A big feature of FIFA 17 when it was announced last year was that we'd get a story mode that follows young talent Alex Hunter as he rose through the ranks of a Premier League team of your choosing, having to deal with the pressures of fame, the relationships around him, and the challenges of being a footballer. When we went to a preview event for FIFA 18 recently, it was revealed that Alex Hunter would be coming back in The Journey: Hunter Returns, since the game mode was so well-received last year, and we also got some new details about what this would entail.
Alex Hunter will start his journey in FIFA 18 in Rio de Janeiro, playing football with the locals, before heading back to the UK where things start heating up, with transfer speculation all over the news. There are going to be new destinations during his journey, including a visit to LA for a pre-season tour. Also, at the end of the first Journey there are rumours you'll be called up to the England squad for the World Cup, so that could play into it too.
The Journey: Hunter Returns also makes big changes in terms of structure, as Prior revealed that feedback from last year suggested players felt a little aimless at times, especially when on loan, so this year they've divided the campaign into six distinct chapters, with clear goals in each of these.
Perhaps one of the most welcome changes coming to this sequel, though, is customisation. Last year, aside from the team kit you wore, you had no choice in how you looked or how you dressed, and now both of these things are being changed. New hairstyles are being introduced, for instance, and the examples we were given range from the low-key to the more Pogba-esque patterned and dyed hair. Your clothing can also be changed too, which we can only assume will be reflected during cutscenes when you're not on the pitch, and you can also have tattoos, although not on the face. This is all in the hopes that no two Hunters will be the same, and your experience will be that touch more personal.
The cast is being extended this time around as well, so there's going to be more characters interacting with Hunter and his story (we were shown a screenshot of an unnamed woman), and more famous faces. We know the cover star Cristiano Ronaldo will be in there, for instance, and he will be present early on in the story to influence your Journey, as Prior teased. There are even other playable characters throughout the story, we were told, and local multiplayer can be deployed so a friend can join you, although Prior said: "right now it's just the two of you on a team [but] what we're looking at hopefully is getting in the ability to pick any player."
Prior also discussed feedback from players that The Journey in FIFA 17 didn't have too much impactful choice, and this year there are some key decisions that have a "significant impact" on characters and events. Again, details were kept sealed, and nothing more was said, but this implies more than just choosing how cool or heated you are in a conversation.