FIFA 16 Preview: More of the Same?

FIFA 15 was a joke. Maybe it wasn’t for you, but that’s what the majority of players in the FIFA community think. And not just them. The game developer themselves, who measure the success of a game according to the increasing of sales, should have the same opinion. Although there are still a few months left for the new FIFA to be released, the truth is that nobody would care if it were to be released earlier. But it won’t. In fact, as we’ll see just ahead, little will change. Or is it not exactly like that?

If you’re familiar with us you probably know by now that we don’t like to feed rumors. When we announce something that hasn’t yet been made official we make sure our source is extremely safe. But now that I’ve got an opinionated area for myself, I can afford to break some rules and take a bit of a risk for an idea of what’s to come.

If you’re excited and thinking you’re about to see what FIFA 16 is like, forget it. The main intention of this article is to show that EA’s recipe for new FIFA games is almost always the same. Well then, let’s see…

The cover
Ask anyone, ask the guy in the non-rare bronze card: who will be the player on the cover of FIFA 16? Very easy, innit? Messi has been the guy since FIFA 13 and obviously there shouldn’t be any changes. The one before him was Rooney, who had been on the cover for 7 years. Regardless of who is the best player in the world, I have the idea that having Ronaldo on the cover of FIFA 16 would be the best move since he’s more of the media guy type. But saying this is pointless, Messi will be there wearing the colours of Barcelona with a stadium in black and white on the background. And on FIFA 17 as well.

And yes, there will be, as always, customized covers for the leagues and clubs we’re used to see. Also those in which the most popular players of their regions come and join the Argentinian so he doesn’t feel lonely. These covers represent such an euphoric thing for thousands of people that in December they don’t even remember anymore who’s on the cover of FIFA 16. Besides Messi, of course.

FIFA 16 Preview 1

Release Date
Ask anyone, ask the guy in the bronze fitness card: When will FIFA 16 be released? I’m not being stingy. It’s the answers that are way too easy. The game developer somehow decided that the last week of September is the most favorable moment to their sales so let’s not waste our time thinking of the hypothesis of an early release. FIFA 14 was released for North America in the 24th, FIFA 15 in the 23rd and FIFA 16 will be in the 22nd. The 27th, 26th and 25th for Europe. You already got the logic, right? If you’re already anticipating the date for FIFA 20, don’t forget about the leap years. That’s the only thing you need to look at. That and the region. If you live in Brazil you won’t be able to have the game in any of these dates. Even when it comes to that things don’t change. Thanks, Warner Games.

New Features
One of the best ways to make fans of the series drool over it is telling them that incredible new features are going to be added to the game play of the new version. It happens every year. To me it’s nothing more than false advertisement. There are indeed a few changes, normally for better, but little they have to do with what had been announced.

EA’s trick is simple: fancy names. Even if the players don’t realize specifically what’s being improved, it’s going to sound good to them. Especially if they hear names in English as non-native speakers. Do Emotional Intelligence, Authentic Players Visual and Living Pitch sound like interesting new features for FIFA 16 to you? The truth is that these were some of the new things announced for FIFA 15, and they actually caused a little bit of a shake of desire in you but after a few months you didn’t even notice them anymore. Or maybe has anyone here felt any benefits rather than harm because of this supposed player emotional intelligence? It just comes down to a few additional animations and nothing more. For FIFA 16 you can bet on the introduction of women’s national teams, improvements regarding the public interaction, more realism around the pitch and something that has to do with the physics of the ball and players, which no one seems to know exactly what is but seems complex so it must be good. Oh! And there’s still something left so they can show us that the game follows today’s technologies. Last year it was about the goal line technology system and this year will be the referee’s vanishing spray. All supposed new features will come alongside really fancy names such as ‘real’, ‘pure’, ‘physics’, ‘authentic’ and ‘intelligence’. This last one is the classic word, maybe it’s there every year to make the guy who came up with the feature look more intelligent than he actually is.

One word that’s banned from the marketing department’s vocabulary is ‘handicap’. There’s no chance it’s going to be among all the fancy names. Which doesn’t mean it’s not part of the game. If you believe in it, then expect it to be on FIFA 16 as well. Nothing will change in this aspect. I’d appreciate if you didn’t fill the comments section with this theme. The article is not about it. One day I’ll make a guide about handicap and I’ll gladly let you post 10.000 comments on it. But today is not that day. Consider yourself warned (that’s it, I’m done with the bad character for today).

FIFA 16 Preview 2

New League
y now it seems like I’m trying to make you guys not buy FIFA 16. But that’s about to change. Every year EA add a league of expression to the game. It’s part of the recipe. Last year, for example, we saw the Turkish League being introduced in the game. This year things are yet not sealed but, according to our sources, the one with the best possibilities of taking the spot is… the Brazilian league. EA are on the field of trying to sort out the image right problems that stopped all clubs from last year’s Brazilian division 1 from being included on FIFA 15 and are making good progress. That was even confirmed by the British commentator Martin Tyler, another confirmed presence on FIFA 16.

