'FIFA 12' Wishlist Revisited
And the Current State of Soccer/Football Video Games.
So several years ago I made a FIFA 12 wishlist and put it on my personal Facebook, and since, I've thought about starting commenting (well, venting really) about the current state of sports video games I thought a logical first step might be taking a look at my only other semi-public attempt at this and having a look.
“We're only 5 months from October (FIFA's traditional release date) and only 3 months from August (FIFA's needed release date to be inline with the Premier League & Europe like it should proper; how many Europeans do you think print out the Madden cover just so they can throw darts at it b/c Madden is the reason FIFA gets delayed? It's gotta be at least a few thousand, and the rest are turning a blind eye), so in short, FIFA 12 is probably already made so this is really a 13 wishlist, but hey if things could be improved faster more power too you.1) Career Mode: Check out I AM Playr, now that's what the single person sports experience should be like! It's amazing, the only thing they have wrong is that they have 2 no-win scenarios that I've encountered so far: "The Fifty-Fifty" & whatever the label for Deano trying to create chemistry with a couple drinks was called. Being a Trekkie: I do not believe in NO-WIN SCENARIOS. Of course I know that realistically this is impossible to do with real squads and teams for privacy and logistical reasons, but FIFA should AIM HIGH! If all they could do is do it on a fiction basis like I AM Playr is doing it would still be fantastic!”
So EA has come somewhat halfway on that first comment by making September FIFA's Month in recent years, but it's still absurd that Madden comes out first during their preseason yet FIFA is still lagging behind actual meaningful games. Of course Live Seasons and Weekly Moments would have to come back for that to be meaningfully incorporated in the game anyways, outside of the simple gripe that you can't start your Career Mode until after a month's worth of those real games have been played.
Arguably, 'The Journey' is FIFA's I AM Playr Mode, and it's a mixed bag. The Journey was leaps and bounds ahead of ordinary Player Career, but that's only because Player Career is so terrible to begin win. The absurd catalog of achievements to earn your skills instead of a true XP system you can spend on any of your skills including Weak Foot and Skills Moves would be more fitting. Adding player training helped alleviate this some, but it has its limitations, too. It's easy to get tired of fast. It's also weird that you still can't be subbed into a game you don't start; it's either starting and playing 90, starting and being subbed off, or not playing at all. Which who does that happen to in real football, besides when Carlos Tevez decides he won't come off the bench. Not getting any Transfer/Loan Offers no matter what you do or accomplish. Absurdly getting called up for International Football even when you're playing in League 2, trust me, even me and my fellow American die-hards would be up in arms if we called up someone from the League 1 level, let alone League 2.
Anyways, back to the point of that last paragraph. The Journey did really well and I'm sure it influenced a great wave of sales from Casual Players and Career Mode Hornsbiesque die-hards alike. To be fair to the comparison, it's possible the FIFA team never even heard about or played I AM Playr and were more trying to copy the success of NBA2K's MyCareer Story Modes. Looking at the story as a whole it's hard to gauge. What I can say for the sales perspective is that in my personal case The Journey is the only reason I bought FIFA 17. I was enjoying my Career Modes on FIFA 16, and sadly, FIFA 16 is still probably the best FIFA since FIFA 13. The negative side of that, from EA's perspective, is that I was willing to wait and sate my appetite for it with playthroughs from my favorite Career Mode YouTubers and got FIFA 17 discounted in the same Amazon Purchase I got FIFA 18. So going in having seen the first Chapter of what would end up being a trilogy (unless they change their minds and surprise us with FIFA 20), I decided to play with Alex Hunter as Leicester City so that part of the story would be more realistic, and frankly I was still swept up in their incredible story and the thought of playing with them the season after in this single player mode was appealing. Only being able to control one player, and an attacking player at that, for my Manchester United side in need of a Defensive Overhaul would've been too realistic and depressing.
With the second Chapter, I wish we'd have had the choice to stay with our club. The way they did it within the story made sense and was good, but from the outside looking in, it seemed like it was just an excuse to have us club hopping for the sake of things not getting stale, when if you had picked the club you support in the first place or a compelling story like Leicester as I did, it wasn't going to get stale in the first place for you. Call it a symptom of catering to the fickle Ultimate Team Crowd and the Casuals, but still.
