Madden NFL 25
Ten years ago, in Madden NFL 04 (with Michael Vick on the cover!), the series introduced an Owner's option to its Franchise mode. This let you adjust ticket prices, relocate your team if necessary, and get into other down-and-dirty aspects of your franchise. Unfortunately, the mode has not appeared in the current-gen versions of the series – until now. Madden NFL 25 re-introduces the owner concept and integrates it into last year's Connected Careers format.
Being an owner is now part of the player and coach backstories in the newly named Connected Franchises mode (and is therefore tied to online play, milestones, a Legacy score, and all the other aspects of the mode). Although you won't spend XP on yourself as an owner, you'll play the games like normal and you can spend XP on your players and the coach as if you were a hands-on Jerry Jones or Al Davis type (XP can also be applied automatically like last year). Owners will spend money on hiring a coach, scouts, and a trainer. Coaches' levels have been stretched out to 40, and both your coach and scouts will have an impact on how much XP you earn and make different skill packages easier to buy. Trainers will naturally prevent injuries and reduce down time.
Owners make money via their stadiums, the product on the field, and fans' expectations and happiness surrounding both the team and its facility.
- Your stadium and its various aspects (bathrooms, seating, locker rooms, parking, etc.) are graded, and these degrade over time. Thus, upgrading individual parts, building a new stadium, or relocation will have to occur.
- Set prices for concessions, merchandise, and tickets for different areas of the stadium
- If you drop into negative cash, you will be forced to sell the team
- You can relocate to one of 17 currently realistic markets such as L.A., Mexico City, Brooklyn, Toronto, and London (complete with city-specific commentary). Each will foot the relocation bill to varying amounts. You can keep the team name or select from one of three that the fans have already picked.
- Pick from eight designs when building a stadium of different prices/quality that impacts your monthly mortgage payment.
Away from the dollars and cents part of being an owner, managing expectations is key. The game contains a fan happiness system that takes into account the team, the staff, the stadium, merchandise, and overall expectations. This system feeds into your revenue. Thus, there won't be a hard line where you fail if you don't make the playoffs if you're trying to rebound from a 4-12 season. You can do your part in managing or hyping expectations through media statements that feed into the game's front page media section. Talking about your QB, for example, won't affect that person's performance, but it could eventually make a difference to your bottom line if your statements turn out to be true of false.
Owner's mode isn't the only new thing going for this year's franchise mode. Also included are a handful of changes designed to restore some of the functionality of previous games.
- Importing NCAA Draft Classes
- Offline Fantasy Draft (last year the online fantasy draft was patched into the game)
- 32-Team Control. Perhaps one of the most contentious omissions from Madden 13 ("I think we really took away some people's rituals," said Mike Young, Madden's creative director, of the move.), in Madden NFL 25 you can now control all the NFL teams offline on a single console. With this, you can also edit all the teams the way you want. Connected Franchises allows a mix of players and coaches within that same franchise world.
Elsewhere in the game, a variety of aspects have been tweaked, including the XP and overall progression of players in Connected Franchise, your Legacy score, the Milestones, and the logic for trades and free agents. The latter is particularly good to hear given that last year's game assigned specific schemes that players played in. While it was cool to know that a particular player was better suited to zone coverage, for instance, it didn't always seem to jive with how free agency shook out.
Overall, the mode's UI will be reworked in order to avoid the confusion and randomness of last year's interface, which threw everything together somewhat haphazardly. Now you'll actually go to the Transaction Log to see if you've signed a player in free agency, and the front page news center will acknowledge which stage of the offseason your in. As far as particular weeks in the offseason, developer EA Tiburon hasn't added anything new, such as specifically calling out college pro days or the scouting combine.
Check out the gameplay details on Madden 25, including its new movement system, in our previous preview.
Also be sure to see more Owner's mode details in the screenshot gallery below.
Madden NFL 25 hits the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on August 27.