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Professional Programmer/Casual NFL Fan's Take on the Decline of EA and Madden 21

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Old 08-24-2020, 04:03 PM   #1
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Professional Programmer/Casual NFL Fan's Take on the Decline of EA and Madden 21

This is a long comment, but I was watching some videos on how crappy Madden 21 is this year and how they never seem to make improvements in the areas most needed, just $60 for an updated set of rosters, etc., etc. you know the drill.



I am a professional programmer (though not a game developer). So I want to distinguish between the individual developers, whom I give great props to, vs. the MANAGEMENT team, which appears stuck in neutral. I am also willing to concede that a lot of the customization we're looking for is probably limited by the license they signed with the No Fun League. I'm willing to give benefit of the doubt that the developers are passionate gamers and programmers who take pride in their work and really want to do their best, but are hamstrung by the NFL's own restrictions, and the ineptitude of the leadership team.



I'm also a football fan, but not an expert. I've never played or coached at any level, not even Pop Warner. So suffice to say I'm not an Xs and Os expert, and minor AI flaws will not be noticeable to me. In fact, most of the AI glitches pointed out in videos such as these, I don't even realize they're there until I watch the video. Also as a programmer I have some sympathy for the devs when it comes to things like AI. It's nearly impossible to program computer controlled players to simulate the real-life decisions of a human player, so the game play will ALWAYS have glitches, no matter how much time and effort and dev time they put into it. Further, I will also concede that "Madden 21 - Now with New and Improved Franchise Mode" isn't exactly a selling point. So they need a new shiny object to put in every year. Therefore I can forgive the occasional AI glitch, or "that safety is taking 5 steps back instead of 3 because the cloud coverage should dictate he picks up the slot receiver unless the X comes into his zone" type of stuff. (That's probably gibberish but you get the point).



However, what IS unforgivable is the same features having the same bugs year after year - UI issues, broken features, missing features. Just one example: When going through the community files, each category must load completely before you can move to the next category. So if you want to download draft classes and it's the 3rd tab over, it can take you a minute to get there because you have to let all the rosters load, then R1 over to the playbooks, let them all load, etc. This is individually a very minor thing but there are many such things that add up, point to poor UI design, and cumulatively make you wonder if they're even aware of these things. "But surely the devs that you defend so much could just pop in and fix those things!" Well, maybe. If they're aware of them. The thing with development is that as an individual developer, your 40 hours a week or whatever are set up in very specific tasks. With such a large dev team in such a complex game, I imagine there are strict assignments given out and strict rules as to who is allowed to touch what. So I might see some menu item that's not working right but if I fix it, then someone else's code that relies on that item will break. So it's not like anyone can just pop in and mess with the UI because that can affect the tasks of other devs. So easier said than done.



Although I've given in and bought every new Madden going back about 20 years, I think I will skip this year, at least until the price drop and possibly Franchise is upgraded mid-year. What is unforgivable, in my opinion, are errors and bugs that unlike AI are very avoidable. As the video states, glitchy modes (though I've never used Face of Franchise - 95% of what I do is franchise and until that improves I won't be buying it this year) with the bland storylines, missing features, features that were removed, and when the same stupid bugs and poor UI and game design show up year after year with barely an acknowledgement that they're present - that to me is a sign of poor leadership at the top. That's why I will not be buying the game this year.



So I actually want to give a shout out to the individual developers. I do NOT believe this is their fault! I actually feel bad for the developers themselves. Most programmers, monopoly or not, take great personal pride in what they do and consider it a personal mission to deliver the best product possible. But when you're limited by draconian licensing agreements, and an incompetent management team that doesn't have to worry about competition, I imagine it can become a draining experience. If I ever won a million dollar lottery, one of the first things I'd do is start my own gaming company, make a version that's non-licensed so the No Fun League can't get involved, but allow infinite customization of teams, logos, divisions, so that we can have a real "fan-made" NFL. When you think of it, NFL licensing is pretty over-rated. These days with Internet gaming, there's no restrictions on gamers and fans getting together and making their own version of the NFL including logos and uniforms. As long as the game itself doesn't come with these things, the NFL can't sue individual users for what they do on their own computers! And best of all, I'd hire all EA's developers away so they can work for a company that respects their talents and lets them write a game the way THEY know it needs to be done.
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Old 08-24-2020, 05:54 PM   #2
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Re: A Professional Programmer and Casual NFL Fan's Take on the Decline of EA and Madd

I appreciate you opinion, but “the yard” kills your first argument. The old lie that the NFL is handcuffing the dev team from adding customization is completely thrown out the window with the yard. If the NFL really cared that much then you wouldn’t be able to wear your jerseys tucked up under your shoulder pads like you can in “The yard”.

