EA SPORTS have captivated audiences at E3 and EA Play numerous times over the years, with flashy reveal trailers and gameplay overhauls, but there’s one mode that FIFA needs more than ever – connected Career Modes.
The game publishers are expected to roll out a first-look promotional video for the latest installment of the football franchise on June 18, alongside other titles such as Star Wars: Squadrons, Need for Speed: Heat, and a few others.
While there will be a high level of interest in Ultimate Team content (the money maker and frankly, the largest mode by a mile), those who like to dabble in other areas of FIFA will be hoping to get their own bit of attention. Connected Career Mode would be a perfect fit, and it’s not completely out of the question.
How FIFA 21 Career Mode could evolve on next-gen
In recent years, we have seen the introduction of various offline features for Career, including pre-season tournaments, new tactical systems, and training options, but they’re all in the little leagues in terms of what EA could actually pull off.
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Just like FIFA 14, FIFA 21 will be the bridging game as we move from current to next-gen consoles. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are going to offer a whole lot more than just boosted graphics, so it would make sense for the game developers to take their projects to places they’ve never been before.
When we say connected Career Mode, we mean multiplayer. Let’s move those offline experiences you have had with friends and make it online, where you and your friends are involved in the same save, making decisions that may impact the other, and play against them if the fixtures line up correctly.
The transfer market, for example, has been dictated by one player since Career Mode – or Manager Mode, as it was once called – began. One player decides how much strikers, defenders, midfielders, and goalkeepers are bought for. Imagine how much the market would change if, say, four friends were allowed to compete for transfers, involved in bidding wars.
Online play has become the phenomenon that we see today based on competition, and rivalries. You want to beat as many people as you can on Ultimate Team for the gratification of beating real people, earning real rewards, and improving your skill level as you go.
In Career, the gameplay is stripped down to just ‘player vs. the computer’ and that’s classic FIFA, no doubt about it, but without real competition, it’s starting to get a little stale for those who have been there and done that – countless times.
EA have already proven Connected Careers can work
Take the Madden ‘Connected Franchises’ model, as that’s an EA product. They have already proven that this works in-game, with thousands of players jumping into a multiplayer campaign-style experience and competing. It’s a blend of AI and your friends, essentially evolving the experience.
When Madden first added Connected Careers back in 2012, it immediately looked like something FIFA would soon incorporate – but never materialized.
As seen in the video below, game designer Josh Looman explains how the mode works. He says: “We started to kind of sit down a couple of years ago and think of what could be the ultimate career mode you could put together?
“Giving you the ability to join a league with your friends, online. Your buddy could be in LA and you could be in New York, and you can all play the same league together. Trying to combine those things and create one great mode that will be the core of Madden for the next decade.”
(Video starts below at 1:02)
Do have in mind that this video was some eight years ago.
It seems awfully strange that FIFA hasn’t followed suit and gone in a similar direction, although it does offer hope about a similar upgrade being implemented at some stage. Imagine having one friend venture out to La Liga, another in the Premier League, and you’re based in France – clashing in the Champions League.
Signing players from friends. Beating them in online matches within a Career Mode campaign. Competing for the biggest jobs in Europe. Having to fend off fierce competition for scouting. Having your players want to sign for another friend’s team and handing in a transfer request. This is all of the things connected Career Mode could give us, and should give us, so hopefully, 2020 is the year they pull the trigger.
They’ve already done it in Madden. Now, it should be FIFA’s turn.