The Fifa video game franchise has always been about what happens on the pitch.
Tweaks made to each new game generally look to make the gameplay more realistic – changing how players run, their movement off the ball, their first touch – and while Fifa 17′s game engine will undoubtedly be better than Fifa 16, that’s not the biggest talking point about this year’s game.
EA has released the newest trailer for Fifa 17, titled The Journey, where players will guide “the Premier League’s next rising star” Alex Hunter on and off the pitch.
We thought something like this might be coming – what with the cinematic feel to the first teaser trailer EA dropped and the adoption of Frostbite, the EA software engine usually reserved for first-person shooters and driving games, to the Fifa franchise.
Hunter’s career looks like it will have it all. Debut goals, agent issues, the rush of blood that comes with new money, the lows that can follow. It is, as the title suggests, a Journey.
But who is Alex Hunter? According to EA he’s a 17-year-old from “humble roots” in Clapham. You choose which Premier League team he plays for, as well as his actions off the pitch. It goes without saying his career will be shaped by both how you make him conduct himself off the pitch as well as on it.
The player has been “developed with Premier League stars like Harry Kane, Eden Hazard and Anthony Martial”, in order to add another layer of authenticity. EA call these “authenticity consultants”, and Marco Reus, James Rodriguez, Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford and Reece Oxford also helped out.
It’s a big step from EA but from the looks of the trailer, it’s in the right direction.
Active Intelligence System
Other tweaks coming with Fifa 17 see the “rewrite” of set pieces that now mean you can decide to take freekicks with the outside of your foot or your instep and have more control over how the ball travels towards the goal. Corners, throw-ins and penalties will also be more customised.
Perhaps most excitingly in terms of general play though, Fifa 17 will see your teammates on the pitch analysing the space around them and better adjusting their movement to increase the possibilities in attack. Essentially, movement will be more realistic than ever.
“Smarter players and increased activity off the ball give you new and creative ways to open up the opposition. Orchestrated runs with multiple players, fake runs, stunt runs and calling a player to show support are just a few ways you take control in the build up,” says EA.
Physical Play Overhaul
Fifa 17 will also introduce “push back tech”, allowing attackers to better hold up the ball with their back to play, and “360 degree shield dribble”, which is exactly what it sounds like.
“Player interactions come to life in realistic detail across the entire pitch, like goalkeeper collisions, across-body tackles, 50/50 battles, jostling while ball is in the air and ball control while shielding,” EA says.
It will be easier to keep the ball down “in any situation”, whether that be on the volley or a finesse shot.
Players will also be able to head downwards, thread “perfectly executed” through balls, and start counter attacks with “driven goal kicks”.
The game is released worldwide on September 29, and you can pre-order here.