The truth is EA found a way to monetize customization features through “the yard” and that is why we are now getting them. The proof is in the pudding. If these additions weren’t meant to be just a monetization additions they would have been made available in franchise as well. Franchise players have been asking for equipment additions for years, and it all fell on deaf ears. Franchise players have been asking for customizable jerseys and faces for content creators for years and that to fell on deaf ears. But EA doesn’t want to give you these for free. They want teenagers to spend their money to look “lit” so that they can “dab” or “floss” in the end zone after they just scored a touchdown on a corkscrew backflip hurdle over and oncoming defender.

Sorry but Tiburon gets no pass from me. Regardless of how hard development is. That’s just my opinion though.
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Old 08-24-2020, 06:53 PM   #3
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Re: A Professional Programmer and Casual NFL Fan's Take on the Decline of EA and Madd

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Originally Posted by Therebelyell626
I appreciate you opinion, but “the yard” kills your first argument. The old lie that the NFL is handcuffing the dev team from adding customization is completely thrown out the window with the yard. If the NFL really cared that much then you wouldn’t be able to wear your jerseys tucked up under your shoulder pads like you can in “The yard”.

The truth is EA found a way to monetize customization features through “the yard” and that is why we are now getting them. The proof is in the pudding. If these additions weren’t meant to be just a monetization additions they would have been made available in franchise as well. Franchise players have been asking for equipment additions for years, and it all fell on deaf ears. Franchise players have been asking for customizable jerseys and faces for content creators for years and that to fell on deaf ears. But EA doesn’t want to give you these for free. They want teenagers to spend their money to look “lit” so that they can “dab” or “floss” in the end zone after they just scored a touchdown on a corkscrew backflip hurdle over and oncoming defender.

Sorry but Tiburon gets no pass from me. Regardless of how hard development is. That’s just my opinion though.
The yard is meant as an arcade experience. It doesn't really follow the what you see on Sunday experience. You won't see this stuff on an NFL field which is why all the fields are fictional places with custom rules. It's not really meant to represent the NFL in anyway other than the players themselves and some custom NFL jerseys.

#fixmaddenfranchise
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Old 08-24-2020, 08:11 PM   #4
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Re: A Professional Programmer and Casual NFL Fan's Take on the Decline of EA and Madd

I'm certainly not excusing the sloppiness that EA has shown over the years. There are certainly many grossly inexcusable things that are broken or missing. I look at the monetization this way: The base price of the game actually hasn't gone up by more than $10, it was $50 for at least 20 years as far back as I can remember, the only price increases I remember were when new console generations came out. If EA realizes there's a mode that will be a niche mode that only a few people will use, and it will add $10 to the cost of the game, I'm perfectly fine with having the users of those modes "fund" those modes with DLC. The alternative is now as someone who plays almost exclusively in franchise I don't have to pay more for features I don't use. From what I see of the Yard it looks like total garbage. Why would I pay extra for custom mouth guards. How often during game play do I get close enough to a player to even notice the mouth guard they're using? Or the towel? Or the arm sleeve, or what brand of shoe they're wearing. Totally meaningless to me. So I would balk at paying more money just to put those things in. Let the players who obsess over those things pay the price for them. If the money they make from the DLC is used strictly to fund those extra modes where they can hire more developers to work on those modes and still dedicate full time to the base modes to make sure they don't suffer, I'm fine with that. But my concern is that they're still taking some of the base price and using it for those other modes, as Franchise is clearly neglected for that year. I'm okay with in-game purchases as long as they're used to fund those modes and only those modes.


EDIT: Just to clarify, the UI example that I gave above. Just because I don't blame the individual developers doesn't excuse it. It absolutely should be fixed. It should be noticed by the producers and leads, put on the development schedule and assigned to someone. That's just sloppiness on the management and QA part.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Therebelyell626
I appreciate you opinion, but “the yard” kills your first argument. The old lie that the NFL is handcuffing the dev team from adding customization is completely thrown out the window with the yard. If the NFL really cared that much then you wouldn’t be able to wear your jerseys tucked up under your shoulder pads like you can in “The yard”.

