Eliminate the catch-up AI. Eliminate the ridiculous “let me find this year’s cheesedick play and score 78 points per quarter” bullshit. Fix the terrible controls that have plagued every Madden title I’ve ever played (disclaimer: I haven’t played the last two). Fix the goddamn terrible camera angles.
In response to SirBruce and others - I wouldn’t care if all my players looked like freaky purple aliens if they fixed the back-end simming and player stats.
The core of the game - player stats are worthless as it’s nearly the same piece of crap they’ve been since what… 1999? Once the player stats are meaningful and work correctly, they need to make the back-end simulation engine utilize player stats effectively and generate statistics that are realistic.
Then… then they can take that forward to make you in-game action fit appropriately.
As far as I’ve seen, Tiburon/EA doesn’t care about this stuff. They add some fluff, new rosters, and crap people that spend 20 hours on care about… then it’s into the trash. I also have ZERO confidence whatsoever with the person they put in charge this year. He worked on the worst football adaptation EA ever made in tis history and now he’s in charge of Madden. Sheesh, yippee.
They also need new play-by-play, menus that aren’t frustrating to wade through, real ball physics, a half-time show that shows you highlights of other games in progress if you want (heck other games did that back in the 90’s). Madden makes me so angry every year. So much fun/potential pissed away every year. TV Sports Football had better presentation than Madden ever has, and that was released in 1989.
I’m pretty familiar with the sports gaming scene, and it goes both ways. Consumers don’t complain with their pocketbook and the critics don’t complain in their analysis (most, anyway).
And chet’s right. Right now playing franchise mode is pointless not because the mode is underdeveloped but because the gameplay fundamentals are still broken. You can’t have a franchise mode when the gameplay still needs serious improvement. It defeats the purpose.
And believe me – we are in the minority. I’ve played a lot of franchise seasons in a lot of sports games going back to Sportime Hockey on the C-64 to FPS Football '92 to a 10 year High Heat Baseball 2-player league through a 30 year OOTP multiplayer league. The people that play multiple seasons in pro sports games are the exception and not the rule. There is a market for those gamers, but Madden isn’t it. EA tried to cater to that crowd with NFL Head Coach and it was an abomination.
And Qessinge, again it’s about priority. Right now PC sports gamers aren’t even in the equation. The sales do not justify the development time to make those versions as good as they could be.
I think the problem for EA is that a lot of their audience doesn’t want a sim, which appears to be what most people here are looking for. Most people just want something that roughly represents their sport, has their favourite players/teams and is good fun multiplayer. They aren’t looking for a 6-0 defensive battle in Madden, they would much rather have both teams score 20+ in a 20 minute game with turnovers and huge plays all over the place even if it isn’t realistic.
Personally I would like to see EA offer sim and arcade modes in their games to try and address this.
I’m a huge sports gamer, and I do play the franchise modes - although I probably only get through 2 or 3 seasons before the next version comes out. I get involved with Madden during NFL season, the NHL game after that, etc. And I’ve been playing sports games since Earl Weaver baseball on the PC (well, even before that w/ Micro League) and the original Wayne Gretzky hockey, which was a 2d overhead view of hockey that was a great game at the time.
For me, the best innovation in sports games was MLB The Show Road to the Show mode. I’ve never been as addicted to a sports game as I was to that mode. Played through 8 seasons of ball, and only stopped because I traded in the PS2 for a new 360 w/ all the great games on that system. I’m buying a PS3 next week just for the next version, because I thought the mode was that good. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but that’s as close as it’s come for me so far. The Superstar/Campus Legend modes in NCAA/Madden weren’t bad, but I’d like to see something similar for the NHL and NBA/NCAA games.
We have a winner! For all of the nitpicks you read here, NBA Live, Madden, etc are still very, very popular with the 18-25 demographic that EA is going after. I know many, many people who religiously buy Madden every August and some have even been buying NCAA Football in July, then buying Maddn in August, and doing the same thing next year.
That is why some sort of meaningful realism slider bars/checkboxes would bridge the divide between the people who want high-scoring action-packed sports games, and close to realistic sim. I know I’d buy Madden with a feature like that, and play my kids using the action setting and then switch to the sim settings for my games.