New Gridiron Notes for Madden NFL 21 Acknowledges Franchise Mode Complaints

Today, the Madden NFL Team has released a new Gridiron Notes involving the direction of Franchise Mode. This single player mode that allows the player to run aspects of a NFL franchise has been around since 1998, but has seen little innovation in nearly a decade. The team has acknowledged the feedback from the community, and opens the blog about allocating more resources for this mode. “We are making changes, including dedicating a higher percentage of team bandwidth, to deliver a greater investment in core Franchise features through Madden NFL 21 post launch support, Madden NFL 22 launch, and beyond. ”

Gauging Madden games at launch will be a bit more difficult going forward. The blog also dived into the Madden NFL series continuing as a “Live Service”. This means that features and even game modes will be added throughout its lifecycle. This was first witnessed with Superstar K.O. last year, but one could argue that the live service has existed with roster updates from years prior. “The game you buy on launch day is only the beginning of the annual Madden NFL 21 journey. Our commitment to you is to deliver meaningful change to the game throughout the year. In Madden NFL 21, we’ll expand our dedicated live service team to allow for more focused delivery of Franchise improvements based on your feedback, while continuing to evolve the broader game for our wide cross-section of Madden fans.”

With the team for Madden allocating more bandwidth to the Franchise Mode, the blog broke down a road map over the course of the next two titles. While Madden NFL 21 is slated to release this month, it is kind of late to have some of these options available at launch if they weren’t implemented earlier. You can check out the road map below. Madden NFL 21 launches on August 25 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. You can read the Gridiron Notes here.

With each update, this list may shift as our plans for M21 and M22 come more into focus. We will share with the community as the list evolves.

  • TUNING – Improved progression and regression of players. Improve core player progression into the future such that X-Factors and other abilities for older players work well with incoming rookie classes.
  • COMMISSIONER TOOLS – See a more detailed summary below.
  • AI PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT – The AI will make better team management decisions in the draft, free agency and trades.
  • PLAYOFF and SUPER BOWL PRESENTATION – Improve and refresh.
  • X-FACTOR / SUPERSTAR ABILITY CUSTOMIZATION – Introduce the ability to customize X-Factor and Abilities on all players, allowing you to customize your roster as you see fit.
  • CAREERS STATS UI – Improved UI showing historical player performances. More immersion and depth on how players have progressed in your Franchise.
  • TRADE LOGIC – More fidelity, depth, and authenticity.
  • RETIREMENT UI – Better insight into retirements each season to allow players to react/manage.
  • PLAYOFFS UPDATE – Add an authentic playoff bracket screen to see who’s in, who’s won and who’s up next.

Commissioner tools is a large bucket of items with a lot of opportunities and a lot of work. We see this as something we’ll continue to work on to give you more control over your Franchise in the year(s) ahead. For Madden NFL 21 and 22 we are looking at the following tools:

Commissioner Tools Priority Ranking

  1. Ability to undo transactions, reducing friction and control over player movement contracts and trades.
  2. Ability to approve trades.
  3. Ability to reset a game in case of a disconnect.


For Madden NFL 22 it is still very early. We are at the very beginning of the planning and pre-production of next year’s product. That said, we’ve been actively discussing some of the areas we’d like to focus on, stemming from your feedback and player engagement. Here are few of the areas, while not fully committed yet, we are exploring creatively:

  • Coaching and staff management
  • Scouting improvements
  • New scenario engine enhancements
  • New team chemistry system
  • Commissioner Tools improvements
  • MORE CONTENT – Examples: Relocation/Branding Assets for Franchise – New uniforms, names, and logos to relocation options for more variety and depth in deeper careers.