At long last, a new college football video game is on the horizon after an 11-year hiatus that saw the sport undergo seismic changes during that span. Those changes will be reflected and incorporated in the highly anticipated dynasty mode that will be an anchor for the "College Football 25" title set to be released later this month.

Dynasty mode was a pillar of the game's hold on college football fans during the 2000s and 2010s, and EA Sports poured ample resources into providing players a robust experience that reflects the challenges and opportunities real-life coaches face in the 2020s.

From the transfer portal and "brand exposure," which serves as a stand-in for NIL, the details are deep and vast for dynasty mode players with the desire to build a program. Some of the elements will feel familiar to gamers who enjoyed dynasty mode in the 2010s, but there's also plenty about the dynasty experience that has been overhauled during the the multi-year development process for the new title.

Here, we set out to cover the highlights of what fans can expect from dynasty mode when they fire up their consoles to play "College Football 25" in just a few weeks.

New coaching system 

EA Sports met with actual college football coaches in its effort to create coaching archetypes for dynasty mode that reflect the types of coaches who roam the sidelines in real life. It settled on three broad categories: recruiters, motivators and tacticians. Your coach in dynasty mode won't be great in all three aspects, thus it will be imperative to build your staff strategically so that your assistants can bolster the program in areas where your coach may not thrive.

  • You will earn XP for reaching various goals within a game, season or career that will be applied to your coach's progression.
  • Are you a recruiter who wants to be the absolute best in the game at landing elite talent? Then you're free to try and max out in that realm. Perhaps you're a motivator but also want to have a refined scheme? You can choose to apply your XP toward progression in the tactician realm to become more well-rounded. Game developers stressed that "there is no single formula" to the top of the college football coaching world.

One example for a coach wishing to progress as a schematic whiz is the upgrades that are available for an offensive mind with regard to an up-tempo scheme. Tier 1, known as "battery pack," reduces the amount of fatigue incurred by your players in a hurry-up scheme. Tier 2, dubbed "caught napping," ups the delay time for defenders looking to the sideline for guidance before you snap. More tiers follow until your coach has mastered the up-tempo skillset. That's just one example. There are several different offensive and defensive systems which coaches can master while building the repertoire of their coach and progressing through dynasty mode. 

As in the previous versions of the game, you can begin your coaching career as a defensive coordinator, offensive coordinator or head coach. But even if you choose to begin as a coordinator, you'll still have full control of recruiting and be able to control both sides of the ball during games. -- David Cobb

High school recruiting for a modern era 

College football is a talent acquisition business, so nailing the feel of high school recruiting appeared to be a major focus for EA Sports. After all, how coaches approach the entire process has changed significantly since the last the NCAA video game was released. 

For starters, the recruiting process will be split into three stages: Discovery, Pitch and Close. Each phase is rather self-explanatory, but here's a quick breakdown: 

  • Discovery: This is when you scout a recruit, getting a sense for his athletic traits and the best way to approach his recruitment. 
  • Pitch: This is the time to really sell your program and give recruits a reason to play for you. 
  • Close: If you generate enough interest with a recruit, you can host them for an official visit and try to seal the deal. 

Each recruit progresses through the stages differently based on how hard a team is recruiting them and how their interests align with different schools. Every prospect will have three main motivations for picking a school, out of a pool of 14 total motivations. 

The school that a player picks to control in Dynasty will have a grade corresponding to each of those 14 motivations, such as Program Tradition, Coach Prestige and Proximity to Home. If your school doesn't grade well in something that a recruit prioritizes, they're probably not going to be interested in you. Each grade is dynamic and can change throughout the course of the season based on various performance metrics. 

Sweet NIL deals are a huge motivating factor in the modern recruiting sphere. To simulate NIL, EA Sports has introduced a Brand Exposure system -- graded on a scale from D- to A+ -- that gives a prospect a sense as to what NIL opportunities may arise if they pick that school. 

When it comes to actually pitching a prospect, users can perform actions like scrolling through a recruit's social media and interacting with their posts, or reaching out to their family to try and sway them to your side. Each prospect pitch comes with its own set of risks and rewards. Coaches will have a set amount of recruiting hours that can be spent on prospects during the in-game weeks. 

Unlike in previous college football games, players can decommit from your program if you start to lack in an area that they prioritize or another program takes a big swing at them. That means you'll probably have to sweat out that treasured five-star quarterback until they actually put pen to paper during the early singing period or on National Signing Day. -- Will Backus

Say hello to the transfer portal 

The advent of the transfer portal and recent legislation that has effectively neutered the NCAA's ability to regulate it has completely changed how coaches approach roster building. So, of course the portal is heavily implemented in "College Football 25."

Yes, you will have to worry about holding onto your players, no matter how prolific they are or what stage of their career they're in. As a coach, you'll have to make certain promises to players -- another aspect of high school recruiting. If those promises are broken, it increases the chance they'll transfer. 

Higher overall players are also more likely to transfer, though that doesn't matter as long as you're fulfilling their desires. Players will decide entering the offseason whether or not they want to transfer. 

Then, a four-week period of recruiting will commence, leading up to National Signing Day. Transfers will be given a star rating, from two to five stars, upon entering the portal. The highest-ranked transfers will only consider a handful of schools, while lower-ranked transfer targets are more pliable.

There also may come a time that you have to encourage players to transfer to stay under the game's 85-player roster cap. That could mean tough decisions when it comes to prioritizing depth or letting go of prospects that may not have panned out like you expected. -- Backus

Coaching Carousel 

 The coaching carousel, which was a prominent feature in dynasty modes of the past, has returned and been revamped.

  • The carousel now begins during conference championship week
  • You may begin receiving job offers during the first week of bowl games
  • Candidacy for openings will be based on several criteria, including: coach's level, scheme, archetype (such as recruiter, tactician, motivator), recruiting pipeline and prestige
  • Ultimately, a "school fit" score will be determined to produce the list of candidates for the job

As a head coach, you'll also be charged with managing your coordinators. You can fire your coordinators during conference championship week. If you choose to do so, you'll then be presented with a list of coordinator candidates starting the first week of bowl action. -- Cobb

Realignment is real 

Conference realignment is taking college football by storm in the 2024 season, and all the changes will be reflected in dynasty mode. But if you'd like to rule the national landscape with an iron fist, EA allows dynasty mode players to put on their czar cap and tweak conferences how they see fit. Leagues can be modified to include anywhere between 4-20 teams through the "custom conferences" feature. From there, conference rules are customizable each offseason during a dynasty. Among the changes you can make:

  • Toggle divisions on/off
  • Tweak the number of league games
  • If there is a conference title game -- Cobb

Quick hitters 

There are a ton of new features or returning systems that didn't merit their own sections but still deserve a mention. 

  • Player development is dynamic. So, younger players will develop quicker than those that have been around a while and certain players will have traits that impact their development. 
  • The 12-team College Football Playoff, with the 5+7 format, is featured. Initial rankings will be released once the calendar hits November. 
  • The four-game redshirt rule applies. You can choose which players to redshirt before the year, though you may face a decision where you'll have to burn that redshirt. Applicable players will automatically be redshirted at the end of each season. 
  • College Football 25 will implement records at the individual, team, conference and national levels. 
  • Coaches will be tasked with managing week-to-week wear and tear on their players, leaving you with difficult personnel decisions to make. Got a lousy opponent coming up? You might be smart to rest a star running back that incurred some ankle damage during a big rivalry victory the week before.