Now here's where I have to come clean, I haven't purchased FIFA 19. I've owned FIFAs 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 06, 07, 09, 1011, (rented 12 on Gamefly), 13, 14, 16, 17, and 18. But it's fair to say I've been in it for the long haul, and I do follow a lot of FIFA YouTube: MasterBucks, FNG, VapexKarma, and Ches to name a few. So I'm up to date on the state of FIFA 19. And as you'll see it's pretty ironic as further down my old Wishlist was the UEFA License, but similarly to my reasoning on FIFA 17. Which FIFA 18 is kind of grouped with that, as my purchase of both was for the World Cup Update (another separate gripe that that is sadly necessary as my biggest interest was fixed our mistakes and playing a Hexagonal Qualifying Campaign with my United States only to find we couldn't do it this cycle, #TypicalFIFA). So yeah, FIFA 16 was quality. Kept my attention for two and a half years, and I had three different Career Modes I played regularly, and I think I got nearly a third through my Plymouth Argyle Road to Glory, and I took them all the way to the Premier League and was in either that 1st Premier League Campaign or the 2nd. A Manchester United Career Mode Predictably with a similar timeline, and lastly, I'd grown such a solid crop of Youth Players on my favorite FIFA 13 Manchester United Career Mode that I decided to recreate them as created players and place them on Norwich (also the team I chose for the Season 1 loan BTW for the kits; when I choose to write about myself, you'll find a lot of green and gold/yellow in there). Anyways, long point shortened, I'm still so enjoying my FIFA 18 Career Modes, when I can see past the flaws of course, that I wasn't really into buying FIFA 19 just for the UEFA License or The Journey Chapter 3 at release. And now I'm on the fence about finishing The Journey at all.
See, my choice of Leicester was brilliant for Chapters 1 & 2, but with the Chapter 3 character arcs for FIFA 19, Danny's Story would seem rather hampered by Leicester rather than enhanced by it. What would fit more properly if I could do it would be to have Danny also join a new club. Have him semi-realistically join United perhaps. Or maybe the rare but getting-less-rare-lately Englishman abroad story at say, Dortmund. Anyways, then to keep your original club involved, Kim could have joined your original club's women's team; if FIFA actually gave a damn about Women's Clubs and a Women's Career Mode, the FA Women's Super League would be one of the logical starting points. Another side gripe we'll revisit later. Now before you Foxes come rushing at me, yes Leicester proved their worth in Europe in their 16/17 Champions League Campaign, and I was rooting for you lot the whole way hoping you could follow in Nottingham Forrest's Footsteps. But by FIFA 19, it's trying to play an almost exclusively Champions League Story with a non-Champions League Club. And I guess the crux of it for me personally is the Women's Game. I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, with how well Kim's storyline is for The Journey Chapter 3, that maybe we were going to get a France 2019 Update that was going to be on par with Russia 2018 at least. Which while that bit was crap, cutting the World Cup short like that, for the Women's Game, their Qualifying is so odd and unknown that not having their qualifying still makes sense for now. But nope, all we got was the World Cup Final Stadium and a Drop in Kickoff Mode that if memory serves still didn't even incorporate all 24 World Cup Teams. So lads, I guess that's it for FIFA 19, and me, I can do without it. And I suppose having no love for Real Madrid doesn't help, but I could've got past that if the Danny and Kim Situations were better.
"A) Manager/Player-Manager part of Career Mode: FIFA you've had nearly a decade to get the UEFA rights and you just sit on your arse, please get them. It is absolutely a pain to not have the Champions League by name in the game, and that you have to wait though your 1st season b4 you can play the tournament. The only consolation of man city getting the 4th berth yesterday is that Man Utd fans like myself can chant: 'Not 'til FIFA 13, Not til Season 2!.' I love the Player-Manager part, but it's unrealistic that just any player can be a PM from the start. Shouldn't you have to be the Captain and over 32 or something. Like a Ryan Giggs or Paul Scholes are the the only types of players who deserve to try it, and history tells us it doesn't really work anyway so please just give us FIFA 10s Manager Mode back and improve and work with it!"
