EA has confirmed that FIFA 21 is coming in October this year and it will launch on current-generation consoles before coming to the next-generation at a slightly later date.
Despite the worldwide disruption caused by coronavirus, the next instalment of FIFA will be released on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC on October 9 2020, only slightly later than its usual September slot. Pre-ordering the Champion or Ultimate Editions of the game will give access from October 6. PS5 and Xbox Series X support will come when those respective consoles are released and EA has confirmed free upgrades for those who buy FIFA 21 for current-gen consoles before upgrading.
Since the game’s worldwide reveal, we’ve had the chance to see FIFA 21 in action, including all new gameplay features and new ways to play in FIFA Ultimate Team and Volta.
Whether the annual release of FIFA is a crucial date in your calendar, or you’re just curious about what EA Sports has planned for the series in the next-generation, you’re in the right place because below we’ve rounded up everything we know so far about FIFA 21.
FIFA 21: key factsWhat is it? The latest release in EA Sports’ FIFA franchiseWhat can I play it on? PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, PS5 and Xbox Series XWhen can I play it? October 9 for PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch. Release dates for next-gen consoles and Google Stadia is yet to be confirmed. Early Access from October 6 is given to players who pre-order the Champion or Ultimate Editions of the game.FIFA 21 release date
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EA has now confirmed that FIFA 21 will launch on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC on October 9 2020.
Next-gen versions of the game have been confirmed for later in the year but exact dates of availability won’t be known until the consoles themselves have release dates.
What EA has said, however, is that its new Dual Entitlement program will mean that those who purchase the game on PS4 will get a free upgrade to the PS5 version, while those who purchase on Xbox One will get a free upgrade to Xbox Series X. This should, at least, make the lives of those who were worried about when they should purchase rather than if a little easier.
Players who pre-order the Champion or Ultimate Editions of the game can play the game a little earlier with Early Access being from October 6.
FIFA 21 trailers
August brought us the full FIFA 21 reveal as well as some brand new trailers for the game. These included official trailers for Ultimate Team and Career Mode as well as a much-needed look at gameplay and the new features players will be using. You can watch all three trailers below.
During its EA Play event in June 2020, EA gave us our first glimpse of FIFA 21 running on next-generation consoles.
Aside from the visual improvements offered by the next-generation consoles, EA has revealed haptic feedback support for PS5, too. “A new DualSense controller on PlayStation 5 with rich and responsive haptic feedback deepens the gameplay experience letting you feel the rhythm of the game in your hands,” EA has said.
Check it our for yourself below:
What’s different about FIFA 21 on Nintendo Switch?
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FIFA 21 will launch on Nintendo Switch on October 9, just like all of the other current-generation versions of the game. However, the Nintendo Switch game isn’t just like those other versions.
FIFA 21 on Nintendo Switch is a Legacy Edition. This means that while the game will have the latest kits and squad updates for the latest season, as well as updated menus and overlays, it won’t have any of the new game modes or gameplay innovations that come with the PS4, Xbox One and PC releases.
FIFA 21 news and features
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EA has revealed the top 100 rated players for FIFA 21 and there have been some eyebrow-raising changes as well as some upset amongst fans. The top three, traditionally dominated by Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar has seen Neymar dropped for Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski.
New gameplay features
EA has unveiled some of the new gameplay features players can expect to see in FIFA 21. Calling this “the most intelligent FIFA gameplay to date”, EA is placing a focus on enabling players to have more creativity and control.
The new features include Agile Dribbling which offers a new way to keep close control of the ball with some fast footwork and will prove most useful when in a 1 on 1 situation with a persistent defender.
Positioning Personality is another new feature which promises “deeper AI player personality in positioning” for offence and defence, basically aiming to have your players where you want and need them to be as you move up and down the pitch.
Creative Runs will give players more control over their AI attackers with directed runs and directed pass and go to determine where your players move with the ball and as they come off it, and player lock which will allow you to lock on your current player while attacking.
