Publisher Electronic Arts is reportedly dropping the FIFA name from its hit football simulator. Moving forward FIFA will instead be called EA Sports Football Club. Trademarks for this new name have already been confirmed although it is unclear if the switchover will happen this year or next.
Last year the idea of a name change was touched upon but nothing was confirmed. However, in a recent internal meeting, EA’s boss Andrew Wilson stated that he believed the FIFA brand is “an impediment,” to progression. He even went as far as to state that, outside of World Cup years, all FIFA brings is four letters to put on the cover.
The decision to move to EA Sports Football Club is at least partially financially driven. Rumors circulating the industry say that the FIFA organization was looking for double the license cost to use its brand. EA does not feel that this is a worthwhile payoff for what little it gets out of the deal.
A future without FIFA?
If EA does choose to drop the FIFA name that doesn’t mean we won’t be getting FIFA games anymore. For one, the newly renamed series would be FIFA in all but name. We have seen a similar transition in the past when Championship Manager was rebranded as Football Manager. Even though the name changed the gameplay did not.
Also, there’s little to no doubt that FIFA will try to sell the license to someone else. Don’t be surprised if a competing sports game publisher like 2K Games takes the opportunity to enter the market. EA will need to consider that switching to EA Sports Football Club could open up the potential for new competitors. If that risk is worth the money saved on the license is going to be a tough judgement call to make. For all of us though more competition is always good so this should be a positive change.
As per tradition, EA Sports today unveiled its latest Icon Swaps for FIFA 21. For many players this is the most exciting part of Ultimate Team’s yearly life-span. Not only is it a great opportunity to earn yourself a legend of the beautiful game, but this year has added unique player packs too.
The format developer EA Canada seems to have opted for is based around player choice. If you want to play it same and get a guaranteed icon, you can. If you’d rather risk your tokens for a big pull instead then that’s an option. Alternatively, you can play it safe with the new player packs and build up assets for a squad building challenge down the line.
FIFA 21 Icon Swaps
The guaranteed icons that you can net for season one are Vidic, Hagi, Suker, Koeman, and Henry. These vary in cost with Henry being the most expensive at seventeen tokens. As of week one, you can only get up to eight tokens. Five of them are awarded through Friendlies whilst the other three can be earned in Squad Battles.
If you’d prefer to build up your assets instead, there are packs for just that. Two tokens can be traded in for two Ultimate Packs. Three tokens nets you five 85+ overall rated players guaranteed. Finally, five tokens will earn you an incredible twenty five 83+ overall rated players guaranteed.
And today’s updates doesn’t just stop at Icon Swaps. Replacing the previous FUTMAS promo, the new Freeze promo has plenty to offer. The most notable part of the promo is the full Freeze team that comes along with it. This includes several meta defining cards like Mane, Martinez, and Hazard.
Throughout the event EA Sports will be releasing daily SBCs to go alongside the full Freeze team. There will also be several new objectives to focus on for untradable Freeze cards starting with Yannick Bolasie. Sound like a lot? Then be sure to get stuck into Icon Swaps as soon as possible to not miss out.
Esports is the pinnacle of competitive gaming. It’s where elite virtual athletes go head to head to determine who the best in their field really is. That is unless you play FIFA. At a recent competitive EA licensed tournament, two players had to resort to a game of rock, paper, scissors to determine a winner.
The in-game invite system wasn’t working properly and likely due to time constraints, Shaun Galea and Hasan Eker couldn’t play their game. Instead, they had to resort to a game of rock, paper, scissors. Despite his best efforts, Shaun lost with rock after tying three times in a row throwing paper. Who needs elite gaming skills when you can just dominate at a children’s hand game?
FIFA isn’t a very good competitive game
If truth be told, FIFA has never been a good competitive game. The core issue is that the games are sports simulations of real-life football. They are primarily designed for casual sports fans to play rather than core gamers. As a result, the gameplay is relatively simplistic and lacks a significant skill ceiling.
This follows the news that EA has opted to ban FIFA content creator Kurt0411. The publisher was unhappy with his supposed threats aimed at various Electronic Art employees. After banning Kurt0411 from playing all of their titles, EA has continued on to try and get his Twitch banned as well.
Whilst EA doesn’t name any specific incidents, many believe it was likely caused by the stream where he openly spat on the EA logo. Considering Kurt0411 was a professional FIFA player before his ban, behavior like this can be considered somewhat childish. Still, having a multi-billion conglomerate effectively bully a pro player isn’t exactly a good look for the publisher either.
From rock, paper, scissors to attacking pro players, the FIFA competitive scene isn’t dead, but it’s far from thriving. If EA wants their sports game to be taken more seriously they need to step up their game. For the time being, I don’t anticipate FIFA to become anything more than just yet another mediocre eSport.
