As illustrated above, the career mode in Madden has moved away from immersion being the focus to making storytelling the star of the show. This shift to storytelling began with the Longshot Career Mode in Madden18. Most people were too busy being distracted by the shiny new idea; it was new to Madden but FIFA and NBA2K had already produced their own versions in years past. This in turn made people fail to notice one glaring hole in the new way the career mode was presented. The story was incomplete. Incomplete in Madden18, Madden19 and Madden 20.
For those unfamiliar, there are three ‘endings’ In Madden 18. The first conclusion sees Devin Wade get drafted while Colt Cruise remains undrafted. The second sees Devin Wade go undrafted, Colt Cruise gets drafted and Wade signs as a free agent. Finally, the third ending sees Devin Wade go undrafted, Colt Cruise gets drafted and Wade signs with his favourite team. All three endings make the same mistake: getting drafted is not the end of the NFL story, it’s the 40% marker at best. As for Madden 19 & 20, there is a point where the storytelling stops and the player is left to play game after game of the career until the end without the movie-like cut scenes at the beginning. This sudden change feels jarring and makes the experience seem rushed and incomplete. On a personal level, this led to me quitting the career mode as the main motivation – ‘The Story’ – that was driving all the football was suddenly gone. Madden21 thankfully fixes this by actually committing to a vision and following through to the bitter end.