FIFA 21 also re-imagines the series’ collision system with the aim of creating “smoother player interactions all over the pitch”. This means that things like scrambles for the ball should appear more natural for players and result in fewer chaotic collisions.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there are some updates to the Fundamentals of Football. This means that the basic systems like passing and blocking have been improved, players are more responsive and the option to perform manual headers should improve the likelihood of scoring with a header over FIFA 20, as long as you have the skills.
Volta is back
Volta will be coming back in FIFA 21 and according to EA, this time there’s more of a focus on “fast and fun gameplay” and playing online with friends and strangers through Volta Squads. Through this mode, players will be able to play online with a group of up to 3 other friends or members of the VOLTA community or play solo. Playing in matches will build XP which can be used to unlock some nice visual items for your avatar.
For those that prefer single-player, there are still new single player experiences. In Featured Battles Mode players will be pitted against AI-controlled squads that are community or celebrity-created in weekly events in order to earn points and unlock rewards.
The Debut is a sort of story mode for Volta but its main focus is in training you up to better understand Volta mechanics. According to EA, The Debut is roughly a 2 hour narrative experience in which players “will discover new locations, grow their Avatar, learn strategies, earn unique rewards, and build their Squad.”
A more social FIFA Ultimate Team
It seems that in FIFA 21, EA is looking to make Ultimate Team a more social experience with new co-op gameplay. With FIFA Ultimate Team Co-Op, players will be able to play online with a friend in Squad Battles, Division Rivals, and FUT Friendlies. This will let players work towards objectives together to earn weekly progress and expand their FUT Club. New co-op objectives will have their own set of rewards.
There will also be FUT Events where players can collaborate and compete as a community to unlock rewards by completing in-game objectives. In Community Events, players who complete objectives in specific groups will contribute to a global XP pool in order to earn rewards. Team Events, on the other hand, will divide the community into teams of their choosing and compete for rewards as a part of this team.
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The FUT Stadium is also being introduced in FIFA 21. Apparently the most customizable stadium in the game, the FUT Stadium will grow alongside players’ clubs, offering new customization options to make it a place that really visually represents their club. There will be 34 total customisable spaces across the Stadium and the Club and for those not interesting in the nitty gritty of customization, licensed stadiums will still be available.
Thanks to Dual Entitlement, upgrading your console to the next generation won’t mean losing your FUT Club either, you’ll be able to take it with you.
EA has announced that in order to streamline FIFA 21’s systems, it will be getting rid of Fitness and Training items in FUT 21. Now, while a player’s stamina and fitness will stay an important factor in how they play, they won’t be managed in the menus and at the start of each match all players in FUT 21 will start with full fitness.
Kylian Mbappé revealed as FIFA 21 cover star
Kylian Mbappé has been announced as the official cover star for FIFA 21. Mbappé signed his first professional contract in 2016 and he’s made a big impression across the world over the past four years, scoring goals in the World Cup for France and playing a key part in league-winning teams. Of his FIFA 21 cover, the young French player has called it “a dream come true” and “another big milestone”, adding that he is “honoured to represent a whole new generation of footballers.”
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More on Career ModeFIFA 20’s Career Mode received some criticism, to put it lightly, but EA has outlined some of the key changes and additions it’s planning to make in FIFA 21 to make things better.
EA has detailed eight things for Career Mode, the biggest of which is an Interactive Match Sim. It focuses on the management side of playing, allowing players to play matches while also having the option to step out and look at the match data to make tactical decisions.
EA also mentions an improved growth system which will enable players to be more in control of their player’s development, making it possible to train them for new positions to fill gaps in the team and to monitor their development progress.
Match Sharpness is a new attribute for players that will give an insight into how likely players are likely to perform well in a match. The new Active Training System ties into this, allowing players to improve their match sharpness.
There’s a new Activity Management system that allows players to have more tactical control, choosing when players train and when they rest in order to juggle and balance their morale, sharpness and fitness.
Opposition AI is getting a boost and according to EA the new system will have more intelligence when it comes to attack and defence, so there should be more challenges in each match.
