Everything we know about UFL: New free-to-play FIFA & PES eFootball rival coming soon

Cristiano Ronaldo collecting ball in UFLUFL

While FIFA and Pro Evo Soccer have dominated the football game scene for years, a new contender is entering the arena in the form of the mysterious, free-to-play UFL. Here’s everything we know about it so far.

It’s been quite some time since FIFA and PES’ standing in the virtual footballing world was challenged. Years ago, games like Red Card and This is Football built cult followings, but they never quite grew enough to dislodge the more well-established football titans.

As fans have grown tired of FIFA, some hopped over to PES — now named eFootball. But it does lack all the licenses, and its rebooted identity has had issues, making FIFA the cream of the crop.

There are some players who have simply grown tired of both games and wanted a new challenger to throw their hat into the ring. And, well, they’ve somewhat had their calls heard with UFL.


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Football players in the tunnel in UFLUFL/Strikerz Inc
Details on UFL are slim, but football fans are hopeful.

Does UFL have a release date yet?

Currently, the only release date available for UFL is 2022.

Strikerz, the developers behind UFL, have given a release window for their free-to-play football title: “When it’s ready” in 2022.

After first being announced at Gamescom 2021, there’s still no solid date on when it’ll be dropping. However, the developers are working around the clock to try and get it out before the year’s end.

UFL gameplay reveal

In their January 27 gameplay reveal, the developers behind UFL shared a few snippets of gameplay alongside plenty of their motion-tracking-created cutscenes.

They also talked about the core tenants of their game: “Making it totally accessible, fair-to-play, and a fresh experience in the football gaming space.”

The related segment begins at 14:48.

This includes creating a unified “global online league with division-based ranking and fair matchmaking system”. The last point was heavily emphasized on as Strikerz wants to make the UFL grind satisfying for players when they do rank up.

Management-wise, the game plays a lot like FIFA Ultimate Team on first glance. You can create your own club, sign players with in-game currency, and change around tactics and formations to your liking. However, it appears to be fused with some elements from Career Mode too like individual player development.

UFL team selection screenUFL
The team creation experience in UFL looks very similar to FIFA Ultimate Team with a few quirks like individual player upgrades.

What sets it apart from FIFA is the game modes on offer. UFL has promised more team-based ranking systems than what’s currently on the market, as well as the typical array of co-op and offline game modes.

As for those searing shots or sweet slide tackles though, very little actual gameplay footage was revealed. What was there though was similar to FIFA — score in the top left, player names in the bottom corners with stamina, and a few shots on goal to try and show off the smoothness of the engine.

UFL gameplay with west ham player lobbing passUFL
The layout of UFL’s gameplay is similar to other football titles.

Will UFL release new titles every year?

Strikerz has promised players there’ll never be a sequel, with UFL sticking around year after year. You won’t have to invest in a new title each year like the FIFA cycle with “seamless and persistent gameplay”.

Your squad won’t be wiped each year, but you can earn seasonal rewards and trophies that’ll remain in your club permanently.

UFL platforms

UFL will be available on console platforms only, so PlayStation and Xbox players will be able to test out the new football title on the block.

PC and Nintendo Switch players will be missing out for now, but developers have promised a potential expansion depending on the game’s success.

What licenses will UFL have?

As noted, UFL will have player likenesses and licenses from FIFPro – the organization that represents more than 65,000 professional players from across the globe. They’re the same group that supplies EA SPORTS with their likenesses and licenses.

The game has also partnered with a few football clubs too – West Ham United, AS Monaco, Besiktas, Borussia Monchengladbach, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sporting Lisbon, Celtic, and Rangers being the most notable of which – but they haven’t announced any partnerships with leagues just yet.

UFL has also revealed a number of ambassadors for the game, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Kevin de Bruyne.

EA and eFootball have pretty much sewn up the major league licenses from across the globe and have exclusive rights to those, so it’s unlikely they’d be able to share. It could be the case that UFL works like PES and has to use vague terms like ‘Spanish League’ or ‘Spanish Division’ for La Liga, for example.

Of course, EA are dropping the ‘FIFA’ branding after FIFA 23, but don’t expect UFL to pick it up. FIFA themselves are trying to launch their own game to compete with EA, which means we’ll have four football games on the market before long.

Ronaldo, Zinchenko, Lukaku, De Bruyne, and Firmino in UFLUFL
UFL has some star ambassadors, including Cristiano Ronaldo.

Regardless, it is a pretty exciting time for football fans who want something new. Whether this new entry to the scene will be the answer to their prayers remains to be seen, but it’s clearly welcomed.

We’ll update this article once more details become available, so keep checking back. In the meantime, why not check out some of the new upcoming releases:

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