GM Mode, a staple of EA's NHL
series for the past few years now, has undergone an expansion this year to become "Franchise Mode" in this year's instalment NHL 17
, which you can see in this trailer for the mode.
As well as the trailer, EA also provided some more detailed information about the transformed mode, which begins at picking the team.
Each team has an owner, from the Anaheim Ducks to the Vancouver Canucks, and that owner has their own personality and goals with which the player will have to contend. While every owner is unique, their personality will be categorised in three ways:
- Importance of success, which determines whether the owners are more focused on the team's success on the ice or in the bank, with a high ranking focused on performance instead of profit
- Spending, the rating of which will affect the size of a player's budget
- Patience, which affects how long the owner is willing to wait for potential success. A low rating will require more instantaneous success, whereas a high rating will allow for more long-term plans
Once your choice of team has been made, it's straight onto meeting the aforementioned owner, who sets goals to achieve. These goals will set into three different tiers - Primary, Secondary and Stretch. As you would expect from the name, primary goals are the most important to meet as judgement of the player's performance will be heavily weighted by their success or failure. These goals can be subject to change throughout the game, as the status of the player's team changes in relation to the rest of the league. Win the Stanley Cup regularly and owners will expect nothing less, struggle and expectations will line-up with that lower standard.
Keeping your owner happy will be important, as you can now be fired part way through your contract if he is not happy. While patient owners will obviously provide more leeway, low happiness will lead to the sack eventually. In addition, an owner's happiness or lack thereof upon the time of the player leaving a club (whether by firing or contract expiry) will affect both the amount and the level of clubs that will be willing to provide the player with a new job.
Moving away from the owner and onto the arena, there are four main parts at which the player must look and make their mark in most cases. First is setting prices. The player will have the ability to choose the prices in five areas -- Season Tickets, Game Tickets, Concessions, Merchandise and Parking -- with the majority of the revenue coming from the money earned here. Set a low price and they may be losing out on a lot of money, but too high and fans will let you know about it by staying away. Next is the ability to maintain and upgrade the arena. Upgrading will provide access to more revenue streams -- Concessions, Team Store, Parking Lot and Club Seats are all upgradable. However, they'll also need to be maintained to remain useful. The third is the ability to customise the arena. We've seen it before as part of the EA Sports Hockey League
but here's a reminder in case you missed it. You'll be able to alter all manner of things about your stadium, from the small stuff like to scoreboard to major changes like the architectural design of the arena. Finally for the arena section, the player can see how their stadium ranks up against those of other teams. Do you want to see how much revenue you're generating compared to your rivals? Whether it's the overall amount or broken down into the separate sections like merchandise sales, this section is where you'll find that out.
Now we move from the arena to the fans that will inhabit it with the "Dynamic Attendance" feature. Dependent on all manner of factors including the time of year, the pricing of tickets and the quality of opposition, fans may or may not turn up to watch the team. Much like real-life, going on a winning streak or facing a high-profile team or rival will bring in more fans, but playing a lower-quality team or having ticket prices too high will drive all but the hardcore away.
Sure, it's full now when facing the rival team, but will it if you're on a three game losing streak?
The next feature is the ability to relocate the team. Speaking as a European football fan, this idea is equal parts confusing and fascinating to me. To put it simply, however, if you fancy moving and the ownership approves, you can move your team to one of 19 different cities, each of which has a list of reasons to move there (or not) and a different way to negotiate with the player. If and when you've made the deal that works for you, you'll then move and have full creative control over the new uniforms and arena.
No matter where you are, you'll have a budget within which to work based on both how the team is doing and the attributes of the owner that we've mentioned previously. This budget will be split into four areas of which the player must keep control. There will also be a "Contingency Fund" that can be used on non-player salary budgets; however, the more profit-based owners will require this to remain large to stay happy.
As the saying goes, "you have to spend money to make money". After receiving the budget, one way that the player can use it is in the form of special promotions. These promotions will bring in more fans and more money. If timed well, they can bring a big boost in both fans and revenue.
The final feature of "Frachise Mode" was the season ticket drive. Whether doing well or set to be fired, in early March you'll have to set the price of season tickets for the upcoming season. Much like everything else, finding the right price is key. Too cheap and you'll be losing out in terms of revenue. Too expensive and your revenue may be entirely down to pay-at-the-gate fans who may not attend every game.
There you go; you have plenty of details about "Franchise Mode" in the upcoming NHL 17
. You'll be able to try it out for yourself when the game launches on Xbox One on September 13th.