FIFA 16 was one of the better FIFA offerings in quite awhile, but the series could still use a lot of improvements, especially if they are to compete with Pro Evolution Soccer, which was arguably the better football game of 2016’s offerings. There isn’t a long list of improvements or innovations can make to FIFA (after all, the downfall of many sports games is that the developers try to do too much), but there are definitely a few key areas that could be worked on.
Playing against different teams should result in different strategies due to the uniqueness of those teams. The AI is generally good with tactical decisions in the moment, but the overall pacing of matches is generally the same; your opponents will play a pretty loose and slow game at the start, only to ratchet up the tempo near the end, becoming almost overly aggressive. Certain teams should play aggressively the whole way through; others should be more defensive, etc.
Speaking of aggression, let’s talk about the refs in FIFA 16. A lot of the time, the simplest brush against another player will result in a foul, making the game a lot less aggressive than its real life counterpart. Other times, glaring fouls will be ignored, and the lack of consistency leads to a lot of frustration. Innovating the ref AI will vastly improve the flow and feel of matches, so this should be a top priority for EA.
The addition of women’s teams in 2016 was incredible, but we only got to play with a select few of them. Adding the entire league would be awesome, as women’s football is already becoming a much more popular sport, and the support from FIFA would definitely help their popularity even more.
To be able to build a team and manage it is fun, but it would be even more fun if we could then pit that team against other real world players and their own unique teams. Playing through a season with four or five friends would be incredibly exciting as you improve your standings, trade players, and ultimately head for the championship. The technology is there, and the idea just sounds so good that it would definitely sell more copies of the game.
Managers are such a big part of football, so it’s interesting that we haven’t seen any real-world managers on the side of the pitch in a FIFA game. Giving them their own likenesses and personalities would be a treat, and it would absolutely help with immersion and feeling like you’re actually part of a real-world football game.
Another big part of football is the crowds, and while the graphics for these crowds have come a long way since the early days of the FIFA franchise, there is still a lot of work that can be done to improve them. In addition to making the crowds a little more high-res, have them really get into the game. I don’t just want to hear the crowd go wild, I want to see them go wild. I want to see them leaving the stadium when their team is losing and I want to see them get in fights. This would once again make the game feel much more alive.