The game Assassin’s Creed fans have been asking for years is finally on its way. During its Ubisoft Forward event on Saturday, the publisher revealed Codename Red, a new entry in the series that will be set in feudal Japan. Franchise head Marc-Alexis Côté called Red the “next premium title” in Ubisoft’s open world series and said Ubisoft Quebec was leading work on the project, suggesting it will hew closer to Odyssey than next year’s Mirage.
Côté also shared a teaser for Codename Hexe and called it “a very different type of Assassin’s Creed game.” Ubisoft Montreal, the studio that first created the series is leading development on the project, with Clint Hocking involved as creative director. Hocking may not be a household name, but he’s probably among the most influential designers at Ubisoft, with credits that include Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Far Cry 2. According to a recent report from Bloomberg’s Jason Scheier, the game is set during the latter stages of the Holy Roman Empire.
Neither game has a release date yet, but Ubisoft said they would both integrate with Infinity, a service Côté called “not a game per se, but a single entry point into the series.” Ubisoft was cryptic about what Infinity would involve but Côté said the company was exploring the possibility of creating standalone multiplayer experiences within the hub.
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Madden finally gave fans got what they wanted, and the #FixMaddenFranchise campaign got EA’s attention for the better. Madden 22 set Ultimate Team and Face of the Franchise aside to bring the latest Franchise mode up to par. While fans await the scouting overhaul promised since day one, most are happy with how Franchise mode turned out this year. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to building a dominant franchise in Madden 22, one that could rival the ’70s Steelers, the ’90s Cowboys, and the ’00s Patriots.
Player, coach, or owner
Who are you? Are you an up-and-coming star in the NFL, a creative head coach, or a life-long fan turned franchise owner? While you have three paths to go down, the differences between owner and coach are negligible. We recommend choosing the owner path for a more immersive experience. If you’re looking to focus solely on football, the player path trims the fat off Madden 22 Franchise mode.
For the best experience in Madden 22 Franchise mode, choose the Owner path. Why? There’s nothing you can’t do as the owner of an NFL franchise. You can play every game, hire and fire coaches, manage player personnel, and even relocate your team. Thankfully, the nuances of being an owner won’t bog you down if you don’t want them to, but we’ll touch on that in the next section.
Quality of life
Whether you’re a rookie in the Madden 22 locker room or a returning veteran, there are quality-of-life adjustments you can make before beginning your Madden 22 career. Here are some ideal settings to change under the League Settings tab to make life as an NFL player, coach, or owner much easier.
To find League Settings:
Tab over to Options from the main team page.
Selected Franchise Settings.
Select League Settings.
You can set these changes before you begin your new franchise and can change them at any time via the League Settings tab. Here are a few settings you’ll want to change.
There is no bonus for playing on Rookie or All-Madden difficulties. Choose a difficulty that meets your skill level and increase it when you feel the games are getting boring. That being said, All-Madden should be your goal, especially if you plan to play online. If you can beat the CPU on All-Madden (which isn’t easy), you’ll fare well against other players, which defaults the CPU to All-Pro difficulty. Think of it like swinging a weighted baseball bat.
Turn this off. Yes, real-life NFL players get hurt at practice all the time. If you’re committed to hyper-realism in your Madden 22 franchise, that’s fine. However, if you’re looking to bend the rules of realism for the sake of a video game, go ahead and practice as hard as you want without worrying about one of your stars tearing their ACL. Just don’t practice too hard, leaving your team fatigued on Sunday.
This one is a bit of a toss-up. The game defaults to six-minute quarters, which can feel like a slog at times. However, the longer the quarters, the more opportunities you have to meet your weekly goals. For example, you may have a weekly passing goal of 250+ yards, which is unattainable with shorter quarters, especially on All-Pro/Madden difficulties. However, you can always choose different goals, like throwing two touchdown passes, to fit within your time restrictions. We set our quarters to 4 minutes each to accurately simulate online Ultimate Team games. Because we like to bounce back and forth between the two modes, it’s helpful to keep things consistent. We’ll touch on maintaining consistency between MUT and Franchise later on.