In case the negotiations don’t come to a good closure, USA’s division 2, the North American Soccer League, and China’s division 1, the Chinese Super League, are EA’s last resort. Even if you’re not a fan of the Brasileirão, you’ll have to recognize that it would still be the most valuable one, even if it’s just so you can find those young talents that would beautifully fit your club on career mode.

This is EA’s key word for the next years. More than a new game, you can expect a game that’s each time closer to reality. Unfortunately this doesn’t aim directly at the game play but the details.

Last year EA Sports put all they had on the authenticity of the English league. They included all stadiums, replicated generic ones, digitalized the players from head to toe and gave special attention to every detail that makes the Barclays Premier League the most spectacular league in the world. The result was fantastic. And since common sense tells you to not make changes on a team that’s winning, EA ought to maintain it. Now there’s a good chance they go for the league that has got the two most used clubs in the series: Real Madrid and Barcelona. It would be really great to see the authenticity of the EPL extended to the Liga BBVA. After all, as it seems, EA hold the rights of the Spanish stadiums. What’s left to know is whether this will happen on FIFA 16 or only on FIFA 17.

Speaking about stadiums, don’t expect many new things except for just a few Bundesliga or La Liga ones to be added. Besides that, there may be one or another to make its debut in the game, and it seems like the Il King Abdullah Stadium, in Saudi Arabia, holds the best conditions for that. Weren’t you asking for a stadium without rain or snow? Unless the ozone layer gets heavily damaged until then, there you have it.

FIFA 16 Preview 3

Yes, legends came to stay. And here EA’s strategy remains the same. It’s expected that a few more new legends come to join the ones that already existed, although the privilege of being able to use one, in case you have the FIFA coins for that, should remain exclusive for Xbox owners.

Romário? Maradona? Mantorras? Giving names here would be nothing more than a mere speculation exercise. What’s almost certain is that most of the new legends will have played sometime in between the last two decades and there will surely be English players or ones from the BPL. Even better, English players from the BPL. Bingo.

Web and Companion App
The only question is ‘when’? When the Web and Companion apps will stop working. As the years pass EA Sports suspend them each time earlier. To tell you the truth they just remove market actions. But it’s kind of like deciding that there isn’t going to be a ball anymore. Which wouldn’t be surprising news, since the community is already familiar with the invisible ball bug.

Micro-transactions are part of the purpose of Ultimate Team and the apps are crucial for them. It’s a shame that at this point the developer hasn’t yet found a way to maintain the apps operating and would rather keep ‘leaving it for later’. The problem is that they never actually handle it. If you’re going to remove the Web App and the Companion App a few months after the game is released, it would be better to avoid creating false expectations by never even introducing them. EA lack the guts to do so because they know that this could mean important economic and partnership losses, partnerships that require their database to be active so the millionaire business stays up. I’ll give a medal to anyone who knows exactly what I’m talking about in that last part.

FIFA 16 Preview 4

Servers and other Stuff
Although FIFA 16 apparently will present us many new things, nothing will be enough to compensate the imperfections the game has and will continue to have. Even if they implement the take-off-shirt celebration, which in FIFA 16 would be particularly interesting (okay, you can start calling me names now), you’ll still be in despair while stumbling across the game’s weak spots.

And just so you can’t say you weren’t warned, I’ll break it to you. The servers are not going to be improved so you’ll keep having a hard time finding opponents, you’ll feel the lag during games and you’ll suffer frequent disconnections which will even affect your %DNF. If you’re good enough, you’ll win tournaments but sometimes you won’t get the prize. At some point in game you’ll have several cards stuck on the market. You may mysteriously see your FIFA Points vanish, coins or, even worse, be accused of buying them while you wouldn’t even know how to do so.

As you can see, many things will not change. And it wouldn’t even be that hard. But why bother spending energy and money on that if sooner or later the Team of the Year is out or a purple Ronaldo is made available and no one remembers a thing anymore?!

You’ve realized already how a new FIFA is made, right? The recipe is simple: you take the previous game, give it a few menu innovations, add a league to it and one or two stadiums, take care of something else’s license, innovate with one or two celebrations, update the equipments, balls and balls, somewhat improve the players’ digitalizations, give the advertisement a new colour (this year’s will be dark blue), adjust the players’ ratings, take care of transfers and then you lower the game’s speed according the community’s feedback of last year. And throw it on the market. Knowing all that, are you still going to buy it? I will.

If you wanna know how certain I am about FIFA 16, wait until E3 and see. We’re almost there. It’s like an old friend of mine from Portugal used to say, ‘I never mistake myself and rarely have doubts’. Imagine if he had…