The truth is EA found a way to monetize customization features through “the yard” and that is why we are now getting them. The proof is in the pudding. If these additions weren’t meant to be just a monetization additions they would have been made available in franchise as well. Franchise players have been asking for equipment additions for years, and it all fell on deaf ears. Franchise players have been asking for customizable jerseys and faces for content creators for years and that to fell on deaf ears. But EA doesn’t want to give you these for free. They want teenagers to spend their money to look “lit” so that they can “dab” or “floss” in the end zone after they just scored a touchdown on a corkscrew backflip hurdle over and oncoming defender.

Sorry but Tiburon gets no pass from me. Regardless of how hard development is. That’s just my opinion though.
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Last edited by servo75; 08-24-2020 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 08-25-2020, 08:01 AM   #5
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Re: A Professional Programmer and Casual NFL Fan's Take on the Decline of EA and Madd

Quote:
Originally Posted by oneamongthefence
The yard is meant as an arcade experience. It doesn't really follow the what you see on Sunday experience. You won't see this stuff on an NFL field which is why all the fields are fictional places with custom rules. It's not really meant to represent the NFL in anyway other than the players themselves and some custom NFL jerseys.

#fixmaddenfranchise
Yeah I think with 2K's announcement of a non-simulation game soon, we can clearly see that the NFL differentiate between what is "simulation" and what is not, and I suspect they are happy to relax the rules on the not-simulation a little bit.
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Old 08-25-2020, 09:54 AM   #6
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Re: A Professional Programmer and Casual NFL Fan's Take on the Decline of EA and Madd

First. You're right. We cannot blame the individual developers as much as you blame the company. I am sure that the head honchos at Subway want customers to have a good dining experience, but that does not translate to the low-skilled workers that you hire.

But with that said, I never bought the whole "the NFL won't allow it" excuse. I think the relocation is a perfect example of that. I just having an extremely difficult time believing that 8 years ago, someone from the NFL sat down and said yes and no to the various uniform options of the fictional London team and said yes to the Knights and Monarchs not no to the London Tigers or whatever.

But this has also been my argument: if the NFL really has such a tight reign over what can or cannot go in the game, then I put even more blame on 2k... this is a tremendous opportunity they are missing out on. They could be making a generic sim football game with a franchise mode that does not have to conform to the nfl.
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Old 08-25-2020, 01:09 PM   #7
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Re: A Professional Programmer and Casual NFL Fan's Take on the Decline of EA and Madd

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Originally Posted by kennylc321
First. You're right. We cannot blame the individual developers as much as you blame the company. I am sure that the head honchos at Subway want customers to have a good dining experience, but that does not translate to the low-skilled workers that you hire.

But with that said, I never bought the whole "the NFL won't allow it" excuse. I think the relocation is a perfect example of that. I just having an extremely difficult time believing that 8 years ago, someone from the NFL sat down and said yes and no to the various uniform options of the fictional London team and said yes to the Knights and Monarchs not no to the London Tigers or whatever.

But this has also been my argument: if the NFL really has such a tight reign over what can or cannot go in the game, then I put even more blame on 2k... this is a tremendous opportunity they are missing out on. They could be making a generic sim football game with a franchise mode that does not have to conform to the nfl.
They already did this. All pro football 2k8 was a great game but literally no one outside of hardcore sports gamers bought it. Granted it didn’t have any licenses only legend players. The only way I could see a game like that selling is if 2k did a deal with the NFLPA for player likeness, and stuck with generic teams almost like how PES or FIFA does when they don’t have a specific team or leagues license. Then again I think a license deal with the NFLPA would cost way more money than 2k is willing to spend. Plus outside of the license deal EA has with the NFL I am pretty sure the players association gets a nice little check from EA to and or a cut of profits from the league. Unless they didn’t get something like that collectively bargained
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Old 08-25-2020, 01:43 PM   #8
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Re: A Professional Programmer and Casual NFL Fan's Take on the Decline of EA and Madd

Quote:
Originally Posted by Therebelyell626
They already did this. All pro football 2k8 was a great game but literally no one outside of hardcore sports gamers bought it. Granted it didn’t have any licenses only legend players. The only way I could see a game like that selling is if 2k did a deal with the NFLPA for player likeness, and stuck with generic teams almost like how PES or FIFA does when they don’t have a specific team or leagues license.

Take-two/2k has partnered with the NFLPA.
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