December 15, 1993 is an important date in the history of video games. On that day, EA Sports released FIFA International Soccer for Mega Drive, marking the beginning of a thirty-year partnership between FIFA and Electronic Arts, which has grown from a relatively small developer to the paranoid multinational corporation it was in 2022. It is. FIFA has become an integral part of the annual range of games and is always one of the best selling games in Benelux.
It wouldn’t be any different from FIFA 23. The game, which features flashy marketing jargon like Hypermotion 2.0, and AI-powered animation, puts women’s football in more prominence than ever – even as Sam Kerr emerges as a copycat athlete alongside Kylian Mbappé – It has already made its way to thousands of found consoles and computers. It is the most impressive and complete audiovisual football game that you can get. Full match performances are simulated and the arsenal of licenses available is greater than ever, led by two world championships taking place this season, the English and French women’s competitions.
Junko Tiano Yan Tian was a secret
How different it was thirty years ago. The soccer game that EA was working on was to be released in Vancouver before the 1994 World Cup. Soccer slowly gained popularity in the United States after that, but EA was a company that was largely focused on the American market. football game? Not everyone has seen that. However, team leader Bruce MacMillan was able to start the project. With a relatively small team, including Jan Tian and Brian Plank, McMillan introduced the first FIFA game at the end of 1993. To give the player an adequate overview and simulate the idea of depth, the developers chose an isometric perspective, which allowed you to see the action on the pitch diagonally from above . The game does not have licenses. I played with national teams filled with largely made-up names, with a few exceptions. Yan Tian immortalized himself with Brazilian superstar Janco Tiano, and Brian Blank appeared in the German national team.
Brawl between EA and KNVB
The success of FIFA International Soccer was overwhelming: several copies of the game flew over the counter in just four weeks until it instantly became the best-selling game of the year. Cool, because the football game market already has quite a few attractive titles with titles like Sensible Soccer and Kick-Off. FIFA cleared the floor with it and soon success was built. At the end of 1994, FIFA 95 appeared, which included club teams for the first time, although it was still made up of fake players. A year later, FIFA contained more than three thousand real names for the first time. These real names have always remained, although FIFA never obtained all the licenses at the same time. When KNVB demanded more money to use the names and forms of Dutch international players, a conflict arose between EA and KNVB, which left the Dutch national team swarming with fake players for years. In the run-up to the release of FIFA 10, the game maker and the Dutch football association found each other again, and stars like Hans de Noteboom were able to retire.
The return of the Dutch national team coincided with what can be described as the “return of FIFA”. Between 2000 and 2010, EA’s soccer game still dominated sales for the most part, but at least in the middle of that decade the game was always—and to a large extent—overtaken by a less affluent Japanese competitor. Konami has managed to steal the hearts of many football fans with Pro Evolution Soccer. For this group of players, some of the PES games that came out in those years are among the best (soccer) games ever and there was no FIFA that could stand it.
Ultimate Team: First time in a Champions League match
Around 2010, the tide began to turn in favor of FIFA, which is no accident. At that time, FIFA contained another aspect that would profoundly change the future of the game. A few years ago, EA had already experimented with gameplay that focused on collecting players in a 2006-2007 Champions League match. Users can, as it were, create an “ultimate team” of the available Champions League players. The mode is not yet operational, but in 2008 it was different. FIFA 09 was the first release to include “FIFA Ultimate Team” and eventually nearly a million players have ventured into this new game mode. History is well known: Ultimate Team has become the main game mode and has also become the basis for all esports activities around FIFA, with the best FIFA players in the world using their FUT teams.
Searching for new ideas
In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for EA Sports to add new items that have had the same effect. The licenses have been added, but since there are always the hottest competitions around, the added value of all those new, more unusual competitions wasn’t relatively that bad. Story Mode The Journey, Street, and Futsal-focused Volta have all added new modes to the game and, while entertaining in their own right, haven’t evolved into anything more than “fun extras”. The majority of players have participated in FUT, Online Game Mode, or Career Mode. Professional clubs slowly gained popularity. You can say that professional clubs are the most realistic way to simulate real football online. In this mode, each player plays only with his own soccer player. So you can’t control the whole team, but you have to demand the ball from your teammates and make sure you are free. This way you can play eleven against eleven online.
Over the years, FIFA has evolved into a massively versatile game that you can play in all kinds of ways. For example, we didn’t even mention the women’s debut in the game, in 2015, but they make a nice bridge between this brief overview of how FIFA’s thirty years have passed and the new – and last – FIFA game. FIFA was once a game where you could play a tournament or a league. Since then, the game has evolved into much more than that. You can describe some of the individual modes as a separate game within the game. Now there will be players who try every aspect of the game and play everything, but especially if you’ve been playing FIFA for years, you’ll probably have the “usual” part where you basically spend your time. Those who do this in FUT will not benefit much from innovations in Career Mode or Pro Clubs, and the same is true vice versa. But whether you’re playing FUT, Career, Pro Clubs, or something else, you’ll want to refresh your FIFA enough compared to last year’s version. This turned out to be a difficult requirement, if not impossible.
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