There are going to be new ways to sign players, with Loan-to-Buy offers with optional or mandatory future transfer fees on the table as well as AI manager-initiated offers of player swaps.
Finally, there are some new initial set-up options. With these, players will be able to customize their Career Mode and get the chance to choose whether they want a more or less true-to-life experience with options like Authentic Transfers and Financial Takeover.
EA has offered a deep dive into the nitty gritty of career mode in a recent Pitch Notes post.
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Cross-platform play for FIFA 21?In its most recent update during EA Play, EA didn’t have much in the way of good news for those looking for FIFA 21 cross-platform play, writing that while “Allowing our players to play against each other on whichever platform they play EA SPORTS FIFA is a long-term goal of ours”, right now it doesn’t “have any news”. The post does add, however, that “we’re continuing to investigate its integration and will share any updates when we have them.”
Coming to the next-generation with Dual EntitlementFIFA 21 will be playable on PS5 and Xbox Series X later in 2020 and it’ll be part of EA’s new Dual Entitlement Scheme.
What this means is that players who purchase FIFA 21 on PS4 or Xbox One will be able to upgrade to the corresponding next-generation version free of charge. At the moment there’s no release date for this next-gen upgrade but players will be able to claim it from the release of FIFA 21 later this year until the release of FIFA 22 sometime in 2021.
What differences can we expect in the next-generation version of FIFA 21?EA hasn’t been entirely forthcoming on exact differences between current and next-gen versions of FIFA 21. At the moment, we know the game will support the PS5 DualSense’s haptic feedback and will boast “blazing fast load times, deferred lighting and rendering, enhanced animation technology, off-ball humanisation, and more”. So far so vague, but we’re expecting more news in the near future.
Coming to SteamEA has confirmed that players will be able to pre-order and play FIFA 21 through Steam as well as through its Origins platform. To the chagrin of many PC players it’s also been revealed that the version of the game released on PC will be the same as the one that comes to PS4 and Xbox One, rather than the next-gen consoles. It’s worth bearing this in mind if you’re looking for the latest visuals.
COVID-19 ImpactWith coronavirus having an impact on everything, including football, it’s natural to expect that it might have some knock-on effect when it comes to FIFA 21. EA has addressed this in a recent FAQ for the game, writing:
“We remain in constant communication with our club and league partners around the world to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the footballing landscape. We will continue to liaise with them in the coming months as they work through their plans for the upcoming season.”
FIFA 21 pre-order bonuses
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FIFA 21 is now available to pre-order on PS4, Xbox One and PC and, as always, there are bonuses to be had depending on which edition of the game you go for. Below you’ll find the editions available and the bonuses to expect.
FIFA 21 Standard Edition
Up to 3 FUT 21 Rare Gold Packs (1 per week for 3 weeks)1 Cover Star Loan FUT Item (for 5 FUT matches)1 FUT Ambassador Loan Player Pick Item (Choose 1 of 3 player items for 3 FUT matches)Special Edition FUT kits and stadium items
FIFA 21 Champion’s Edition
3 days Early Access (play from October 6)Up to 12 FUT 21 Rare Gold Packs (1 per week for 12 weeks)1 Cover Star Loan FUT Item (for 5 FUT matches)Career Mode Homegrown Talent (local youth prospect with world-class potential)1 FUT Ambassador Loan Player Pick Item (Choose 1 of 3 player items for 3 FUT matches)Special Edition FUT kits and stadium items
FIFA 21 Ultimate EditionAt the moment, EA is doing a limited-time bonus which will see those who pre-order before August 14 “get one untradeable FIFA 21 Ultimate Team (FUT) Ones to Watch player for your FUT squad when you pre-order the FIFA 21 Ultimate Edition”.
3 days Early Access (play from October 6)Career Mode Homegrown Talent (local youth prospect with world-class potential)Up to 24 FUT 21 Rare Gold Packs (2 per week for 12 weeks)1 Cover Star Loan FUT Item (for 5 FUT matches)1 FUT Ambassador Loan Player Pick Item (Choose 1 of 3 player items for 3 FUT matches)Special Edition FUT kits and stadium items