FIFA 20 faces a pivotal year as the community voices concerns over gameplay, the predominance of Ultimate Team, the stagnation of modes like Career and Pro Clubs, and more. That’s a lot to tackle in one or even two years, and the developers at EA Canada have their work cut out for them if they want to put the series on an upward trajectory.
Here are some ideas we have for the series (as well as the normal bug fixes of course). What are yours? Add them in the comments section below.
- Change the Past
Legacy issues such as shots hitting the post too much, pre-determined animation outcomes, overpowered headers, poor player switching, the threat of possible scripting, and more need to be addressed. Ultimate Team adds variables such as squad chemistry, boost items, and overall difficulty level in Squad Battles that also seem to add another layer of funkiness to FIFA’s gameplay.
- Ball Games
FIFA’s ball doesn’t feel quite right at times, whether shots unexpectedly take off like rockets or the ball feels floaty and lacking weight. Perhaps by extension, passing feels unsatisfying due to wayward passes and inconsistent power for manual passes and through balls. Overall, improving how the ball feels could impact the moment-to-moment experience significantly.
- A.I. Defending
Developer EA Canada has tried to address FIFA 19’s A.I. defending after the game’s launch to tone down the effectiveness by which the A.I. intercepts passes, tackles, and strips players of the ball. This has led many to not controlling defenders at all. This is a delicate area, as nobody wants brain-dead defenders, but it also shouldn’t feel like the game is doing all the work.
The VAR replay system is being used in the real-life Premier League this upcoming season, and it could be included in FIFA 20. If so, it’s going to be interesting to see how correct it is awarding goals, penalty awards, and other possibly crucial moments in a game. If how EA’s Madden series ineffectually adjudicates coach’s challenges is any indication (albeit in a franchise developed by a different internal studio), VAR could be as controversial in FIFA 20 as it is in real life if EA Canada is not careful.
- Keeper Saves
Goalkeepers’ awkward, truncated dives need to be fixed so they can get to saves that look like they should easily handle.
- Fix the Fixtures
Fixture congestion can be a problem for clubs in real-life – especially if you’re in the Champions League and multiple domestic cups. However, there are times when the FIFA series takes it to a new level by scheduling back-to-back games and filling players’ schedules to the brim. Similarly, player rotation due to fatigue needs to be a factor, influencing squad size and playing time concerns.
- Make Managers & Tactics Important
Managers like Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp are making a big impact on how their teams play as well as changing how the other teams in their league respond. This needs to become an integral part of the mode, from finances and transfer dealings to man-management and a full-on managers carousel.
- Overhaul the Transfer System
The series’ scouting system needs to stop using the old player types system in order to help users find more players and eliminate locking specific player types to specific regions. Perhaps the scouting system in NHL could be used as a template – you can get reports of varying accuracy based on the number and ability of your scouts around the world. Of course, whether they sign with your club is a whole different matter.
- League Variables
Last year the Premier League shortened its summer transfer window compared with other European leagues, putting more stress on English clubs to complete their transfer business before the start of the season, and this should be implemented correctly in FIFA 20. This kind of specificity can also apply to leagues like the MLS that have a new playoff system and designated player rules.
- International Matters
International duties for both players and managers need to be a bigger part of the mode, from coaxing players to declare their nationality for your country to managing friendlies and interfacing with clubs’ concerns regarding players’ international duties.
- Bring Career Mode Online
- Better Transfer, Playing Time, and Morale A.I.
How players act when it comes to their playing time and transfer wishes, as well as how teams conduct their business, need to be more realistic. Fringe players shouldn’t demand time with the first team that’s unwarranted, and teams’ incoming and outgoing transfers need to be more mindful of their roster’s existing composition and mix of players.
- Mo Money
Club budgets are already in the mode, but the importance of money could be extended to include new stadiums (including how they may influence transfer business like in the case of Tottenham last season), sponsorships, TV money, and even a form of Financial Fair Play (and the associating penalties for breaching these rules).
- More Training Automation
While it’s nice you can sim for results, it would be great if you could set up specific players with drills for weeks or months at a time.
- What’s the Goal?
The objectives from the board need to be redone to be more realistic and fluid. Right now, even with different levels of priority attached to them, they are rigid and simplistic. Overall, your dealings with the board need not just to be season-end goals, but a way to break up the monotony of the week-to-week season and be just one of the ways your club feels like it has context within the league and the wider football world.
- Quality Of Life Upgrades
Overall rating filters, filters for rare and Special players, sorting options for filter results, and a way to see more of your search results at once (instead of having to tab through multiple pages of 11 cards at a time) are just a few of the ways to make searching through the transfer market more bearable. Overall ratings and other filters would also help when adding players in SBCs. Elsewhere, FUT needs a faster/easier way to handle getting rid of duplicates instead of having to deal with them one at a time.
- Pack Contents & Pay-To-Win
There is too much pack filler like contracts and fitness. I get that this is one of the ways the mode pushes people to buy packs, but it’s frustrating for players and contributes to accusations of pay-to-win compared to other games like MLB The Show or Madden. Perhaps there needs to be a way for players to solo their way to specific cards apart from SBCs like the above-mentioned titles. This would bring the market down overall while still leaving room for plenty of special cards, packs, and promos. Along the lines of smoothing out the grind, multiple ways to get specific good cards could alleviate the stress of having to compete in the Weekend League.
- Women’s Single-Player Draft
The small number of licensed women in the game severely restricts any possibilities of their inclusion in FUT, but a way it could be done is through a Single Player Draft FUT mode which would let you build a temporary squad using the best women in the game.
MORE WISHLIST TOPICS
- Champions League/Europa League
There needs to be more from these leagues in the game than just another fixture on your calendar. Full draw presentations (more than what was in FIFA 19) would be a great way to amp up the occasion. EA Sports could also add the Women’s Champions League, giving players a chance to experience a dominant side like Lyon.
- The Chinese Super League/NWSL/Women’s World Cup
The inclusion of the Chinese league could provide another option when negotiating with aging European transfer prospects, and bringing in the NWSL and Women’s Super League would be a boost for women in the game. In a year with the Women’s World Cup, it would be very disappointing if EA Sports didn’t do something with the license to commemorate the occasion.
- New Commentators
Regular commentators Martin Tyler and Alan Smith need to go or their lines need to be severely refreshed, as this aspect of the series’ presentation has grown stale.
- Pro Clubs
This be-a-pro mode could definitely use an overhaul. Given the drama, power, and prestige of players in modern football, so much could be done here.
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Matthew Kato explores the wide world of video game sports in his column, The Sports Desk. Check back every Monday for the latest analysis and news in the genre from this sports fanatic.
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