Turn this off. You can always opt for the chew-clock tempo option in-game. Accelerated Clock will shoot you in the foot more times than not, especially when you’re trying to make reads and adjustments.
User team help settings
Toward the bottom of your league settings, you’ll find a handful of options that you can set to auto or manual. Let’s talk about what you’ll want to control vs. what the CPU can handle. Changing the following settings to auto will make your life easier:
Preseason Cut Days
For Contract Negotiations, turn this off when one of your star players wants to negotiate. You don’t want the CPU to let DaVante Adams go because he wants more money. Pay the man.
League Advancement will automatically skip to the next week after you play your game, so make sure you’ve gone through your order of operations before playing that week. Other than the settings above, leave everything else on manual. You’ll scout college players, bid on free agents, and manage your practice reps.
The best way to play Franchise mode in Madden 22 is to run a fantasy draft at the very beginning. Fantasy drafts empty every team’s roster and completely re-draft the entire league, allowing you to build the team of your dreams if you make your picks wisely. To do a fantasy draft:
From the Franchise screen, select Create New League.
Under online or offline, select Use Active Roster.
Select your team. Since we’re doing a fantasy draft, the only things that remain the same are head coaches and stadiums.
Select your role, either player, coach, or owner.
Change your starting point to fantasy draft, and then start your season.
If you choose the player role, your fantasy draft will be simulated. You’ll also end up on a random team instead of the team you chose. For example, we selected the Dallas Cowboys but ended up on the Denver Broncos. If you want to draft your team, you’ll have to choose the coach or owner. So, as the coach or owner, how should you draft your new fantasy team?
How to draft the best team in Madden 22
If you’ve ever played fantasy football, you’ll have a general idea of this process. Draft order, from what we can tell, is random. After running it four times, we got the 2nd pick twice as the Cowboys and Buccaneers, the 8th pick as the Patriots, and the 31st pick as the Raiders. This tells us the draft order is not predetermined based on the 2020 NFL season, in which case the Buccaneers would have the last pick every time since they were Superbowl champions.
So you’re left with a few options. You can keep starting new franchises until you get a good pick. (We started again as the Raiders and landed the second pick.) Or you can chalk it up to fate and role with whatever choice you get. Remember, the draft snakes. That means if you get the last pick in the first round, you’ll have the first pick in the second round.
Who should you draft first?
If playing an offline solo franchise, the first tip for drafting is to keep the draft paused. Pausing the draft freezes the clock and allows you to think about a pick for as long as you’d like.
When picking players, make sure to grab an elite offensive player first. We’re talking Travis Kelce, DaVante Adams, Patrick Mahomes, or Lamar Jackson. It really depends on who’s available. Pick a quarterback in round 2, or else you’re going to be stuck with Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, and a long list of back-ups like Gardner Minshew and Marcus Mariota. While there’s nothing wrong with Ryan or Roethlisberger, their lack of meaningful mobility makes them inferior in the modern age of the NFL. Unless you can grab Tom Brady (and plan on building a pass-heavy team), select a mobile QB. We did win an All-Madden Super Bowl with Matt Ryan at the helm, but we had Josh Jacobs running the ball most of the season. If you’re building a running football team, your QB might not be that big of a deal-breaker.
Pay attention to your core needs on the left side of the screen and fill that out based on the top OVR available player. However, don’t take the same position twice, not while you’re making all the picks. Let the CPU auto-draft your backups once you’ve built your starting lineup.
Draft a strong O-Line
We can’t stress the importance of drafting a solid offensive line. Once you’ve grabbed your QB, WR1, HB, and TE (if you can get Kelce or another top TE), build your offensive line, beginning with your LT or RT, then work your way in with your RG, LG, and C. Decent WRs are plentiful in the NFL; even the 70+ OVRs will get the job done. But a bad offensive line is the bane of every losing team. In the image above, you’ll see we’ve drafted a strong offensive line and still have top-tier WRs available in the 20th round.
