FIFA – The Potentially Beautiful Game

Will The Series' Greed Be Its Downfall?

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FIFA fans love FIFA and also hate FIFA. What I’m trying to say is that even if you play this game day in day out like I used to, you know deep down that it isn’t a good game. In fact it’s a cheap, money grabbing, not good game. It’s sad really as football is a sport that encourages a competitive but supportive community. Football is forever trying to do well for the world and for the most part achieves this. Football really does prove to be ‘the beautiful game’. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for its popular video game counterpart.

FIFA constantly fails to live up to any kind of expectation. It boasts boring game modes and a community that seems to grow more toxic with every passing title. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t the players fault as its possible the developers at EA try to induce this kind of toxic and competitive nature to make a profit.

This article will speak about how FIFA truly does have the potential to be a beautiful game. It will also explain how EA can make changes so that they don’t create a game that induces toxicity, as well as how it can replicate the good nature that football generally has. I will be talking about the more popular modes and how they could change this title for the better.

Career Mode

Fifa Career Mode screenshot

This mode lets you take control of a manager of a club or a player. Taking control of a manager is the more popular option. This is the type I will mainly be speaking about, however most improvements can be applied to the player version.

In career mode there is actually a lot of content already there but it is very basic stuff. Some mechanics are so easy that it feels like a chore to do between games more than actual gameplay. Other stuff like player training is simply the game randomising how good a player did in their training sessions. I do know you can play each of these sessions individually unfortunately this would be a massive effort as it would take at least half an hour just to get through one set of training.

I wouldn’t opt to change a lot of what’s already there. Most things have become too much of a staple at this point and changing it too heavily could have more negative effects than positive. Instead I’d just add more content altogether. Imagine a FIFA career mode with the same level of detail as a Football Manager game. One where you have to really go into detail about how to manage money for a club, not only taking into account players but staff and stadiums and all the costs of actually running a club. This may be a daunting change at first but honestly could make FIFA career mode a lot more popular.

Another way in which career mode can be significantly improved is by making an online version of this mode. This could be both for co-op play and PvP. A co-op mode would see two players taking control of the same club or as two different players. You could even see one player split off to another club changing it from a co-op to PvP. A stat tracking system  could be implemented which would show how much better or worse one player is doing than the other to add some friendly competition.

Pro Clubs

Fifa Pro Clubs screenshot

This mode hurts the most when playing FIFA as it has the most potential. If you were to incorporate a ‘round of 16’ style tournament, the normal seasons mode as well as something like a draft where 10 players can join a match with two captains who pick their teams then the mode would be much more diverse. There are so many different directions this mode can go in. It’s honestly sad to see how underutilised it is in its current format.

The other major pull factor for pro clubs is in its team work. No other mode really takes advantage of this even though its an important aspect of football . So why not incorporate it more into FIFA? If you were to build up pro clubs with modes somewhat similar to previously mentioned ideas then you wouldn’t only be bringing friends together for this mode but your entire community would be teaming up.

Honestly the worst part about Pro Clubs is that all the groundwork is already laid out. The game mode just needs to be more diverse with more than just one main mode. Greed tends to be the driving force for this game. So much emphasis is put on Ultimate Team because of this but games aren’t just about this. Game development should be about making a good quality game, not a cash grab. If you make a good game and the work is put in, then it’s entirely possible make money and please your community.

Fifa Street

Fifa 20 Volta football trailer screenshot

In FIFA 20 a certain mode made somewhat of a return with a name change to Volta Football. This was the new name for FIFA Street. Volta works somewhat similarly to FIFA Street but is a much more ‘barebones’ version. There are less modes and it’s less engaging than the OG titles from the noughties. This mode was met with mixed critical reviews but it is still a welcome change. It was a very small step in the right direction that FIFA 21 could expand on. FIFA Street could still regain its former glory, back in the day you could play for hours on the original games. However in FIFA 20 the gameplay falls flat very quickly as you need to get back to FUT Champs or finish the FUT Draft or even play some Pro Clubs. FIFA Street just isn’t important anymore.

FIFA Street is now a side mode with very little effort put into it. like pro clubs and career mode it could easily be made into a great mode for the title whilst still keeping its ‘chilled out’ vibe. This doesn’t have to be the biggest or even best mode in the game but adding something with a more relaxed tone to it would really entice players as, let’s be honest, FIFA is a stressful game which gets everyone raging from time to time. Therefore, having a mode that is just for fun with a lot more depth than Volta currently has would be amazing for the series.

Ultimate Team

Fifa Ultimate Team screenshot

I’m not going to fill this section with how Ultimate Team is a massive scam, how it is essentially pay to win unless you can spare half your day, every day playing the game. This article would turn into a 10,000 word rant if I did and as much as that would be fun for me it probably wouldn’t be for you.

Ultimate Team as it is right now has all the content a FIFA game mode needs. It has offline, online, rewards, SBC challenges and a market system, honestly it does have everything. Unfortunately what Ultimate Team lacks is accessibility. If you love FIFA but have a full time job and a social life then likelihood is you’ll never be able to build up some of the best teams in the game. Don’t get me wrong I don’t believe that a player should be able to get the best players for doing nothing in comparison to others, however things like FUT Champs (a competitive 30 game weekend league) could be done across an entire week. This could give more players more time to play and earn better rewards.

You could also add new ways to qualify for FUT Champs. Say for example you aren’t the best FIFA player. In fact you’re below average and rarely ever earn enough points to get into FUT Champs on a regular basis. What if there was a mechanic that allowed you to get more qualifying points for completing SBC challenges or completing challenges in offline modes. This would allow an easier way into competitive modes which is more inclusive to the entire player base. Furthermore, why not get players to complete a certain number of allow challenges a month to be able to obtain the ‘player of the month cards’ instead of just making them an SBC that players may not have the coins for.

Verdict

There is so many ways to make this game more accessible to all players and therefore make these modes and community less toxic. However I unfortunately believe that at the end of the day the reason changes aren’t being made is because making them may mean slightly less money in EA’s pocket.

FIFA is the bestselling sports video game series of all time and to me that’s just sad. These games don’t promote the core principles of sport. The game at its core is bland and full of greed with only a very small amount of real satisfaction. I’d love to be able to say that one day we may get a FIFA game with no micro transactions, balanced gameplay, plentiful game modes and a caring community. Unfortunately I fear this is just a dream. FIFA may forever be full of potential and never a beautiful game.


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