Ok, so my personal gripe about not having the UEFA License was largely dealt with before they even got it when they added the Europe in theFirst Season Option for Career Mode. So really the only part of having the License now that appeals to me is having all of the proper teams, but hilariously you can't even play the actual Group Stage of Season 1 unless you rig it yourself. Which I guess works, if you're playing as one of those teams in the Playoff Round or a club from those countries you'd want to have that incorporated in your Europe in First Season. Oh wait, if you're a Playoff Round Club, you still have to rig it because you don't have that option. Great job, EA. And yes, sadly I think we're still somewhat longing for even FIFA 10 Manager Mode, as that era at the birth of Ultimate Team was the beginning of the end of Quality Career Mode. Which I think most of us can all agree that FIFA 07, sadly, is still the deepest and best Career Mode.
As a quick breakaway, since I oddly didn't cover it back then, the thing I miss the most from FIFA 07 and that era with 05 and 06 was being able to Sim Games yet still Intervene. I played an entire Season in a day that way with Celtic for FIFA 05. I remember that specifically because I bought Landon Donovan and was scoring all kinds of crazy freekicks with a player that isn't exactly known for his freekicks because they were so overpowered that year. But as a kid that was really, really fun. And frankly similar to Madden's Playstyles (Forgive me Father for I have sinned: giving Modern Madden a compliment. But that's another article.) You could have different Freekick Options available. That Overpowered "Everybody's David Beckham Meter" for your son, and a realistic, more skill-based control for yourself. Frankly they need to do that for all of Career Mode. Give us the depth we want, but make it optional so your kids or beginners can make it more simple if they want. And hey, like 2K MyLeague,you could even make it possible to add depth back when those players feel ready for it.
"2) Both Genders: Yes, I know that this is both not going to happen and that it's not a popular idea, but it's a Women's World Cup year, you could have had a game for their tournament as a test run. And if a non-Tennis sports game had both genders, you could put them in separate sections. For men just use the Main Menu, for the women hit, Rt Trigger for their Main Menu. It wouldn't be hard! And only the National Teams, WPS, and the Women's UEFA Champs League would be all it would take to make the game credible plus their Creation Cetre and Rest of the World options."
Largely touched on all of this from The Journey Section, but yes. I feel like they could legit release a game for the Women's World Cup and turn a profit. Of course they more likely could've went the DLC Route and it would've be great. But what we got was insulting to all women and all fans of the women's game. A Stadium and a Kickoff Mode, big whoop. I guess it shows how dated a FIFA 12 wishlist is and the struggles of the Women's Game that it was still the WPS back then. Which that's also another possible separate article. I suppose the fact that it felt so unlikely and impossible back than and that it took another five years to get Women's Teams and a Women's Tournament Mode does show the progress, but it's stagnated. The only real update is the rosters and Kim's World Cup Storyline in The Journey, that's it. Think of the untapped market of female players that would be more interested in purchasing game if you had a legit Career Mode with the NWSL and the UEFA Women's Champions League. And frankly, the iron is hot and it needs to be struck now off the back of the most open Women's World Cup in history. With the Women's Game still in the spotlight for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics (yet another preview segue as there are numerous FIFA Tournaments not on FIFA). True, there's not a lot to go on on predicting that market, as an ancient Mia Hamm Game is the only women's soccer-specific video game title out there, but it's actually not really necessary. The regular Career Mode Base of Players is calling for this anyways just to have a new type of Career Mode to try. And frankly also it's insulting that you can't Create a Women's Player and Edit their rosters.
"3) More Tournaments: Kinda goes with Manager/Career Mode as I would want all tournaments to be included within Manager/Career Mode. But not having the UEFA Champs by name is bad enough. The other 5 continents should have theirs to shoot for, i.e. there really is no point in playing a Career Mode as an MLS team without the CONCACAF Champs League and the Club World Cup to aim for! A) National Team Tournaments: Not everyone is Brazil, We need the Gold Cup, Copa America, etc. to have a reason for the National Teams to be on the game besides Friendlies! To me winning the Gold Cup & qualifying for the 2013 Confed Cup is the #1 thing the USMNT has to focus on all year and it's not incorporated in the game (Yeah I know you'd actually have to have every National Team on the game like the World Cup Game to do this, but you've already got 21 Leagues on here Give me a Break!"
