The release of the first official FIFA 20 trailer, with its tantalizing glimpse of the ‘Volta’ street football mode, has moved us on to the next stage of speculation about the new game. We’re now exciting the phase of rumors and guesses, and moving onto informed previews. Soon, we’ll be playing FIFA 19 for the last time, and leaving behind our carefully constructed Ultimate Teams and hard-fought online records, and preparing to start afresh with the newest incarnation of the long-running series, which will become available in September.
There’s no denying that Volta has caught the eye of players and critics – especially those who have been pining for the return of the five-a-side mode we first saw way back in FIFA 97 – but we’re still short of any new information on what the new career mode might look like. That’s a concern. The career mode in the game has been largely unchanged since FIFA 15, back when the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were new.
Since then, what we’ve come to expect from modern-era career mode in a football game has changed significantly in every other major franchise. Football Manager has come on leaps and bounds, and PES has made huge enhancements too. FIFA’s career mode feels like it’s stuck in a time warp, and in many cases is no more advanced than following the virtual ‘career’ of a striker in the online casino game ‘Striker Goes Wild.’ We mean the comparison to the casino game quite literally, as it often feels like you have no more control over what goes on within the game mode than you do when betting at a casino. In fact, the main difference is that playing the casino game on sites such as Rose Slots you might win some money, whereas in FIFA the spending on in-game perks just goes on and on.
It’s too late to send wishlists into Electronic Arts now, so all we can do is hope that they’ve addressed some of the most commonly reported issues, or commonly expressed hopes, which we’ve summarized below.
It feels like we’ve been screaming about this one forever, but it never gets repaired. FIFA has an infuriating habit of putting important league and cup games on adjacent days. You could be playing a vital league game on a Tuesday night, and then an equally important cup fixture on Wednesday. The problem is more likely to happen when your team is involved in European competition. Some players have even reported being faced with two games on the same day.
This wouldn’t be so bad if the fatigue suffered by players weren’t so realistic. Even the fittest real-world players would be worn down by playing two games on back-to-back days, and the fitness of your virtual players suffers in the same way. This should be the easiest of coding adjustments to make, and there’s no excuse for not doing it. If this issue still exists within the game, then the only explanation is that EA is either too lazy to fix it, or just don’t care.
OK, so admittedly, simming results is lazy on our part. We should play every single game, and deal with the results we get from playing those games. If we’re honest though, sometimes we just don’t want to. We have an all-star tie with Barcelona coming up in Europe at the end of the week, and we want to get to it. The cup game away at Wycombe beforehand is just getting in the way, and so we sim it.
Something seems to happen to our players when we decide to sim the result. No matter how well they’ve been playing previously, their form disappears out of the window. The club that’s playing at home – regardless of how much weaker they are than your team – always seems to have a huge advantage, and when things go wrong, we can’t adjust our tactics. An option to stop the sim and take over playing the game as normal is required. Even a chance to alter the tactics in response to the scoreline, Football Manager style, would probably be enough.
We’re bored of looking at these pre-game loading screens now. They’ve been exactly the same for years, and they barely offered anything when they were brand new. There comes the point when we’re as good as we’re ever going to get at shooting, or heading, or anything else. The loading screens are like a microcosm of the issue with the whole training mode, which is desperately shallow.
Why is it that we can never train the whole squad at the same time? Why is it that we can’t encourage a player to try new things? It’s been twenty years since Arsene Wenger changed Thierry Henry’s career at Arsenal by transforming him from a winger to a striker, and yet we still can’t do the same for our young players? It’s outdated nonsense, and it needs to be improved.
Creating Our Own Manager
This would be such an easy thing for EA to do. The player creation suite already exists, and it’s fantastic. We can tailor every part of every player’s physical appearance, from their eyebrows to their earlobes. Why can’t we do the same for our created managers, when the system that would allow us to do so already exists?
Unless you’re especially lucky – or unlucky – you probably don’t look much like any of the preloaded avatars that EA offer us as custom managers. We’d like to be able to fully realize ourselves in managerial form, please. We’d also like to create the likenesses of managers when they join clubs in real life. If Ronaldo retires and takes over as coach at Sporting Lisbon, we want to be able to use the creation suite to put him there.
No, we’re not talking about us – even though it’s harder to make that happen than it should be. We’re talking about other managers. Over the course of your FIFA career, you are the only manager who will ever change jobs – and that’s only if you want to. Everyone else will stay exactly where they are forever, no matter how well or badly they perform. Sean Dyche could win the Champions League at Burnley, and he’ll still never get the chance to succeed Klopp at Liverpool, or Ancelotti at Bayern Munich. The world of the other managers is static and stale.
Even more farcically, if you were to take over at Burnley yourself for a season and then move on, you’ll find Dyche re-installed as your replacement, as if he’d just been on holiday. Managers should be fired, hired, and replaced as the game goes on, just as they would do in real life. Chelsea and Real Madrid should be going through at least two coaches every three seasons. Managers who excel at lower-level clubs should be trying to compete with you when you put yourself forward for a bigger job. As with our other suggestions, this shouldn’t be too much to ask.
There are many other issues with career mode – most of which have been referenced more than once – but getting all of the above in order would be a good place to start. We’d accept that as a solid foundation, and then we can talk about the changes we really want to see in FIFA 2021!