EA's FIFA 21 Official Gameplay Trailer Highlights Major Refinements, Greater Player Control

FIFA 21 Trailer Details
If I had a nickel every time someone gave a dirty look during a professional football match, I’d be broke

FIFA returns with improvements almost three decades in the making

Electronic Arts released the Official Gameplay Trailer early on August 4, two days after teasing the announcement all over social media, whereby clicking the link led to an agonizing premier countdown on EA Sports FIFA’s YouTube channel.

FIFA 21 Gameplay Trailer

FIFA 21 will mark the series’ twenty-eighth entry since their first foray back in 1993. Like its predecessors, FIFA 21 aims to refine and build upon the mechanics and gameplay that have carried the franchise through college dorms and professional tourneys throughout the decades.

Creativity is king when it comes to FIFA 21, just as the trailer stresses player agency, and the ability to adapt on the fly will determine the winner more often than not. Skill, "Both on and off the ball," suggests that fans will have much more control in creating plays between both active and AI-controlled players – depending on the situation. With just a tap of the right bumper (on consoles) and a flick of the right stick, players can direct AI teammates into the proper position instead of just hoping they get the right idea.

Dribbling ability has always been a staple skill among FIFA players, and FIFA 21 is no different. The brand new 'Agile Dribbling' is a way for players to maintain intimate, responsive command of the ball. As a direct upgrade to previous iterations, EA designed Agile Dribbling to be, "more explosive, agile, and fluid, while still ensuring it remains similar to what is seen on the real life pitch.”

To help balance Agile Dribbling, FIFA 21 will have a 'Jockeying' system for defenders to keep track of attacking players. The balance between Agile Dribbling and Jockying will be a key feature that EA will monitor closely after the game releases.

Every year EA hopes to make FIFA more authentic to real life, and this year is no different. EA has stressed the player's 'Positioning Personality,' whereby virtual footballers will emulate their real-life counterparts by accurately recreating the situational awareness one would expect of the professional elites.

Aside from improvements to the fundamentals of gameplay e.g., passing, heading, blocking, etc. FIFA 21 has improved upon other aspects such as difficulty with the new 'Competitor Mode,' which allows players to experience high-level play, similar to what they'd face if they matched up against top-level FIFA players.

Another is ‘VOLTA SQUADS’ – a 5v5 game mode building upon the original VOLTA introduced in FIFA 20, which in itself was a throwback to FIFA Street. Players, and up to three friends, will be able to "show off [their] style in cages and courts around the world throughout various forms of small-sided football.”

It wouldn't be a FIFA game without fan accusations of 'scritping' - whereby the game AI "cheats" buy ramping up difficulty or adjusting key statistics in critical moments, much to the frustration of many players. EA has always denied the existence of such a feature, and while there isn't any concrete proof of implementation, many were quick to point out a patent EA filed for 'Dynamic difficulty adjustment' (DDA). Despite EA's assurance, it didn't stop people from asking if the 'feature' would be included in the next installment during a Q&A thread on Twitter.



The thread then evolved into players throwing vitriol at each other and EA. Players accused each other of blame-shifting due to lack of skill, blind allegience to EA, but most people simply accused EA of lying through their teeth. Some even floated theories that scripting is used to subtly reward players who are more likely to spend real money in-game.

Barely mentioned in the trailer, FIFA Ultimate Team is making yet another return much to fans and lawmakers' contention. Despite being criticized as 'pay-to-win’ by players and gambling by legislators, it still remains as one of the most popular game modes. However, no one is shocked by the return of Ultimate Team, especially since it raked in $716 million in the first half of the 2020 fiscal year and accounted for 28% of all EA revenue across all games in 2019.

The gameplay trailer and accompanying articles are just the first of many waves of new information that EA has released, with more to be expected in the coming months. Besides improvements to the base game, it will be interesting to see how EA navigates the current gaming climate, and the anti-loot box’ sentiment EA themselves ignited during the release of Star Wars Battlefront II. (Anyone remember "Suprise Mechanics?")

In-line with one of the more well-regarded trends in modern gaming, FIFA 21 will offer a ‘Dual Entitlement.' It ensures that console players will be able to upgrade their copies from PlayStation 4 and Xbox One to the next-gen equivalents at no extra cost until the release of FIFA 22. As of writing, it appears that this deal will not apply to PC or Nintendo Switch users.

FIFA 21 will launch for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on October 9th, although the Switch version will be severely limited in new features. Those who pre-ordered the Ultimate and Champions Editions will get access on October 6th.

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Jose is a left-handed techno-mancer with an affinity for IPAs, big dogs, and black-and-white movies. Rebels are scum, Empire for life.
Gamer Since: 2004
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Mortal Kombat 1, Rimworld, Baldur's Gate 3
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