Despite FIFA releases being a concrete annual event, there are many factors that could have seen the upcoming FIFA 21 hit with a delay. However, EA have now put that idea to bed.
Of the last five FIFA games, all have been released between September 22 and 29. All indications point to a release date of September 25, 2020, but some players have been concerned about the current global situation potentially impacting that launch schedule.
While it has become a staple of the FIFA series, there was always a chance that FIFA 21 could come under threat because of a number of factors. However, EA chiefs have finally shed some light on the situation.
FIFA 21 will not be delayed, EA confirm
During the company's fourth quarter fiscal earnings call for 2020, EA chiefs reassured investors and fans that the plans to release FIFA 21 this Autumn have not changed – even if real football seasons look uncertain, at the time of writing.
Many leagues have postponed competition, with some even coming to the decision to void their annual competition altogether. However, EA will not be changing their course, apparently.
CEO Andrew Wilson said: "We have a long history of creating spectacular sports content that’s not directly dependent or reliant on the real world of sports," echoing comments from CFO Blake Jorgensen.
Jorgensen added: "We know today people are engaging with sports because that’s what they love to do. If you are a sports fan, it doesn’t stop,” he said. “And so the only way they’re getting their sports engagement is through our games, and that’s a huge benefit for us."
The Premier League, for example, has suspended all football until at least April 30. This means the season is all but guaranteed to finish beyond the normal mid-May endpoint. Hence, this will force transfer windows to be pushed back to give players their typical summer breaks.
A lot about the sport calendar might differ from previous years in 2020, but as suggested by the EA chiefs, the new FIFA title should be able to continue on the same course as usual, unaffected by the football seasons.
What this decision means for updated kits, teams and staff – which are a staple of every new version – remains to be seen.
Will next-gen consoles affect FIFA 21's release?
In short, probably. Here, we have to go off the back of the release of FIFA 14, which came just weeks before the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One. EA released the PS3/Xbox 360 versions of FIFA 14 as normal, before adding a 'next-gen' version when the consoles themselves dropped.
We can, therefore, expect something similar to happen this year. It's likely FIFA 21 will launch for PS4 and Xbox One, before a next-gen version is released alongside the consoles themselves.
However, with the global crisis seeing large portions of office staff cannot carry out their jobs properly, there is a very real risk that both the PS5 and Xbox One X will see some kind of delay too.
On the back of this, the current-gen version of FIFA 21 looks set for Autumn 2020, with a next-gen version released alongside the consoles.