The FIFA franchise has been in a rut for some time now. Over the last few years, each new game has felt more stale than the last, and fans have generally been disappointed with how little the series has progressed., especially in some key areas like the Career Mode. With FIFA 22, however, it’s looking like EA Sports is actually making what are looking like major changes that could potentially shake things up in a meaningful way. Ahead of the game’s upcoming launch, here, we’re going to talk about some key details about FIFA 22 that you should know.
The big new headlining change in FIFA 22 is HyperMotion Technology, which is the name EA Sports has given to what is essentially a complete animations overhaul for the game. The development team recorded motion capture from 11 vs 11 matches, and the data this produced for usage in the game will mean animation improvements across the board. Everything from first touches and sprints to tackles and duels and even off-ball animations has been revamped.
MACHINE-LEARNING USED FOR ANIMATIONS
This, apparently, is a crucial element of FIFA 22’s new animations system. The game uses a new machine-learning algorithm, which uses a pool of 8.7 million motion capture frames to write new animations during gameplay in real time. According to EA, this will mean more dynamic, organic, and natural for a variety of situations and interactions. In total, EA says there are over 4000 new animations in FIFA 22.
Beyond HyperMotion Technology, FIFA 22 is making some other improvements to the on-pitch action as well. AI continues to receive new tweaks and improvements, with both attacking and defending AI promising more personality and awareness of positions and roles. The Match Facts and player performance screens have been revamped with deeper analyses, while EA Sports also promises more physical and kinetic aerial duels. There are also new options while setting tactics that will offer more control, tweaks made to the sprint mechanic, improved ball physics, improvements made to goalkeepers, and more.
Meanwhile, FIFA 22 is making other changes as well that, though granular in the grand scheme of things, will still be appreciated by series fans. For instance, big goal moments will, depending on the context of the goal that’s been score (like a late winning goal, or a substitute coming on and scoring in a tight match) will see the game reacting appropriately, with new crowd scenes, animations, and cinematography, with even substitutes and managers joining celebrations every now and then. Meanwhile, FIFA 22 will also introduce the new Celebration Camera Focus option. These will allow you to focus on the reactions of your team upon conceding a goal instead of having to watch your opponents’ celebrations. Other changes and improvements include faster sprint speeds, more ways of switching players while defending, tweaks made to set pieces, and more.
This is another one of FIFA 22’s biggest additions. It’s been a while since this was a thing in a FIFA game, but FIFA 22 will let players create their own custom club in Career Mode. You will choose your club’s name, its kits, the crest, and even create your stadium, with various customization options not only for how it will look, but also some stuff that will let you tweak its atmosphere to your own liking, like goal songs, crowd chants, and walkout anthems. You’ll be able to create your club in any league or any division that is in the game (whichever club you replace will move into the Rest of the World category), and will start out with a group of randomly generated players. From there, you can set your own transfer budget (up to 1 billion of whatever currency you’re using) and further build your squad in the transfer market. Meanwhile, you can also set your club’s board priorities, though certain priorities (such as domestic or continental success) will vary based on your club’s star rating.
CAREER MODE IMPROVEMENTS
Various other key improvements are being made to Career Mode as well, other than being able to create your own club. Various changes are being made to transfers, such as new cutscenes during negotiations, being able to start or stop scouting a player from the Transfer Hub, or transfer announcement cutscenes taking place in stadiums instead of the press room. The Career Mode also has expanded stories that will track personal achievements for the manager and players, such as the number of matches played, goals scored, or personal awards won. These milestones will be celebrated with expanded stories in the Career Mode hub, as well as pre-match cutscenes and remarks during commentary (though the cutscenes and commentary will only be available in the game’s PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and Stadia versions).
MORE CAREER MODE IMPROVEMENTS
Career Mode is also making some other improvements that don’t really impact the mode’s structure, but do look like neat additions that will contribute to the atmosphere of matches. Various cutscenes have been added, including new team warm up sequences, locker room moments, teams inspecting the pitch, the groundskeeper making last minute changes, or even the crowd beginning to leave early if your team is underperforming in an important match. Meanwhile, fan tifos in crowds can now show up for any player that has had a long or successful tenure (or both) at the club.
