Madden fans find franchise saves destroyed after EA said they could play 'without issue'

An image of Madden NFL 23, showing one player collapsed on the ground while another stands over him.
(Image credit: EA)

A particularly nasty glitch with Madden NFL 23's Connected Franchise Mode (CFM) seems to have irretrievably destroyed a bunch of players' CFM save files. After investigating connection issues with the mode last week, EA tweeted that it had fixed the problem and that users would be able "to play CFM without issue". But players who tried to log in during the 22-hour period between the 'fix' and 12:45 am EST (9:45 am PST/5:45 pm GMT) had their save data blitzed by bugs that still lurked in the system. Players who didn't log in during that time should be fine, though.

EA says (via Ars Technica) it's working on restoring players' corrupted saves from backups, but says its "team is currently projecting around 40% of leagues to be recovered," leaving over half of those affected (I know, my maths skills are impressive) to restart the long climb to franchise glory. Multiple Reddit users are telling tales of franchises with upwards of 30 players going down the drain because of the glitch.

"The 3 online franchises I play in are lost," said user gregtime92, "All active leagues with 32 teams filled with users. This is beyond ridiculous." Another, notaclevernam3, says "We are in our 7th madden and have real life friendships because of our league [...] and it just hurts. We’re still kind of in shock and figuring out how to move forward." Similar stories are repeated numerous times across the Madden subreddit, and that's just one slice of the overall community.

If your saves have been corrupted, EA "[encourages] you to start a new franchise" now that the "mode is up and running," and logging into it no longer runs the risk of annihilating your franchise save file. That's going to be cold comfort to fans who've lost in-game years of work, I imagine, and considering the player response to Madden NFL 23 has already been mixed at best—only 47% of its over 2000 Steam reviews have been positive at time of writing—it's likely this will be the final nail in the coffin for many fans' dedication to the game. The fact that EA literally told fans it was safe to log in when it wasn't will only heighten irritation, too.

Madden's Connected Franchise Mode has been a series staple since it began in 2013's bafflingly-named Madden NFL 25, letting players control an NFL player, coach, or manager in online leagues. Most importantly, it allowed you to flaunt your success in the faces of your friends playing the same mode as you rose through the ranks and entered the NFL hall of fame. That so many of the game's careers and rivalries have now been irrevocably lost is wince-inducingly painful.

I've reached out to EA to ask why so few saves are projected to be recoverable, and will update if I hear back.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.