Since the Fifa video game series first met its audience in 1993, it has gone through a great number of changes. Be it moving into the next dimension, or expanding the branches of soccer it included (such as managing), it always kept on evolving. Yes, sometimes in an embarrassingly slow manner. But it has always kept the narrative element out of the game. It has always been about the simple progress from one match to the next, playing against your friends or a (maybe) decent computer opponent. At Electronic Arts’ presentation at E3 2016, the company revealed Fifa 17, and it has brought narrative into the field.
Meet Alex Hunter. This is the protagonist of Fifa’s freshest addition and its “Journey” story campaign, a work in progress from EA Vancouver. This is the biggest change to the Fifa franchise in a long time, unless we count things like dynamic physics, improved animations, and new control schemes. But that’s not to say the developer has had time to dawdle, Aaron McHardy who’s the Producer of Fifa 17, said they had put efforts into transforming how the game works not just off court, but on court as well. “We’ve rewritten set pieces to give you creative control over every dead ball, completely overhauled physical play, we’ve built a new intelligence systems so our players are smarter and more active off the ball, and we’ve given you new ways to create chances and finish in front of the goal.”
McHardy continued to mention the decision to switch switch from their Ignite engine “You’ll live your premier league story through the player we just met, Alex Hunter, that is the power of Frostbite, Fifa 17‘s brand new engine. You’ll live in real football worlds, and you’ll meet characters full of depth and emotion.” We’re not sure we’d still call Frostbite a brand new engine (the latest version was first released in 2013), but we’ll let that go for now. It’s unclear how the narrative will mix in with the rest of the game, and whether or not you’ll be able to finish it while playing online matches is a bit dubious. With this kind of plot, it might be hard to pull off.
The presentation took special pride in its first ever inclusion of real managers in the game. We doubt they’ll be doing much voice acting on behalf of Journey, though. Either way, four big ones were named to be included for now: José Mourinho, who aside from his current time with Manchester United, also has been the manager of internationally renowned teams like Real Madrid and Chelsea; Jürgen Klopp, who’s in the process of managing Liverpool; Arsène Wenger, who emphasizes aggressive play with great success together with Arsenal; and Pep Guardiola, the manager of Bayern Munich, who became the world’s youngest manager to win the Champions League.
Fifa 17 is set for release on September 27 year for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.