You’re Gonna Get It Anyway: Madden NFL 13

Sports games and I have a rough history, and none of my relationships are more tumultuous than the one with Madden NFL Franchise. From a very young age I loved to play baseball and football video games. It was my way to be in the pros or even manage entire teams in the pros. As games progressed and became more in-depth, my knowledge of the business of sports grew. It wasn’t until I graduated college before I entered a period of disinterest in sports games, and ever since then I haven’t found “the one” to win me back. When Madden NFL 13 was put on display at E3 2012 I had a small glimmer of hope.

Madden NFL 13 | Megatron | Horrible Night

A dramatization of me running away from mean Madden NFL.

Is it me or was Madden just lazy?

To put it bluntly, I have always thought annual releases of sports games are a rip off. Since DLC came into play I thought roster updates would be perfect for any sports video game. This would allow for developers to perfect new features and make each iteration of games better. Madden is the most notorious for annual releases. Since 1992, we’ve seen a new Madden game every year like clockwork. In 2004, EA signed an exclusive license with the NFL and NFLPA to use teams, stadiums, players, and coaches in the game. This forced the market into the Madden franchise’s hand, and we’ve not seen a significant football video game competitor since.

The lack of competition has made the franchise lazy, and with each successive iteration since 2007 the game has felt very incremental versus innovative. I have just ignored each new Madden game released from year to year. I saw nothing that wowed me from an immersive experience perspective. There was more glitz and glam, but the gameplay modes that I love weren’t taking steps forward. My favorite Madden game is Madden NFL 06. This game featured the best franchise and career modes due to the complete control it allowed. In 2007, I was sorely disappointed and wrote off  the franchise.

Getting Immersed in Football

Career Mode | Madden NFL 13 | Horrible Night

I almost enjoy these modes more than playing the actual football games.

E3 2012 demonstrations of Madden NFL 13 really got my attention. The career modes became more about role playing versus just being handed the keys to the team. The skill progression and career looks more flexible than ever before. You earn experience for your work done in career mode, and you choose where you will improve. You get complete control of your life as a professional football player.

When I dug in further and saw I could have a coach’s career path, I suddenly got giddy. I love franchise modes, and I love to put myself in a coach’s shoes. Since I had distanced myself from Madden for the last few years, this was exciting news to me. The way the franchise mode  isintermingled with a coach’s career is really interesting, and it makes it important for you to do a good job as a coach or get fired. I like that. Make consequences if I do not meet owner expectations. There are new ways to play that I haven’t experienced in Madden, and that is what I’ve been waiting for.

Broadcasters | Madden NFL 13 | Horrible Night

Okay, EA. I’ve bought in. Now be good hosts and don’t let me down.

Hook route, offensive line, and sinker?

Career mode can be taken into an online league with friends, and to see my friends’ players’ progress will be extremely fascinating to me. Once my friends began asking me if I was going to play the thought of returning to Madden NFL 13 became more and more a reality. I want to see great new things in the franchise, and EA has promised that.

It may be difficult to get over past expectations and disappointments in the franchise once I play Madden NFL 13. There is a lot of resentment and personal opinions on how any annual release sports franchise is run, but the new features and promise to experience the game with friends gives me hope that I may find the love for sports games once again. I just hope that this time the relationship lasts longer than just the honeymoon.

You’re Gonna Get It Anyway – Everyone knew we were going to cave and make the purchase in the end, so here’s a look back at our transparent reasoning for putting up a fight in the first place.


Giant Bomb (images)