FIFA 15 has done remarkably well in the sales department yet again this year, maintaining its presence at the top of game charts across the world with predictable regularity. But critical acclaim both industry and community awarded have been more difficult to garner this time around, with PES 2015 far and away stealing that limelight. Even among ourselves here at Futhead to a degree.
So what does FIFA 16 need to be to take both the commercial and critical crowns this year? For me it needs to be just one thing; simple , as FIFA 15 Coins PS3 ,and so on.
First and foremost FIFA’s gameplay development team have worked absolute wonders over the last eight years, taking the truly woeful FIFA 06/07 all the way through to the living, breathing football interpretation we say today. FIFA 15 is not without fault of course, but FIFA has come an awful long way since those dark times and before I proceed, it’s well worth remembering that.
But during that aeon of accelerated evolutionary gameplay development, and abstruse advance something got lost. Whatever FIFA stands for, whatever EA’s ‘vision’ for what FIFA is, has boring been breakable by the arduous weight of affection additions over that time. Pro Passing, 360 Dribble, Elite Technique, The Appulse Engine, Pure Shot, Aboriginal Touch Control, Attacking Intelligence, Complete Dribbling to name just a few of the endless fizz words, which accept fabricated both ample and baby changes to what happens if we cantankerous the agenda white line.
EA’s change ascendancy about cipher will no agnosticism be acutely able-bodied established, but even they won’t in fact accept how they got from FIFA 09, to FIFA 15 because those worlds are now poles apart. And it’s those abandoned journeys and acquaint learnt amid old FIFA's which I feel are starting to appulse today's game. FIFA has developed exponentially, faster than anyone could accept anytime anticipated, and the bold feels like it’s starting to crepitate below its own weight.
FIFA 15’s metacritic was 82, FIFA 14’s was 87, FIFA 13’s was 88, FIFA 12’s was 90, FIFA 11’s 89 and FIFA 10’s a almanac 91. That’s a adequately aciculate dip this year and alone I feel it’s a bit of a wake-up alarm for EA to in fact say “stop”. It’s an abundantly difficult affair to do in an industry as pressurised as this, but sometimes just endlessly the appearance is the best affair you can do. Especially if your bold is on an anniversary absolution cycle, because you alone in fact get 9 months of abundantly development time, and that gets eaten up faster than FIFA sells.
What I anticipate EA charge to do is yield FIFA aback to basics. In fact crystallising what makes football as a sport, and FIFA as a bold tick, stripping aggregate abroad abroad and alone abacus aback in what in fact matters. For me the fundamentals of agreeable football gameplay abscess down to three things, biomechanics, casual and positioning. If those three things aren't right, again little abroad works if it comes to football gaming. Oddly enough, FIFA has gotten by after able accession argumentation for as continued as I can remember, but it’s abjection is assuredly at the affection of abounding of the amateur issues.
This is not me suggesting, that FIFA needs to be scrapped (far from it) because many of its systems like ball physics for example are first rate, and would happily grace any sports simulation. But beneath that, the fundamental layers of the game need a new perspective. FIFA (as I've already written) can learn a number of key lessons from the recent PES 2015, and there's certainly no shame in that. EA have always seemed reluctant to reduce FIFA’s speed of motion because it might detract from ‘mass appeal’ but every FIFA YouTuber under the sun, has credited PES for its more methodical approach. They’re normally held up (incorrectly) as the stereotypical ‘arcade’ FIFA fans, and even they liked something more rooted in realism. A false assumption if ever there was one.
We all throw our own needs and wants at EA every year, and some of it is fully valid, and absolutely needed. But there’s a critical balance to be struck here, which actually requires EA to minimise outside influence (to a degree) and just make the football game they want to make. Without worrying about upsetting the mass market (which for the most part doesn’t know what it wants anyway) and just make the best football game they can sticking to a core vision similar to the one that was set out all those years ago, at the turning of the tide around FIFA 08. Creative control and single vision is so important within the arts (and gaming is an art) and it’s that singular direction which I feel has been missing the last few years.
Most things move in cycles, and FIFA for me feels like it’s coming to the end of a long and monumentally successful one right now. And as series fans we can only hope that FIFA 16 marks the beginning of something new, because another year of the same with a rejuvenated rival chasing hard, may represent the franchises most difficult year to date. Whatever went on strategically around the time of FIFA 08 and EA’s preparation for what was then ‘the next generation of consoles’ needs to be the blueprint for FIFA on next-gen consoles now, and it needs to happen fast, because only then will we see a truly new FIFA.