With the release of FIFA 21 fast-approaching, we start to question: how can EA sports innovate its most popular game mode, Ultimate Team? The mode's reveal is now on the horizon, and we've listed here 6 major features that we want to see added (or re-added) in next year's game.
One of the biggest complaints FIFA players have, year to year, is that the game feels like a re-skinned version of the previous year's. Here, we take a look at six features we want to see added to FIFA 21's Ultimate Team, that would make it feel discernibly different from FIFA 20 and, hopefully, restore it to its former glory.
1 – Bring tournaments back
Why were tournaments ever removed from FIFA Ultimate Team? They featured in a host of the older Ultimate Teams, in both Single Player and Online variants. The tournaments would come with team limitations and requirements, similar to the SBCs we see in recent FIFA titles.
However, players would then pit their team against opponents in a knock-out tournament – like the current Draft mode. Winning the tournament would earn players awesome rewards, but the tournaments have not featured in UT for some years now.
One of the major appeals of tournaments was that they encouraged teams you wouldn't normally see in online play. Running an all-silver team? You were guaranteed to come up against another all-silver outfit. Now, using anything but the most highly rated team possible sees you consistently outclassed online, whether it's in FUT Champions or Division Rivals.
2 – Wager Matches
This has been on the radar of FIFA fans for some time, now. As long ago as FIFA 13, prominent creators like KSI were calling for EA to add wagers. In a mode where in-game currency is so prevalent, it's quite remarkable that EA have never added such a feature.
This could easily be a tiered edition – with players able to invest as many or as few coins as they want. The thought of a match with 1,000, 10,000 or even 100,000 coins riding on it sounds incredibly exciting, and would constitute a more than worthwhile change.
An argument against this change is that it would be wrong to implement such a feature in a game aimed at younger audiences. However, it seems disingenuous to argue such a feature would be inappropriate when so much of Ultimate Team is geared around micro-transactions, and players are so frequently encouraged to use real-money to purchase packs.
3 – Custom Badge & Kit Creators
The whole raison d'etre of Ultimate Team is to create your own XI and club, in whatever way you choose to. It seems bizarre then, that even in FIFA 20, the option to design your own badge or kits is not yet a feature.
What seems even more strange, at least to FIFA players, is that the freedom to create your own badges/kits is already in a host of EA titles, like the company's NHL games. This is a must-add in FIFA 21 but, to be honest, it's been a must-add for a few years now.
4 – Challenge Matches/Scenarios
These would, in theory, work like Ultimate Team tournaments. Players would be tasked with using their squad to recreate a match scenario, and pull off a real-life comeback or challenge.
Down 3-0 to AC Milan in the final of the Champions League? Come back and win 4-3 and earn all kinds of UCL rewards. This is just one example of countless scenarios that could be added, with decades worth of amazing football moments to pick from. Similar to SBCs, unique and powerful rewards could be on offer upon completion.
5 – Scrap FUT Champions, introduce a new comp mode
The introduction of FUT Champs back in FIFA 17 was met with universal praise, and rightly so. FIFA had long been calling out for a competitive mode, on top of the Seasons (now Rivals) mode. However, Champs has remained largely untouched in the years that followed.
The reduction from 40 matches to 30 made it more accessible to casual players, but it's still a slug to get through the games for anyone who doesn't dedicate their entire weekends to FIFA. The idea of a competitive game mode is good, but FUT Champs needs reworking or replacing going forwards. A league-based ranked mode would seem a pragmatic alternative.
6 – Bring back Trade Deals
The move to introduce price ranges to FIFA Ultimate Team was massively unpopular, but so was the removal of trade deals. As it sounds, this allowed players to offer multiple cards in return for one, more valuable one.
It allowed freedom in the market, and led to a host of 'Pink Slips' between creators. The problem is that, with FIFA Points at such a premium, players would always look for alternative ways to get ahead.
Regardless, it's a market feature that would reduce reliance on SBCs, and allow some of the better cards in the game to be accessed without having to drop millions of coins. Not to mention, this feature is already in other EA titles, such as Madden NFL – meaning it's definitely something they're capable of implementing.
That rounds up the features we want to see in FIFA 21 Ultimate Team! What did we miss? Be sure to tweet us @UltimateTeamUK to let us know what you want to see added in next year's game.