EA is one of the biggest gaming companies in the world and is a household name when it comes to sports video games. Over the years, though, the company has consistently promised meaningful and exciting changes in its Fifa titles and has unfortunately disappointed most fans by providing stale gameplay with few changes. The lack of changes in titles has hurt the series, as more and more fans have decided to move onto other games like eFootball. Further, the upcoming UFL game could be a genre-defining title that will hurt Fifa and other EA titles even more.
For years now, fans have been hoping that EA would make significant changes to not only the gameplay but also the online and offline game modes. While FIFA 22 did implement certain changes, like adding old features such as the quick and visual sim option for games alongside Create-A-Club, most of the offline Fifa game modes do not have any meaningful changes. Fortunately, another sports game has shown how useful a new engine can be in shaking up a franchise.
FIFA’s Stagnant Gameplay
Following the introduction of Technical Defending, there have not been any major changes to the gameplay during matches. The core concept of the matches in Fifa remains the same, and with little to no improvement made to the way the AI plays the game, the offline game modes get extremely boring. This also boils down to the fact that the game has an extremely predictable AI that is easy to beat and only gains the upper hand through unrealistic buffs during a game.
Stagnation has plagued FIFA’s gameplay since the release of FIFA 12, which was the last game that added big changes to the franchise. The gameplay in a match itself has been tweaked, but an overhaul of the complete system would be the only thing that would make a significant difference to the game. Better AI mechanics, natural ebb and flow of a game, and even adding in a longer format that would increase the time limit of each match but also lengthen the pitch to make it feel like the real thing would go a long way to improving the core gameplay of Fifa titles.
FIFA Needs More Meaningful Changes
While each iteration of the Fifa franchise has included minor changes to the game, none of them have had a significant impact on the player. For example, the changes between FIFA 20 and FIFA 21 included adding features from older games and showing them as new features, such as the Visual Sim. The series is in desperate need of a bigger change, and like Visual Concepts, EA will need to ensure that future Fifa titles make adjustments that force players to think in different ways.
future Fifa titles will need to revamp the offline game modes and especially the Fifa street gamemode, VOLTA. This is an area where EA can learn from Visual Concepts, who successfully integrated simulation and arcade elements into WWE 2K22’s gameplay. VOLTA was never a successful street game, and for EA to relive the past glory of FIFA Street, an arcade approach would be more impactful. In Career Mode as well, having certain arcade elements outside of matches where players would need to manage a club could be the significant change needed to diversify the Fifa titles. Remaking the game engine to improve the Street game mode would have a major impact on future titles as well.
FIFA Should Focus On Offline Game Modes
EA has decided to focus its efforts on the online game mode Ultimate Team more than the offline modes, mainly because Ultimate Team is how the game generates most of its income. However, this has led to the offline game modes suffering from a lack of attention by the developers. In recent years, EA has added a few options to the Kick-Off game mode, making it a more attractive couch co-op mode for fans, but the one area where EA failed to make any meaningful improvements was Career Mode.
While Create-A-Club was a good feature, the lack of depth within Create-A-Club ensured it was only as exciting as a regular Manager Career Mode with a new squad. The creation suite available to players in this mode also lacks depth, and the game mode offers little sense of progression. The only game mode that has a sense of realism to it is the Player Career Mode, where players must earn their spot in the starting 11 and will often be loaned out if they start with a high-profile club. This level of depth needs to be added to the other game modes to give Fifa players have a real sense of progression.
EA has long been criticized by fans for not devoting enough time to the offline game modes of Fifaand while it makes sense to focus on the money-making online game modes from a business standpoint, future Fifa titles may have to give up on this approach since the upcoming free-to-play UFL game is set to provide competition.
Priority to FIFA 10, the success of the titles solely relied on offline or couch co-op game modes since online game modes were not yet introduced in the game. With new games like UFL ready to take on the football gaming world, EA will need to rethink its strategy and find innovative ways to recreate the success of older FIFA titles. By going back to its roots and building a better engine, like what Visual Concepts did with WWE 2K22EA could revitalize the Fifa franchise and produce a game that meets the expectations of the fans and set up another successful Fifa run that could last decades.
FIFA 23 will release in 2022 for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S.
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