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Madden 21 announces franchise mode features and they're a big letdown: 'The EA joke continues'

Sporting News — (Jordan Heck)

UPDATE: As many in the Madden community made their opinions heard, the hashtag #FixMaddenFranchise began trending on Twitter. 

It became more and more difficult for the Madden developers to ignore the obvious demand. After about a day of the hashtag trending, Madden Executive Producer Seann Graddy made a video the community. In the video, Graddy said the Madden team would make more of an effort towards franchise mode in the future.

"On behalf of the entire Madden development team, we wanted to reach out to say we see your 'Fix Madden Franchise' tweets and we understand your frustration," Graddy says. "The franchise community is critically important to us and we appreciate, of course, your passion for Madden NFL."

Graddy didn't provide any specific updates, mostly because the video is early on in the process. But hopefully this leads to change in the future.

ORIGINAL STORY:

EA Sports faced heavy criticism with its "Madden NFL 21" trailer. The YouTube video currently stands at 16,000 likes compared to 41,000 dislikes. If you read through the comments, most people were asking for an improved version of franchise mode.

Well on Tuesday, EA Sports released its Gridirion Notes for franchise mode in Madden 21 and it's ... not good.

To be fair, the improvements to Face of the Franchise look really fun. EA Sports made it so you start your career in high school, play in college, have the option to change positions, go through the combine and pick your NFL storyline. All of this is great, and I'll look forward to Face of the Franchise when the game comes out.

But the franchise mode features, if you can even call them that, are basically just patch updates.

MORE: Madden 21 release date and everything else you need to know

Madden 21 franchise features

The first two items on Madden 21's reveal of franchise features are that the new X-Factors will be included, and the playoffs are updated to feature the real-life expanded wild-card playoff round. Other updates include improvements on rookie contracts, abilities, dev traits, depth charts and playbook schemes for fictional coaches.

All of these are extremely minor improvements. In fact, it seems like the majority of these could have been updated in Madden 20 with a simple patch fix.

Franchise mode used to be a staple in the Madden video game series. You can spend countless hours building your team into a dynasty. It was the main reason some people wanted to buy the game at all. But as Madden Ultimate Team became more popular, the features for franchise mode started to disappear gradually each year until fans got a bare bones version.

What we're getting in Madden 21 appears to be the worst version yet. And fans took notice following Madden's announcement.

Even Lions running back Kerryon Johnson joined in on poking fun at Madden's lack of franchise mode improvements.

There are a lot of cool new features coming to Madden 21, including personnel based audibles, zone drops, location-based tackling and more. But these additions only help to serve the hardcore gamers rather than the casual fan who simply wants to build a team in franchise mode.

The part that frustrates fans the most is that franchise mode used to have all of the features they want. But for some reason, those features kept getting removed. It's not just that Madden doesn't have any new updates to franchise mode, it's that they're getting rid of things, too.

Despite the obvious demand for it, which can be seen in response to any tweet Madden sends out, the developers have determined it's not worth their time. Or they're hoping fans of franchise mode will instead turn to Face of the Franchise, similar to how fans of NBA 2K have enjoyed MyCareer.

With Face of the Franchise much more fleshed out in Madden 21, maybe some fans will let go of their frustrations with the classic franchise mode. But there's still a large crowd out there that won't stop until EA Sports does something to fix the damage.