REWORKED PROGRESSION IN PLAYER CAREER MODE
Player Career Mode’s structure is also seeing some pretty significant changes, with the biggest shake up being made to the progression system. Your growth as a player will rely solely on gaining XP and levelling up, which is primarily determined by your match performances and training. As you level up, you’ll be spending skill points in the skill tree to unlock various attributes, which means attributes no longer automatically improve as you play more. Instead, you’ll be able to choose specific attributes and upgrades from skill trees for various categories- physical, defending, dribbling, passing, shooting, pace, and goalkeeping. Meanwhile, as you level up, you’ll also unlock perks, which will automatically trigger when certain conditions are met., and at times can even boost not just you, but also your teammates. You’ll be able to equip up to three perks at a time, with several different kinds of these available across four categories- attack, defense, goalkeeping, and chance creation. Do remember, however, that progression changes and perks will only be available if you play with a created player. If you use a real player, all of this will work as it did in FIFA 21.
OTHER IMPROVEMENTS IN PLAYER CAREER MODE
Player Career is making several other key changes as well. For starters, you’ll finally be able to come on as a substitute. In fact, how well you’re performing overall will have a much greater impact on how much you get to play, according to the developers. A new Manager Rating system, which will be impacted by your performances in matches, your progress in training, and how well and frequently you complete match objectives. Though you’ll start out as a bench player, improving your Manager Rating will lead to a more cemented role in the squad and more play time. At the same time, if your Manager Rating is too low, you’ll be selected less often, and could even be put up for a transfer or a loan. Meanwhile, the aforementioned match objectives have also been improved, and will now be generated dynamically based on a number of factors, such as your playing position, the quality of your time as compared to the opponent team, or what formation your team or the other team is using.
EA Sports is doing some new things in FIFA 22’s Ultimate Team as well. One of the bigger changes is an overhauled Division Rivals. Progression here has been improved with ranks, stages, checkpoints, weekly rewards, and more, with each victory, loss, or stalemate in a match directly impacting whether you’re moving up or down a stage between ranks (unless you’re on a checkpoint, in which case you’re guaranteed to not go down, at least). There’s also the Elite Division, which, as its name suggests, is the new highest division of Ultimate Team, and where the progression system will change to a skill rating system. Meanwhile, there are also new seasonal milestone competitions that will refresh every few weeks, improved matchmaking, and more.
VOLTA was the big new addition in FIFA 20 after its predecessor concluded the Journey trilogy, but though it’s a fun mode in its own right, it hasn’t really made a lot of waves in the FIFA community. FIFA 22 is making some interesting changes though. There are new Signature Abilities, which operate on a cooldown and can either give you sudden bursts of pace, significantly increase your shot power, and let you unleash stronger and more effective tackles. There’s also a new skill meter, which will have three sections, each worth a thousand points. You’ll get points and fill up the meter by performing various skills and actions. Filling up the first level of the meter will give you a 2x goal multiplier, the second 3x, and the third 4x.
MORE VOLTA DETAILS
Other, more incremental changes are being made to the gameplay in VOLTA as well. There are more skill moves, which will now also vary depending on the context of when and how you’re using them. There’s also two-player celebrations, a retuned skill tree that will now have three separate branches, and Volta Arcade, which is a new free-for-all collection of eight minigames with their own XP and VOLTA Coins rewards. There will be eight minigames, including dodgeball, foot tennis, quick strike, disco lava, team keepaway, and more.
The pricing is always a hairy topic for most games these days, especially when it comes to FIFA and EA in general, so it’s not surprising that that’s true for FIFA 22 as well. The game will cost a regular $59.99 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, but on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, it will cost $69.99. PS4 and Xbox One players can get next-gen upgrades via EA’s Dual Entitlement program, but that is only available if you buy the Ultimate Edition, which costs $99.99.
With FIFA 21, EA made some changes and improvements to the game for its PS5 and Xbox Series X/S versions that weren’t available on any other platform, and FIFA 22 will also be doing that… in much more significant fashion, in fact. There are various improvements and changes being made to FIFA 22 that will only be included in its PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and Stadia versions, some of which we’ve spoken of here- the biggest, of course, being HyperMotion Technology and all the animation overhauls that brings with it. It’s a big bummer for anyone not on those platforms, but especially for PC players, where it’s not even like the hardware isn’t powerful enough to support the changes.
For a few years now, EA Sports has been doing the formality of releasing a new FIFA game for the Switch every year, which… isn’t really a new game at all. Starting with FIFA 19, each new instalment in the series has been a Legacy Edition, and the same will be true for FIFA 22. What exactly does that mean? Well, the game will have none of the changes and improvements being made to gameplay, modes, or anything else. Essentially, you’re being asked to play full-price for something that is identical to FIFA 21 on the Switch in every way except for updated kits, squads, and fixtures (which was identical to FIFA 20, which was identical to FIFA 19, which was identical to FIFA 18).