Here we are on the cusp of another Madden cycle. The cover is set to be revealed in mere days and hopefully soon after details will start to roll out on what new features are coming this year. After Madden21 received unprecedented negative feedback for the lack of innovation and effort that went into the development, EA has committed to making some changes that have been desperately needed for the better part of a decade. The optimist in me is excited as Madden 22 has the potential to be the upgrade we deserve. However, the realist in me can’t get past EA’s history of disappointment and half-assery.
Let’s take a brief step back to define the angle I am coming from since there are a few different types of madden players. While some live by Franchise, others primarily play Ultimate team. For the most part I am strictly a Franchise guy so this will mainly focus directly on franchise mode and direct gameplay. Given that the focus on Madden21 was the utter embarrassment of franchise mode, EA has been publicly vocal on the #FixMaddenFranchise fallout. Now, more than ever, the franchise players may finally get a Madden upgrade. From EAs perspective it does make sense that Franchise mode would be neglected since the video game world now revolves around micro-transactions and Franchise generates zero micro-transaction dollars.
Let’s start with a gameplay addition to the game. Something I’ve been imagining for years now and I see it as the biggest innovation since the introduction of the Superstar X-Factor players. It’s more of a blast from the past if you were lucky enough to play NCAA college Football. Introduce dynamic Homefield Advantage already!!! NCAA nailed it with this feature. If we learned anything from the games played in empty stadiums this past season, it how much impact the fans actually have.
How it should work...
Every stadium has a frenzy meter. Not necessarily on screen. I think the crowd noise should be the audible clue as to how close you are to frenzy mode. As the game progresses, the outcome of every play will work towards either sending the crowd into a deafening frenzy, or keeping them in a mum silence. The bigger the play the, the bigger the impact on the frenzy meter.
Example: Let’s randomly say 15 frenzy points puts the crowd in frenzy mode.
-Home Team First down +1fp
-Home Team big play (25+ yard play) +3fp
-Home Team TD +5fp
Ends the drive with 9fp. As you get closer to frenzy mode the stadium gets louder as the momentum builds. Mainly when the home team defense is on the field
-Home team forces three and out +3fp.
Really close to frenzy mode now with 12fp stadium getting louder.
-Home team throws an interception returned for a TD!
Complete wipe out. Down to 0fp. Life just sucked out of the stadium. I can see the DB taunting the crowd with a shhhh gesture now.
So what is frenzy mode? What happens if you cross that threshold? Well it would affect the away team negatively both during pre-play as well as during the play. Additionally the home team would have some positive impacts.
-Like in NCAA College Football, your play art gets completely fuzzy and disoriented.
-Audibles and hot-route adjustments are limited or completely disabled.
Player specific impacts. The severity of the impacts are determined by the attributes and abilities of the players themselves.
-QB Accuracy is negatively impacted (For example, Tom Brady would be less affected than Drew Lock)
-O-line or WRs are more likely to commit a pre-play penalty like a false start or run the wrong route!
Similarly, defensive players will get boosts as they feed off the energy of the crowd and adrenaline kicks in.
-Increased pass rush moves
-Block shedding boosts
Now of course it should be carefully tuned so that it is noticeably felt, but not overwhelming to the point of just wanting to quit the game.
What can the away team do to combat this? Well what do they do on Sundays? Call a time out to help simmer the crowd bit.
Where is get’s even more interesting is you can build additional superstar and X-Factor abilities around it as well.
You can have abilities for Offensive players that will negate all crowd frenzy effects. Peyton Manning would definitely have this ability.
Then defensive abilities where certain players being on the field automatically boost the frenzy meter. Ray Lewis comes to mind. His mere presence on the field gets the crowd worked up.
Lastly, we can make playoff homefield advantage actually mean something and worth playing for. The home playoff team can start in or near frenzy mode.
Other factors can play into how easy or difficult it is to get into frenzy mode.
Winning or losing streaks
Divisional rivalry games
Fanbase (This is in madden but doesn’t really do anything to my knowledge)
If I could put what is in my head into the game I think it would be unbelievably successful. It would help to make every game feel unique and do help to keep the game from feeling repetitive. It would really differentiate the comfort of playing in front of your hometown fans and the grueling feat of playing on the road in hostile stadiums. Can you imagine being down three scores in the 4th quarter and getting that game changing play and really feel the momentum swing? And just like the X-Factor system if someone doesn’t like it, they would have the option to turn it off.
Well let’s put a pin in this here and call this Madden rant one of many.
What are you thoughts on the idea of dynamic homefield advantage? Do you have some other Madden rants to add? This is a safe space to get it out. Sign up or log in and let us know in the comments!