FIFA 20 is Electronic Arts’ latest installment in their hit football simulation series. Recently, FIFA has been put under pressure regarding its aggressive loot boxes. Given that it’s more important than ever that EA delivers a quality product to show that they still care. Unfortunately, I’m not sure they’ve quite achieved in doing so.
The Dreariest FIFA Yet
Last year’s FIFA was not well received by fans. It felt sluggish and rewarded low skill, high reward tactics. For example, competitive Ultimate Team defending was based on holding A to jockey the attacker. There was little else involved outside of occasionally manually tracking runs made behind.
EA has made efforts to raise FIFA 20’s skill ceiling. Several new mechanics such as timed tackling and precision dribbling have been introduced. However, if it’s a competitive game you are looking to play, the experience isn’t much better.
FIFA 20 badly fails to encourage different types of play. Several core aspects of the sport like crossing, heading and long shots don’t function properly. Due to how difficult it is to pull them off consistently, players are encouraged to only shoot inside the box. Since the aim of the game is to prevent players from entering your box, park the bus setups are very popular.
Every game of FIFA 20 feels the same. Both players sit back as deep as possible and try to counter-attack one another with pacey forwards. The lack of variety in playstyles gets old quickly. Each game becomes more of a chore than the last.
To be fair, that’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed Ultimate Team. It’s just that I feel FIFA 20 lacks those exciting moments that older titles could deliver on. You go into each and every game knowing exactly what to expect. Given the fact I’ve only played as high as Division 4 too, I can only assume it’s even worse at the top level.
Squad Building Fun
Since their introduction in FIFA 17, Squad Building Challenges have consistently been Ultimate Team’s best feature. The core premise has players build teams that fit specified criteria. For example, you could have to put together a team that features at least 3 rare silvers and 7 Premier League players. Later SBCs get more complex and can require several teams built to acquire a special one-off card or pack.
SBCs are a brilliant feature that allows for non-meta cards to gain and retain value. Case in point, I recently sold a 74 rated Opara for 5k coins. Not bad for a random silver card who no one wants in their actual squad. These challenges also provide an excellent gameplay option for those not into the competitive side of FIFA.
It’s no secret that FIFA can be a very stressful game to play. Even before the gameplay problems I’ve outlined, past titles could still be infuriating. In previous years single-player modes like Career Mode and Squad Battles could alleviate some of this stress. These were good options for players looking for a more casual FIFA experience.
However, in FIFA 20 I found SBCs fill this role instead. Coming up with a complex solution on your own to get a quality pack or player is very satisfying. You’re not rushed by anything or anyone and can take your time to lay out all the options you have.
Meanwhile, single-player matches are surprisingly stressful this year. Especially when you begin playing on World Class or above. The A.I use sliders to make both their overall and chemistry not mean all that much. They also play incredible tiki-taka, possession play as they flawlessly pass around you. Only true masochists should even attempt Ultimate difficulty.
Those Classic FIFA Sports Game Bugs
I never noticed it growing up, but sports games are pretty badly made. From NBA 2K20’s crashing and lack of stability to WWE 2K’s, well, everything. Honestly, FIFA isn’t as bad as 2K’s trashy sports game, but its tiny development cycle is still very much apparent.
One issue I found is that in career mode teams rotate their squads far too often. On paper, this doesn’t sound too bad. Football teams do this all the time, right? Perhaps but I doubt Chelsea would play their entire reserves in the FA Cup Final. Even poor Van Ginkel himself probably wasn’t expecting to start that game.
Tragically, I’ve yet to play the Volta game mode at all. Of course, I intended to play it for this review, but it’s so broken I can’t. Whenever I put in a player name FIFA tells me it contains “profane text.” I tried my actual name, the front cover star’s name and even just calling myself A Footballer. Yes, according to EA literally being called A Footballer is profane.
These are only the game-breaking bugs too. All the usual smaller but definitely noticeable issues are also buried deep in the code. I saw a Reddit post where after winning the Women’s World Cup all the officials around the podium stood their T-Posing. Someone else managed to pack an Ousmane Dembele with no contracts and zero owners. On their own, these bugs aren’t a big deal. However, when added up they indicate a serious lack of care and quality control.
FIFA 20 is crying out for a few more months of development. The reality though is that forced annual releases will always hold the series back. Unfortunately, there’s only so much a team can do in such a short period of time.
I can’t honestly tell you that FIFA 20 is a good game. Sure, it’s functional but what does really mean. This is supposed to be an industry-leading simulation for the largest sport on the planet. Simply put, it doesn’t live up to that. Instead, we’re left with an okay but unsensational filler title that will make EA a quick buck. If all you want is a passable football game, then this is still a better option than PES. However, make no mistake, this is one of the worst FIFA games I’ve ever played.
Do you agree with what we have to say? What game mode are you enjoying the most? Has EA done enough for you to make FIFA 20 stand out? Let us know in the comments what you think.