FIFA 18 is coming soon, and with the approaching release date, scheduled for September 29, the last details about the game are finally being revealed, and there are many changes. As EA Sports puts it, FIFA 17 was a transition game, the first based on the Frostbite engine, but this year the team went full steam ahead with changes based around that engine. In this piece you can see what's new in FIFA 18, even if several of the new features are exclusive to PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Demo, release date, and game editions
EA Sports has yet to officially announce when FIFA 18's playable demo will arrive, but according to information available on the Xbox Store, it should be on September 15. As for the release date, though, this is scheduled for September 29, and will arrive for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
FIFA 18 will be available in three editions, which you can see below (information collected via PS Store):
- Standard Edition: This costs £59.99 and includes a Cristiano Ronaldo loan for five FUT games, five premium jumbo gold packages (one per week for more than 5 weeks), and eight FUT Special Edition kits.
- Cristiano Ronaldo Edition: This costs £79.99 and includes three days of early access, a Cristiano Ronaldo loan for five FUT games, 20 packages of premium jumbo gold (one per week for more than 20 weeks), and eight FUT Special Edition kits.
- Icon Edition: This costs £89.99 and includes three days of early access, a loan of Icon Ronaldo Nazário for five FUT games, 40 premium jumbo gold packages (two per week for more than 20 weeks), 20 player packages of the week's team (one TOTW player loaned three games for more than 20 weeks), and eight FUT Special Edition kits.
"Powered by Cristiano Ronaldo"
The Portuguese Real Madrid star is the cover player of FIFA 18, but his participation isn't limited to promoting the game. Officially the World's Best Player, winner of the last year's Ballon d'Or, Cristiano Ronaldo participated in EA Sports' motion captures, which according to the studios, allowed "to inform gameplay elements such as fluidity, player response, and acceleration."
Cristiano Ronaldo will also be one of the stars found in the Journey mode and he will interact directly with Alex Hunter.
The Journey: Season Two
FIFA's first story mode, The Journey, was very well received in FIFA 17, and this year players will have the chance to continue Alex Hunter's saga with the second season of his career. Having triumphed in the Premier League, Alex Hunter can now move abroad with several leagues at his disposal. Not all clubs will be available, but Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint Germain, and LA Galaxy seem to be among the choices.
The mode will be filled with cinematic sequences, animated by Frostbite, and players will have the opportunity to interact with several characters. The most recurring one will be professional actors, such as Alex's agent, but others will be real coaches and players, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann, Thierry Henry, Dele Alli, Rio Ferdinand, Thomas Müller, and James Harden being some of the names mentioned.
The Journey will also have several new options, including short term goals, the ability to play smaller chapters with other characters, new Hunter customisation options, and even a two-player cooperative mode.
FIFA Ultimate Team Mode
FIFA's most popular mode is naturally back and it is in all versions of the game, including the debut version of the Nintendo Switch. One of the biggest new features is the introduction of Icons, classic players that you can get for your FUT team. This option already existed on the Xbox consoles, but since the exclusivity agreement is over, Icons will now be available in the Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One versions. There'll also be different versions of icons, with different attributes and visual styles, depending on the period from which they are inspired. Maradona, Michael Owen, Ronaldo, Pele, Ronaldinho, and Rio Ferdinand are among these iconic players.
Another novelty is the Squad Battles mode, a single-player feature. As far as we can tell, in this mode players can challenge teams of other players (controlled by artificial intelligence), including teams formed by professional football players, and teams made by the best FIFA players, with performances contributing to a new online ranking.
One of FIFA's oldest modes is still one of the most popular, but there are many changes on the way for the new edition. The biggest is related to the Frostbite engine, which allows EA Sports to introduce a series of cinematic sequences - some interactive, some not.
During negotiations for player transfers, you will now participate in a sequence between club coaches, agents, and players, for example. You can submit proposals, counter-offers, and negotiate values and clauses - including release clauses - and everything is done in one go. Several career moments, including hiring players, best player prizes, and winning titles, will also be presented in new cinematic sequences.
An important part of the career mode will be the management of young players, especially at the training level. FIFA 18 will have more than 15 new Skill Games, which equates to training for career mode, and now you can create specific training programs, which you can set for individual players or groups of players (such as defences, for example).
New atmosphere in stadiums
FIFA 18 will have new stadiums, but perhaps more important than that is how EA Sports used Frostbite to create a more realistic and dynamic atmosphere. The game will include several new elements in the stadiums, from ambulances to marks on the pitch, but more interesting will be the behaviour of the fans.
There are also new ways for supporters to celebrate goals, including running onto the pitch and piling up. Before the games you will see several new effects and choreographies, which will be specific to each region. In Argentina you can see many banners, flags, and torches, something that will not be visible in England, for example. Even during matches there'll be a greater interaction with the audience, such as clapping and songs for free kicks. The most important games, such as classics and derbies, will also have a "special" atmosphere before, during, and after games.
Real Player Motion Technology
According to EA Sports, this new technology allowed "the biggest step of innovation in gameplay in the history of the series". In a more practical sense, we still don't know what this means, but there are already some details. Apparently this has made it possible to create more dynamic and personal animations in order to distinguish the more famous players and their signature movements, for instance.
The dribbling system has received an overhaul, too, fueled by new animations and the capture of movements of players like Cristiano Ronaldo. In addition to new skill moves that you can do with the right stick, the natural dribble will work better, allowing more sudden changes of direction and speed. Player attributes, such as height, weight, ability to dribble, and other characteristics, will also determine the type of animations of the player himself.
Another important novelty in terms of gameplay is the crosses into the box. There are several new types, from crosses that go to the goal direction, to "dipped" crosses, where the ball rises and descends at great speed. Crosses have been somewhat the same for several years, so it's good to see we're getting new options to serve our strikers.
This marks the first year of FIFA for the Nintendo Switch, a very unique version. At least for now, FIFA on the Switch won't use the Frostbite engine, which means it won't get some of the new features that PC, PS4, and Xbox One are getting. The Journey, new stadium atmospheres, and the cinematic sequences on the career mode, are examples of features that won't make it to the Nintendo Switch (or PS3 and Xbox 360 versions).
Still, from what we've already played, it doesn't seem like a lazy port. The game runs pretty well on the Nintendo console, and seems to include most of the new gameplay features. In addition to that, it will have the most traditional versions of career mode and FIFA Ultimate Team, in addition to a unique mode designed to take advantage of the console's portability. Also, on the technical side of things, the game runs at 1080p when docked, and 720p undocked, always at 60FPS.
FIFA 18 arrives on September 29 for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, and below you can see two interviews with producers of the game.
Nintendo Switch Interview
Samuel Rivera Silva Interview