FIFA 19 for Nintendo Switch supervising producer Andrei Lazarescu stepped in front of the Gamereactor camera at Gamescom, just a year after he showed us FIFA running on the hybrid console for the first time. It's been "an incredible year" for both the team and the publisher, and now they're ready to introduce a new entry which means "an evolution in every aspect of the game so whether you look at graphics, you look at modes, multiplayer, gameplay, Ultimate Team... in every place of the game you'll find something new".
The Nintendo Switch version is pretty similar content-wise (The Journey aside) compared to PS4 and Xbox One, and it even has its own unique features to both compensate for the missing ones and to better utilise the system's strengths.
But as one of the most requested modes after FIFA 18, "we're adding online friendlies, one of the most demanded features by the community", confirms Lazarescu in the video interview, "so you and me will be able to play together as friends via multiplayer over a five-match season, and not only in FIFA but also in Ultimate Team".
As confirmed by Gamereactor at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium, the Switch version of FIFA 19 is also getting the new Kick Off mode with plenty of variants, and even a couple of its own. As the producer puts it:
"You'll see some differences between the Kick Off versions [compared to PS4/Xbox One]; some are technically-driven because, for example you can't have multiple online connected accounts on the same console on Switch. So on Switch everything is done at a local level; you create local profiles that then remember that history [of Kick Off matches played]. But you'll also find things like the randomised teams that I mentioned, or King of the Hill, that are present only on Switch".
With King of the Hill, "the winner gets to keep his team while the loser has to change it", whereas with randomised teams "each player has a limited number of times where he can randomise a subset of teams, and this adds a little bit of strategy as well because if for example you get Chelsea and I get Real Madrid from the first pick, you're going to think twice whether you're going to let go of Chelsea".
But little technical differences aside, and keeping in mind FIFA 19 does not run on the Frostbite engine on the Switch (hence no The Journey), we asked Lazarescu one of our readers' question: why didn't the game have Squad Battles last year, and why is Division Rivals missing this year as well from FUT, if they're not Frostbite-dependant? Here's the answer in full:
"In terms of priority we felt that other areas of the game, such as gameplay, such as the new Kick Off, such as Champions League, such as online friendlies, are more important - then although we would like to get to everything in a year, it's impossible to do that because there's not an infinite pool of resources we can actually use to get that, but the choices that we made for the game are the right ones and you'll notice them as you pick up the game instantly".
FIFA 19 releases on the Switch (and other platforms) on September 28, backed by an "even stronger", "fabulous partnership" between EA and Nintendo. We actually wondered whether Super Mario could be a good signing for the next season, but "we'll have to wait and see".