Since it was introduced in Madden NFL 09, the game's Online Franchise has gone unchanged from its original incarnation, a round-robin campaign among up to 32 players. That will persist another year as Madden has confirmed that none of the upgrades to its offline Franchise mode will carry into the online version.
EA Sports previewed the offline franchise features in May and had been silent on the online question to now, so the confirmation yesterday was disappointing but not a surprise. Justin Dewiel, the game's community manager, said that upgrades to the game's presentation, "Superstar" singleplayer career, and other changes left no time or room for "a deep, fully connected Online Franchise experience that you deserve this year."
He said EA Sports had stayed mum on Online Franchise to now as "we were still hard at work in the development process," when the offline features were revealed, "and did not want to to make this announcement until we knew for sure what we'd be able to get into the game this year."
The neglect of Online Franchise is curious considering a couple of things: First, the priority EA Sports has placed on creating connected, persistent online experiences in all of its properties, notably FIFA's Football Club, which launches with FIFA 12. Second, Madden's NCAA Football sibling is in the second year of delivering an Online Dynasty mode that mimics the offline campaign, to the point that playing a solo, one-player Online Dynasty is useful simply for the web-enabled management tools it offers.
Dewiel checked in with the Operation Sports forums to plead for patience, noting that Roy Harvey, NCAA's executive producer, has now taken that role with Madden following longtime producer Phil Frazier's resignation in June. "Just take a look at the work that has been done with Online Dynasty under [Harvey's]watch over the years and you'll start to get a sense of the dedication that the new leadership team has," Dewiel said.
"Delivering a feature-rich Online Franchise mode is a top priority for the Madden leadership as we move forward," he vowed.
One final reveal is coming July 25 that Dewiel promised "is going to change the way you guys look at playing Madden online forever." This covers the Online Communities that Madden NFL 12 will introduce. No details have yet been released on what will be the purpose in or the activities of the Online Communities, so it's not yet clear if this involves more social networking or actual online play.
The game releases Aug. 30.
Madden NFL 12 Blog - No Additions This Year For Online Franchise Mode [Operation Sports]