As much as online gaming has become a major part of the sports gaming experience, franchise modes are still the lifeblood of sports video games. That's why I felt it necessary to talk to the man in charge of overseeing the Connected Franchise mode in Madden 25 on next-generation consoles.
I recently had a chance to fire a list of questions at Madden senior designer Josh Looman. Josh answered every inquiry and ensured I walked away with a great understanding of what to expect from Connected Franchise in Madden 25 on the Xbox One and Playstation 4. Here's how the Q&A went down:
Brian Mazique: Will the Connected Franchise mode on next-gen mirror the options from current-gen? The options available were a dream for a franchise head like myself.
Josh Looman: Connected Franchise will be practically identical on next-gen. We’ve made a few back-end tweaks to improve performance under the hood, but it should all look and feel very familiar.
BM: With the NCAA Football series going away, how will the NFL draft be handled on next-gen for Madden 25? Will gamers be able to edit the draft class in any way?
JL: This year we decided not to include the option to edit draft classes so that we could maintain the branching storylines we write for the hand-created draft classes. Most of the feedback we’ve heard from fans is that they love having these experiences with boom-or-bust college players, and we have not yet determined a way to keep that same unpredictability while allowing users to edit classes.
BM: Talk a little about how legends fit into the scope of franchise mode. Are they included as they are in current-gen?
JL: Of course. You can still start your career as the rookie version of a legendary player, coach or owner.
BM: How are injuries presented in franchise mode? Is there any suspense, such as having users wait for fictitious MRI results and such to hear about the severity of injuries?
JL: This year injuries are presented in the same way as they are in current-gen, but it’s definitely something we will be looking into in the future. It could be very interesting to put coaches in the position of having to wait for results to find out whether a star player is going to be out a week or for a much longer stretch.
BM: How many seasons are playable in franchise mode this year?
JL: You can play 30 seasons in franchise mode.
BM: Talk a little about the differences between online and offline Connected Franchise.
JL: Online and Offline Connected Franchise are extremely similar, and that’s by design. We wanted the experience to be the same whether you’re playing online or offline and for users to not have to worry about missing out on something cool based on whether or not they were connected. We can make server-side changes and other small tweaks for online players, but there’s full-feature parity across both, so those who play offline won’t miss out.
BM: Will gamers have the ability to edit existing players in any way? Ratings, faces, names, accessories, etc.
JL: Definitely. You’ll be able to change position, gear, appearance, accessories and so on. The only thing you can’t change is ratings in Online leagues, which is done in order to maintain competitive balance and make sure no one tries to cheat.
BM: Will GameFace be used at all for creating players? In my opinion, it is the gold standard for player creation, so I can't wait to see how the feature evolves on next-gen consoles.
JL: We don’t have GameFace support this year. We love the feature, but it was built with the old hardware systems in mind so we have to figure out how to adapt it to next-gen. We’re hoping in the future we’ll be able to deliver a wow moment, where you see yourself in-game and are blown away by how real it looks.
BM: I always love creating teams from scratch. Creating uniforms, logos, stadiums, etc. There was a Madden in the past that allowed you to take existing teams out and replace them with created teams. Will that be possible in this version of Madden 25?
JL: We weren’t able to include that feature this year. We know fans love the feature and would like to see it back, and it is something that we are looking into for the future.
BM: Social interaction has become a major part of the franchise mode experience in Madden. How will that look different on next-gen?
JL: You’ll see feature parity from current-gen to next-gen, and we are interested in expanding this in the future.
BM: When gamers fire up franchise mode for the first time, what is the impression you'd like them to walk away with?
JL: This is the deepest and most addictive career mode in any sports game on the market. We understand how much the fans love the career mode experience and are committed to pushing franchise mode to the limit every year. The new consoles will give us the ability to continue to do some amazing things moving forward.
While every feature I hoped for wasn't included, there still appears to be a good amount of customization available. In just eight days, Madden fans will get an opportunity to play the game on the next-gen consoles. In my Bart Scott voice: "Can't wait."
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