 23, we felt like, A – free agency and improving it was a top request from our core franchise players, and B – It is kind of a no-brainer because it’s such a huge part of football, that I think there was a lot of room for improvement in previous iterations.”

While franchise isn’t going to satisfy fans overnight, the addition of a deeper free agency mode is going to be huge for fans of the game because that is where a lot of the fun of franchise exists. It’s where we make our dynasties, dream teams, and take a struggling organization to Super Bowl contender status. It’s also an opportunity to make the game feel more realistic.

A feature that the developers of Madden are very proud of is the addition of tags. These will give players motivations and goals for why they may want to sign somewhere that goes beyond a salary. These motivations can still have money be the primary factor, but it could also be a desire to go play close to home or be on a Super Bowl contender. This helps avoid a situation where a player tells a team that they’re leaving in free agency to go play for a contender only to sign with the Lions or Jaguars.

“If you think about how you would emulate a real free agency situation where multiple teams are battling it out just to sign that coveted free agent, I think creatively it was a cool opportunity for us to try and build something like that.” Dougan said. “When you take into account things like what’s really behind players signing with different teams and then you start to look, and do some research, and it’s like, okay well, what’s motivating them. Obviously, financials are motivating them, right? But there’s so much more that goes into it when we talk about things that we’ve added like player motivations and player tags. It’s pretty cool because players are going to have different wants or needs…So, there’s lots of different motivations that we’ve added to our players to ensure that free agency became more than just whoever offers the most money [signs them].”

Is every fan going to be happy with the logic that inevitably ends up in free agency this year? Probably not, but everything we’ve seen so far tells us the series is heading in a new and better direction with franchise. It doesn’t feel like it’s the forgotten side mode anymore, but something that the development team is actively striving to improve and that’s exciting to think about.