In the past, sports games have found one way or another to make their games different when it came to the role of managing a team. Being a coach is a lot more challenging than you might think from formulating plays, making off-season moves and figuring out how to build a championship caliber product for the upcoming year.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a team owner? There’s a lot more responsibility to it than you might think, and we don’t mean lobbying for a billion dollar stadium with a TV screen as big as a two-story house. With Madden NFL 25, EA Sports is presenting that option with the new Owner’s Mode that will tie in to the Connected Franchise that will be included with the game.
As you might be aware, Connected Franchise lets you track your progress as you play through like your online wins and losses, milestones you unlock along the way and a Legacy score that keeps tally of just how well you’re doing against others. Owner’s Mode goes a whole lot deeper than that and it might throw off those who are just looking to throw the pigskin around with the likes of Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning, but for those who want the ultimate in football simulation, it’s truly a must.
As an owner of an NFL franchise, you won’t have to worry about how to make your limo rides smoother or your office sleeker but you’ll have management duties galore, even during the off-season. As your team progresses during an NFL season, experience points will be unlocked. You’ll use them to improve the team in general, whether you’re working up a player’s speed or building more know-how with your coach to increase his work ethic (in case he’s coming off a losing season – some coaches just can’t avoid that).
Money management will also play a tremendous part in the new Owner’s Mode. You’ll have to manage not only the players on your team, but also those who help keep it together. Buying the services of a quality coach can really make all the difference, along with the scouts who will help find prospect players, and trainers who will keep athletes conditioned or assist them with rehabbing an injury. The better quality your staff, the more XP you’ll bank… but don’t go into too much of a spending spree like Jerry Jones, as you might sell yourself short in other areas.
That’s where your stadium comes in. As a team owner, you’ll have a stadium to manage to avoid losing your staff to poor conditions or avoid fans abandoning their season ticket options. You’ll manage a number of things in the stadium, from the locker rooms all the way to the new parts (you don’t need a lighting snafu, like what happened during the Super Bowl). You’ll also need to keep an eye on concession prices, making sure they’re competitive, but not to the point that people are questioning a $13 price tag for a hot dog.
As a team owner, you have the option to not only choose your stadium design but also relocate if you feel like your home city is playing too much “hardball” with you. Up to seventeen markets are available in the game, including Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Toronto and international options like Mexico City and London. The only negative with this is that the owner will be responsible for both relocation fees and sales of the old property, while preparing for a new one. (You can also choose a different team name if you think fan demand is high enough.)
Fans make a huge impact in Owner’s Mode, because if they’re not happy, you’re pretty much out of luck. You’ll have to keep track of the newly implemented fan happiness system, which tracks how well or poorly your team is coming across to them. A number of items are utilized across the board, including merchandise, concessions and team performance. Along with micromanaging budgets and making sure things don’t get too depressing, you can also speak to the press to build hype, including welcoming a new quarterback to a team with kind words, reaffirming a “we’ll be back” attitude if you come off a loss in the playoffs, or just boast about a new stadium experience that no die-hard fan of your franchise will want to miss.
If all else fails or you just become one of the most hated owners in the National Football League (it happens – some people couldn’t stand the late Al Davis), you’ll run into a negative cash flow. If you end up bleeding out too much cash, you’ll wind up in a situation where you’ll need to sell the team and that won’t boast too much confidence for your Legacy score. At least you have the option to try again and maybe learn from your mistakes the second time around…
In addition to Owner’s Mode, several other key features will be included in Madden NFL 13, including the ability to take the Fantasy Draft offline (though you can still go online with it if you feel like showing off your picks), full 32-team control across one single game console (if you want to balance more than one simulation at a time) and the ability to draft Classes from your NCAA Football games if you manage to build up a prosperous player and want to see his career shine on.
We’ll have a more in-depth look at the gameplay features and other online functions of Madden NFL 25 before the game’s release. For now, Owner’s Mode definitely sounds intriguing – though it would be nice to have an option where we decide TV size. Seriously, we need a HUGE screen…
Madden NFL 25 hits stores on August 27th for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.