Coming as a surprise to absolutely no one, a first look at FIFA 21 was shown during EA Play Live last night. It was thrown into a trailer alongside Madden 21 and pre-order information was released on Twitter. That was it. That was the reveal.
No gameplay, no new features, no news, just the release date and the ability to buy it. Frankly, I don’t think that’s enough, especially after how poorly FIFA 20 has been received by fans.
To appease fans, FIFA 21 has to be a big refresh job. A rip it up and start again kind of upgrade. New rosters, one quickly ignored feature or mode, and some gameplay additions that sound great on paper won’t be enough to get fans back on board, so revealing nothing is just a kick in the teeth.
FIFA 20 has more than its fair share of issues. The defense focused gameplay, that’s full of strange and unfair inconsistencies, is a chore to play, Volta isn’t interesting, and the offline modes are rehashes of previous iterations.
The worst part though, is the way EA Sports has treated the game and their fans throughout the year. They’ve refused to patch gameplay since early in the new year no matter how much fans complain, live content has been stale and repetitive, mistakes have been near constant, and communication has been almost non-existent.
With fan unrest on Reddit and Twitter hitting an all time peak and even the biggest FIFA streamers dropping the game for the likes of GTA V and Football Manager, EA Sports has to know that fans want more – they can’t be oblivious to it.
All year, they’ve been complacent, knowing that fans will spend money on the game no matter its quality, so they do just enough. Gameplay that isn’t fun and content that goes backwards won’t fly next year.
The EA Play reveal epitomizes that complacency. Without any information about what’s new and why you should consider buying FIFA 21, EA Sports wants you to pre-order it and possibly even commit more money to get it three days early.
EA just assumes that you’ll buy it, no matter what, and that’s concerning. Nothing that happened this year, or that was said during the stream last night, makes it sound like their attitude is changing.
Nothing was ever going to be revealed when it came to specific modes. As nice as that would have been, EA Sports always kept Ultimate Team, Career Mode, and Pro Clubs news until closer to launch, spreading out the news and ramping up the excitement as release approaches.
However, the initial FIFA reveal usually includes information on the supposedly game-changing new features and exciting new mode. The FIFA 20 reveal in June 2019 showed off Volta and, while the mode turned out to be disappointing, it was something for fans to get excited about.
So to reveal nothing about FIFA 21 is very concerning. Does that mean the new features are limited as we go into a new generation, or are they just keeping the surprises back? For the good or the series, it has to be the latter.
Volta and The Journey have proven that cheesy single player modes aren’t what FIFA fans care about. Beyond anything else, they want a game that’s fun to play. Over the last few years, which have promoted competition above anything else, FIFA has become toxic, with it being too hard to have fun or play with your friends. e
For a series that sees itself as a live service and esports product, it’s behind the curve when it comes to content, reliability, and fun-factor. If EA Sports continues with their approach from EA Play, expecting that fans will buy FIFA 21 no matter what, I have no faith that things are actually going to improve in the areas the series needs it most. FIFA 21 needs to be better and I’m concerned that EA Sports either aren’t aware or simply want to do the bare minimum once more.
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