Monday, Madden's publicity operation notified writers that its "playbooks"—the weeks in which they discuss features of the upcoming game—begin this week. In it, "Connected Careers," the mode introduced last year, was rebranded as "Connected Franchise." A GameStop listing sheds a little more light on what that could mean.
It means, I think, that in addition to playing a season as an existing or created player or coach , you can do so as a franchise owner. That's because Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., former owner of the San Francisco 49ers (pictured above in 1985), is available in a "Franchise Pack" offered as a preorder bonus through GameStop. DeBartolo is included with Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, who would form the coach and player ends of a "Connected Franchise."
Owner mode went missing with last year's introduction of Connected Careers, which unified the game's franchise, superstar and online leagues. The old owner mode was more or less like franchise, except it allowed you to do things like set beer prices, hire football staff and move the team if you wanted (though doing so forced you to rebrand the team and all of the logo options sucked.) DeBartolo's inclusion likely means that's making some kind of a reappearance.
This is interesting on another level because, as PastaPadre noted a week ago, Walmart is offering a "Raiders Franchise Pack," though its contents were unknown. I'm betting it means you get Madden himself as the coach, Tim Brown as a player, and Al Davis, which would be awesome. I'd move the Raida Organization five times with him even if the logo options still suck. Yes, I know that Marcus Allen would be a more logical choice as a performer, but putting him in a bonus alongside Al Davis would be aaaaaa-mazing given the bad blood between those two.
For those wondering, EA plans to start talking about "Connected Franchise" on May 6, so I guess we'll find out then. Tonight, right after the Madden NFL 25 cover star is named (ESPN2 at 8 p.m.), they'll begin as they usually do, with some granular gameplay stuff, probably along the lines of what NCAA Football 14 discussed a couple weeks ago, as the two titles share a core gameplay development team.