Here's where the article picture comes in; I'm so desperate for CONCACAF Champions League that I finally decided to just try a work around. Put the MLS teams I wanted to work with in Russia, Mexico in Turkey, Canada, Texas, and Chicago in Scotland. And make relevant Groups. So I know FIFA 2002 was bare bones, those of us that remember, but it is still sadly my favorite FIFA of all time for the simple reason that it does have all the National Teams as they put the Qualifying part of the World Cup on FIFA, and you had to save a file to import to the 2002 Korea/Japan Game for the World Cup Proper. Or just, you know, put your results into a Custom Tournament like I seemingly did hundreds or thousands of times. Still will never forget the time Michael Owen got a Straight Red against me despite already being Booked. The animations differentiated that as a 2nd Yellow followed by the Red was a big animation detail back then. And low key all the National Team Tournaments are in FIFA 2002. And there's actually an odd incentive to play them as winning each tournament unlocks a different player card from each region. The only real link to Ultimate Team that OG FIFA had, but hey back then actual in person Trading Cards were big. Go to your local Sports Memorabilia Shops, Lads. Adding to the 21 Leagues Comment, that's actually pretty low in the grand scheme of things and one of modern FIFA's saving graces is that they are trying to add more leagues. But they should keep it going. I miss having the Israeli League in particular personally. It was on FIFA 2001, a FIFA also without Manchester City, *sigh*.
"4) Stadiums: The Best of the Best shouldn't get preferential treatment. If NCAA Football can have have all 120 D-1 Stadiums, Bowl Games, and Neutral Sites, you should have every Premier League/Championship, La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga Stadium plus the Top 3 of everyone else's League at the VERY LEAST! In a lot of ways it's REALLY bad that FIFA is so popular, b/c it seems like EA has let them get complacent! One Humble FIFA Players Opinion, Sean."
Gut punch making myself miss the NCAA Football Series, but this is one of the areas FIFA has improved on. Comparing to my direct quote, we've got the Premier League, a large part of the Championship covered just from the attrition of relegated teams, and La Liga covered. A third of the Bundesliga if memory serves (my poor Dortmund FIFA 18 Career Mode is dead never to be heard from again thanks to Pulisic betraying his United Supporting Roots and leaving Dortmund for Chelsea.) Serie A hasn't really improved that much on Stadiums, but hopefully it's coming. Could be one of their focuses this year as I bet they were as shocked as the rest of us by CR7 going to Juventus and didn't really have much time to address it for 19. "The Top 3 of everyone else's" is the big one we're lacking, and even for places it shouldn't. Like why don't we have the Russian & Brazil World Cup Stadiums for Career Mode (which Brazil and Licensing is it's own entirely separate minefield.) And South Africa for that matter. Africa is woefully underrepresented in the game, and bringing over the stadiums from the 2010 World Cup Game, the best World Cup Game BTW, would've been a great starting point. Technically still could be. Anyways that's the basic manifesto. Other things in no particular order: Sponsors, Changing Kit Sponsors, Kit Designer, why not have all your old kits, like why can't we have all the kits from this generation available. Like why shouldn't we be able to play Plymouth Argyle with their 15/16 Home Kit versus Norwich in their 15/16 Third Kit on FIFA 20. Which borrowing from old kits, Classic Teams. You're already putting Legends in Ultimate Team, why not have Treble United, 2002 USA, 11/12 Dortmund, 15/16 Leicester, Invincibles Arsenal, heck, 89 Arsenal (I give Arsenal somewhat of a pass on rivalry intensity because Fever Pitch is the best football movie ever made, and that's a frightfully shallow pool. Goal Trilogy, The Miracle Match, Gracie, United, The Damned United, Next Goal Wins, One Night in Turin, A Shot At Glory, Victory. Football films don't quite have anywhere near the depth chart baseball films do).Anyways point being there's plenty of great teams we'd like to revisit with the modern game; it's one of NBA2K's best selling points actually. Getting all the different Gary Paytons in a playoff tournament with the 95-96 Sonics, 03-04 Lakers, and 05-06 Heat all attending is one of my basketball jams. Let's see, Youth Team Football. More depth to Youth Scouting/Academy/Recruiting. More Contract Clauses. I might as well stop it and say it. FIFA and Football Manager need to go on Holiday and make a baby. And frankly, I don't think we the Career Mode Players are going to happy until you do that, EA. Again, Sean. Which maybe that's why you won't give us what we want, I only own one Football Manager Game, FM 16. Because frankly, FM's so good I want to take my saves into the deep future before I start over with a new game. FM is too good for its own good. FIFA, the procrastinating stepchild, is treating their game like last second homework to turn in. Where is your passion, EA? Do you even want to make a proper football game???