Without even touching the actual gameplay, devs at EA can change the look of the game overnight, starting with the in-game overlays.
Before a game even loads up, instead of looking at the same pre-game graphics, which is the perfect time to get a drink/go toilet, add a small show with the hosts talking about the key match-ups, how the season is going, trade rumours etc and players will feel more immersed in their franchise universe.
After a while, people will skip it but at least for a while, it changes things up.
Fifa, also made by EA, has the Premier League graphics. It also has the Champions League, La Liga and other league-specific overlays.
Then in the top-right hand corner it has EA Sports Live.
If Madden can introduce “EA Sports MNF/TNF” or just EA Sports TV as opposed to EA Sports Competitive, it would make a difference.
Bringing in Fox, NBC, CBS would be even better but one thing at a time.
This would also add something extra to franchise mode.
As it stands, Madden says the game is scheduled for Monday/Thursday Night Football but outside of it being played at night, there’s actually no difference.
You introduce some variety, and franchise mode automatically gets upgraded and updated.
Add generic hosts, if you are unable to secure the rights to their real-life counterparts, and have different commentary teams and you will immediately notice the change.
Have different graphics for different games, be it ones showed on Fox, CBS, ABC etc, and players will actually have a reason to care about their franchise mode.
Players will want a different display for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years etc.
Play-off football should also have it’s own overlay, something to signify the importance of the game and add to the experience.
Make sure Thursday Night, Sunday Night and Monday Night Football have unique overlays and all of a sudden, Franchise Mode feels more immersive – it may even bring old fans back.
The generic EA Sports scorecard is bland, dry and outdated.
MLB The Show does it brilliantly, as does NBA 2K.
MLBTS will have big games on the MLB Network, along with Headi Watney (there’s a trophy called Hi, Dee which you get the first time you play on MLB Network) and this is the kind of thing developers at EA should be striving for.
You’ve seen what EA has done with Fifa and the presentation of that game. That this hasn’t transferred over to Madden is a real shame, but it can easily be remedied.
EA has the NFL license so should really start putting it to use.