With the almost unstoppable rise of FUT, Career mode in FIFA games has slowly become an afterthought. When FUT generates as much money for EA as it does, though, it’s hard not to blame them for focusing most of their efforts on something millions play, much in the same way that Rockstar and Take-Two seem to have abandoned plans for single-player DLC for GTA V thanks to the success of GTA Online.
Although they might not be as numerous, there are still those who play FIFA just for Career, myself included. In my opinion, it just feels more like football compared to the speedy winger cheesing found in Ultimate Team, or even something like Seasons. The day-to-day drama of the sport is simply better reflected than it ever could be when playing online.
With EA seemingly complacent with everything non-FUT, Career has been slacking in recent editions. There are small, welcome changes, sure, but the big picture is that of a mode that’s not moving forward to represent the complete package. EA should be striving to emulate Football Manager, not struggling to keep up with LMA Manager 2007.
With that in mind, here are some much needed changes for FIFA 18’s Career mode that I would love to see. Anything else you want in the next FIFA? Let me know.
5. Better youth system
It’s great that FIFA has introduced a more in-depth approach to implementing new players into Career, but it’s just not quite there yet, especially if you’re playing in a top 8 side. There just simply isn’t room in the squad to potentially give your opponents an advantage with a rough talent letting the team down.
A lot of this is down to just how amateur youngsters feels when given a run out against the big boys. For some reason, they’re almost always midgets, so they’re likely to get bullied off the ball with ease. Couple that with sloppy ball control, the impossibility of beating opponents, and the stamina of a ten year old dog and it’s hard to advise putting them in your team. They’re rough diamonds, but whenever a youngster bursts onto the scene in the real game, there’s usually something to get excited about. You can’t say the same of FIFA.
4. More manager customisation options
FIFA 17 brought with it realistic manager likenesses for the first time in the series’ history – well, unless you’re Everton’s Ronald Koeman, who just looked like something that would live under your bed. This also extended to Career, where the customisation options for your custom managers were slightly improved upon while still lacking a lot of flexibility.
It wouldn’t be the hardest thing in the world for EA to add a broader range of possibilities for manager faces and styles. With Andromeda showing that it’s possible to do player customisation (no matter how disappointingly) on the Frostbite engine, making your manager look less like a PE teacher shouldn’t be too hard a stretch for FIFA 18’s Career.
3. Deeper player relationships
Here’s the scenario: your star player wants to leave. He banged in a couple against West Brom and now thinks he’s the best player there is or ever will be. He hands in a transfer request and demands to be sold in the window. Instead of being able to talk to talk the player out of it, all you can do is keep playing him and hope that he just forgets all about.
Any good team is only as good as the manager who keeps them happy, so there needs to be a more complicated look at the relationships between you as the manager and the players. With The Journey creeping RPG-lite elements into its experience, a list of choices to respond to concerns or questions that your players have would be a more realistic approach to management. Likewise, if players are going through a rut or are in a fine run of form, there should be more opportunities to motivate or praise them outside of press conferences. This could also extend to players who have played for you for years being more loyal, which could lead to an improvement in stats somewhere.
2. Big transfers feel bigger
Apart from the customary bit of text to accompany the announcement of a new signing and an intro during their debut, big transfers aren’t made to be that big a deal in FIFA. Once they’ve played a couple of games, they just feel like another member of the squad.
Nuts to that, I want fireworks and streamers and crying children. When my Everton team managed to sell Lukaku to Real Madrid and buy van Dijk and Mbappe with the profits, it just felt like a “so what” moment. In PES, new signings get press conferences and it just seems more important to pull off a transfer coup. It’s a small thing, but one that’s going to do wonders for immersion.
1. Fan dynamics
Speaking of immersion, over the many hours I have sunk into FIFA’s Career mode, it has rarely felt like there’s any kind of connection to speak of with fans. They cheer when you score and boo when you play poorly, but that’s about it.
The Journey introduced a social feed to give fan feedback to Alex Hunter in a similar way to what’s been seen in the NBA 2K series over the years. Perhaps that would be perfect for FIFA, too? After each win, you can make a positive tweet or send out an apology whenever a loss comes around. If your job security is threatened by the board, a good relationship with the fans could even save you. A neat little addition that would do wonders for making you feel like the second coming of Iain Dowie.