FIFA 22 Career Mode needs to be bigger, bolder, and more immersive than ever before if it’s to compete with the experiences of Madden 22 or even NBA 2K22. But to do that, new features have got to be on the menu.
EA Play Live is the next major showcase event on the publisher’s calendar, on July 17. While Ultimate Team or VOLTA Football may take up a lot of that slot, there’s a strong feeling in the community that’s it needs to a pivotal moment for another game mode, Career.
As fans will be aware, Career Mode is split up into two experiences: Player Career and Manager Mode. Changes mostly came for the latter in FIFA 21, with positional change options added to its training features, the return of visual simulations, and some other minor details on transfers – which ultimately still look as robotic as ever.
With Career Mode expected to get another revamp with FIFA 22, there’s a lot on our wishlist. Well, six things to be exact.
FIFA 22 Co-Op Career Mode
We couldn’t start with anything else, could we?
Career Mode players have been wanting to see a Co-Op Career added to the FIFA games for years now, to manage different clubs as their friends and both compete for the highest honors in the game. Frustratingly, this has been a feature in Madden – an EA game – forever with Connected Franchises. On top of that, F1 2021, a game now under the EA umbrella after their takeover of Codemasters, has introduced Co-Op Career for the first time ever just months after the publishers took over.
In FIFA 22, there should be an integration of multiplayer here – just as there was for FUT in FIFA 21. Not just for the players to enjoy, but it would give the dev team another opportunity to retain FIFA layers in the slower months of the game (normally after Christmas).
It’s also worth noting that EA job adverts for game designers have mentioned “Online Career” in the past, which is an encouraging sign ahead of launch. Whether or not that will be for FIFA 22, though, remains to be seen.
Regular FIFA 22 Career Mode updates
Take a look around at the best-performing games in the industry. Warzone, Fortnite, Apex Legends – they all update their games regularly with bonus content.
To an extent, FIFA games have done this in the past, as seen with FIFA 20 when they introduced the CONMEBOL and Copa Libertadores competitions, stadiums, and player face scans. This gave players another reason to keep coming back and playing, but of course, in this instance, it all depended on licensing agreements.
What they could do instead, however, is bi-monthly updates to help ease the slow periods of Ultimate Team content as the year progresses. This could be anything from new animations, celebrations, boots, cutscenes, commentary lines, to team customization. We’ve all sat down in the same coffee shop a billion times to negotiate a deal, and spotted the same announcement news stories appear on the feed.
Small but regular changes could prevent this from becoming stale as quickly as it does.
Contract expiry search tool
Search filters were annoyingly slow to be rolled out in Ultimate Team for specific card rarities, among other things. And the same goes for Career.
Contract expiry options are among the best ways of taking your club to the next level, especially if you have a limited budget at a mid-table side. As the years go on, the cost of players can often far exceed the budget given to you by the owners, too, so this is a really handy way to pick up players on pre-contract expiry agreements and bring them in for free after the January transfer windows.
If these players appeared in the free agents’ list, the need for a contract expiry filter may not be needed. Instead, they’re all just automatically snapped up by the big teams. Aside from scrolling through player by player, league by league, for hours on end – there’s no easy way to track which players are running their contracts down, so this would be a nice bonus.
FIFA 22 Player Career story
Player Career hasn’t even been worth talking about in recent years, meaning PES Become A Legend has been far superior (for those who play Pro Evo). We were once teased with the idea of story integration in Career, though the chances of an NBA 2K-style story experience ended up being The Journey – remember that?
Your road was set as Alex Hunter, with very minimal customizable options. Ultimately, the trilogy project stretched across FIFA 17, 18, and then 19 before being scrapped. It might have looked like the building blocks of something long-term and narrative-driven at first, but since that ended there’s been zero extension of it.
As for Player Career, there are some learnings to take from PES and The Journey in years gone by. Instead of forgetting it exists, there’s an opportunity to put together new features that allow for simple narratives via email, choosing brand partners, and transfer dramas that could be added.
Last time, this is all they said: “We are aware of current feedback regarding Player Career.”
These features are designed to enhance the managerial experience and are not available in Player Career.
We are aware of current feedback regarding Player Career. https://t.co/ZU0ZwZ3gp9
— FIFA Direct Communication (@EAFIFADirect) August 13, 2020
After 2021’s installment left Player Career players with nothing to feed on, surely this won’t be another famine where new features are concerned.
Customize kits and stadiums
EA have put together a massive portfolio of licenses so that the community can enjoy realistic scans of their favorite team kits, stadiums, and players.
However, in Career Mode there’s an element of time and career progression that isn’t included in other modes. Having a feature where you could choose sponsors, redesign new kits per season (even if they were three pre-made options or templates), would give the experience a more realistic touch.
On top of that, stadium expansions and facility upgrades to improve the performance of your team would be a fantastic addition. If you manage to work your way through the lower divisions with a team like Shrewsbury, there’s no way you should be lifting the Premier League title five years later in a stadium of 10,000 people or with Sky Bet League 1 badge on your kit.
Customizable kits, club buyouts as part of a storyline to improve club facilities, and the option to bolster your capacity should play a huge part in Career Mode. But, it doesn’t.
FIFA 22 Career Mode fan expectations
To follow on from that request of higher and growing stadium capacities, the fan interaction with the coach, team, and their connection to results should play a much bigger role in Career Mode.
Having the option to negotiate season ticket price changes with the board for increased transfer budgets or popularity (when decreasing) would make the mode much more immersive. On top of that, there could be a season set of manager challenges to complete, aside from those which keep the owners sweet. Perhaps the fans get involved with transfer policy expectations, demand a style of football, or call for changes when results start to drop off.
The idea of spectator numbers dropping in relegation form and getting information on sellout crowds for big crunch matches in the season would be another element of management. Knowing the decisions you make on and off the pitch could make you an icon at the club, or put your head on the chopping block, is exactly the risk and reward we need in FIFA 22 Career Mode.
Hopefully this time EA delivers.