Grim news for Madden 23 fans: a recent server error has caused players to lose access to their online saves in the extremely popular Franchise Mode.
Between December 28 and December 29, players who logged into Franchise leagues found their data corrupted due to a storage issue on EA’s Madden 23 servers. Online Franchise Mode, Connected Franchise Mode, and Face of the Franchise saves were all corrupted during this time.
"We are sorry that this happened," EA wrote in an update. "We know how important your franchises are to you and we are actively working on a fix to restore some files via a backup as soon as possible. However, not all affected leagues can be restored. The team is currently projecting around 40% of leagues to be recovered. We will communicate an updated timeline next week around the potential restoration of save files from a backup."
EA says that is you logged in between 2.45pm EST, December 28 and 12.45 EST, December 29 they you should "start a new franchise".
Franchise is an extremely popular mode where you manage teams over multiple seasons in a long campaign. It captures the long-form NFL experience and offers a major draw to the Madden games beyond simply providing a decent game of football. Over the course of multiple seasons, players form meaningful connections with their teams. It’s one thing to be a Chicago Bears fan, but it’s another to lovingly curate your own version of the team over dozens of hours in the context of Madden 23's newfound realism.
In the trenches
As you might expect, fans have strongly reacted to losing their beloved saves.
"Between grad school and work, I don't have much time to play," Hank1581 wrote on Reddit. "I've spent months on this franchise. Madden corrupted the files. I am livid beyond words."
"There has been a lot of problems with Madden over the years but for over 60% of franchise leads – which is probably the majority of active ones – to be entirely corrupted is beyond the pale," Timequake-Droid wrote, while asking if EA would offer refunds.
Others have taken the loss in more creative directions. Redditor Lazytowwwwwn posted a tribute to Terry Torrence, a fictional player generated by the game that can sometimes boast absurdly good stats. “I wanted to take time to honor HIS sacrifice. You will never be forgotten.”
For all the conveniences of online multiplayer, it’s sad to see an error with EA’s server setup negatively affect the play experiences of so many football fans. Games like Madden are great because they allow players to chart their own personal courses through the world of the NFL, sticking with their chosen team through thick and thin while making those all-important draft picks every year.
The fact that EA only has viable backups available for a predicted 40% of the saves shows a serious error on their part. If players must entrust their saves to company-owned servers when playing online, the very least they can expect is for their data to be safe and secure. Though one cannot reasonably expect server infrastructure to be infallible, a 60% attrition rate on the affected saves, not to mention the much-bemoaned lack of crossplay, leaves much to be desired on EA’s part.
Sign up to receive daily breaking news, reviews, opinion, analysis, deals and more from the world of tech.
Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.
Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure.
Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.