Defensively, grab the top SS and FS and then fill out your linebacking core and defensive line. Decent CBs will always be available, but a destructive front seven is how you win games. Just ask the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Let the CPU draft your backups
Once you’ve filled out your starting line-up, grab a good kicker (Justin Tucker should still be available), then let the CPU auto-draft your backups. Using this strategy, we made it out with an 82 OVR team, with an 89 OVR offense and a 75 OVR defense. The skew is because we opted for a talented offensive line over a game-breaking defense. After simulating the entire season, our Tom Brady-led Green Bay Packers went 12-5 but sadly lost in the Super Bowl to a Patrick Mahomes-led Bengals. Coincidently, Mahomes found himself in the Super Bowl in both our Franchises.
When game day arrives, you’ll have to set your weekly game plan under the Weekly Strategy tab. On defense, set your strategy to counter what your opponent is good at. For example, Sam Darnold (above) is effective at throwing it deep, ranking #5 in deep pass attempts last year (in our fantasy league). Contrarily, Austin Ekeler fell in the middle to back end of the rankings when it came to inside/outside running. So, we will take Darnold’s deep ball away and force them to throw it underneath or run the football.
On offense, we’re looking to exploit a team’s weakness or counter their strengths. We’re also looking to play to our strengths, so offensive game planning can get a little tricky. The Eagles team we’re going up against loves to blitz, evident by their #1 ranking in blitz plays called last year. They also let up 15 TDs off the blitz, so we’ve got a decent shot at a big play if we can counter it. They’re weak at defending intermediate throws, so the Throw It Medium game plan may also work. While the CPU is telling us to pick Throw It Medium, we’re going to counter their blitz and rely on our WRs to get open in space.
Practice and player health
Practice your tail off during the preseason, especially if you’ve turned off practice injuries. Use these weeks to level up your players, boosting several of your 70-75 OVR players up a few notches. Once the season starts, don’t go hard at practice. Yes, we know Bill Belichick would disagree, but going too hard at practice will leave your players fatigued when it comes game time. Set your practice intensity to Half-Pads and split time between your starters and backups. In the image above, we will give Matt Ryan a break, focus on our FB, and split time between everyone else. A fatigued offensive line will leave you under pressure and running for your life all game.
You’ll receive boosts to your gameplan stats from practice that’ll take effect when choosing plays that align with your game plan.
Set realistic goals
Accomplishing your game-day goals is how you’ll earn staff points to level up your coaches and coordinators. However, we recommend setting realistic goals, especially when playing on harder difficulties and with shorter quarters.
For example, on All-Madden difficulty and 4-minute quarters, there’s no way we’re generating 450+ yards of total offense; there’s not enough time in the game. However, a blowout win is doable if we play the whole game or jump in at the right moments.
For coordinator goals, choose ones that are in your control. Most offensive goals are in your hands, like passing and rushing touchdowns. However, some defensive goals, like Pick It Off Twice and Recover Two Fumbles, are out of your control, especially if you’re simulating most of the game. We find that No Conversions on fourth down is the easiest one to attain for three staff points.
Scout every week
We’re currently waiting on the full-fledged scouting mechanics for Madden 22 Franchise mode. Thankfully, EA has released plenty of info on what to expect. For now, make sure you’re spending all your scouting points each week. Focus on your team’s needs, especially if you lack in a certain area. Then, scout the top prospects at that position. When it comes time to draft, the only important picks are your first and second round picks. Everyone after that is a mid-60 OVR and will need further development in the league.
Scouting allows you to find, as the game suggests, diamonds in the ruff. If you set scouting to auto via League Settings, the CPU will only scout the top prospects.
Play the moments
Playing the full game is going to stretch your Madden Franchise for weeks. Instead, selecting Play the Moments will simulate the more monotonous parts of the game and throw you into the action at game-changing moments. These include third-down conversions, 2-minute drills, opening offensive drives (start of game and second half), and RedZone drives (on offense and defense). If you perform well in these moments, you’ll never lose a game.
If you feel like the game is getting away from you, or you want to start running the clock out at the end of the third quarter, you can assume complete control at any time. We highly recommend taking complete control in crucial games like the playoffs and Super Bowl.
Owning a stadium
Happy fans spend more money. A team that performs well makes for happy fans, thus persuading them to spend more money. As your team performs well on the field, you can keep raising your ticket prices incrementally. Your fans will tell you when they get too high. Once you find the happy medium, don’t touch it. Pay attention to your capacity vs. tickets sold too. You always want to play for a sold-out crowd. As long as the team is winning games, you’ll be making money.
However, you’ll be losing money with every away game since you’re not selling concessions or tickets. Make sure you’re getting the most value out of team gear on the road. While it’s only a few million dollars, it’ll make the difference when it comes time to sign free agents at the end of the year.
Likewise, if you play with a mobile QB in Ultimate Team, you’ll want to select a team with a mobile QB in Franchise mode. We already covered why you should draft a mobile QB if you’re doing a fantasy draft.
It seems that Square Enix is really branching out its Final Fantasy series to more genres and styles of gameplay beyond its typical JRPG flavor. Last February, it announced Final Fantasy VII spinoffs that dip into action RPG and even MOBA styles of gameplay but this recent announcement might be the most un-Final Fantasy game it has ever made. With Strangers of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin, the game takes on a dark, gritty, and almost angsty turn, making it look and feel more like a Souls game and than an FF title.
“Souls-like”, taken from the Dark Souls game series, has pretty much become synonymous with dark themes, often bloody visuals, and, most importantly, punishingly difficult gameplay. In other words, pretty much the elements that contrast with what Final Fantasy fans might expect from any game in the franchise. That makes Final Fantasy Origin a rather risky jump for Square Enix and reception of the announcement and teasers are already splitting the Internet.
At least Square Enix teamed up with the right partners for this endeavor. Strangers of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin is developed in collaboration with Team NINJA, best known for the action-heavy Ninja Gaiden series and the Souls-like Nioh. The famed Tetsuya Nomura, who is the creative director for this new game, admits that finding the middle ground between these two spirits was a difficult one.
At least in terms of backstory, the game sounds very Final Fantasy. Strangers of Paradise centers around Jack, Ash, and Jed as they fight their way through the Chaos Shrine to defeat, well, the Chaos. It also makes a reference to the Warriors of Light, a predominant title across the otherwise unrelated Final Fantasy games.
Strangers of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin won’t be launching until 2022 on PS, Xbox, and PC platforms but PS5 owners can already download a trial version that will be available until June 24. Those testers can also participate in a survey that will probably judge whether this Final Fantasy game is Final Fantasy enough.
Rocket League is getting a mobile spinoff. Developer Psyonix announced a new installment of the franchise called Rocket League Sideswipe, which is a simplified version of the game built for mobile devices.
Rocket League Sideswipe is the first new game in the franchise since it debuted in 2015. Like its console counterparts, Sideswipe is a hybrid sports/driving game where players control rocket cars in a sci-fi soccer game.
The new stand-alone game is in development for both iOS and Android. Psyonix says it’s targeting a 2021 launch, though no specific window was given. It will launch as a free game.
The main difference between Rocket League and Sideswipe is that the mobile version only features one-versus-one or two-versus-two matches. Rounds are much faster-paced and only last two minutes. It features a zoomed-out camera that shows the whole arena at once, rather than just tracking one player’s car.
Sideswipe features touchscreen controls, online play, and customization features similar to the mainline game. The game will have an online ranking system for competitive online play.
Alpha testing for the game begins today, but only in Australia and New Zealand. Players in those regions can now try the limited-time test by downloading the game on Android through the Google Play store. Psyonix says it will have more information about betas in other regions in the next few months.
The mainline Rocket League game continues to grow as it recently came to new consoles and adopted a free-to-play model. Last year, the game hit a new milestone when it crossed 1 million concurrent players for the first time.