Electronic Arts (EA.O) launched its first soccer game without the FIFA tag, betting its “FC 24” title will maintain the momentum in its best-selling franchise and provide a bulwark against an industry slowdown. The videogame maker has retained its licenses for the world’s top soccer leagues, clubs, and players, and analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities expects the name change to free up some additional marketing money that will help offset a slight decline in sales this year.
FC 24 introduces several on-pitch enhancements, including a new HyperMotion V system that delivers more realistic player movements and animations than ever before. The technology uses motion capture data from real-world athletes to animate the game’s 19,000 fully licensed players. The game also features a new PlayStyles technology that translates Opta and other player performance data into signature abilities that heighten the realism of each athlete.
Meanwhile, the newest iteration of EA Sports’ revolutionary Frostbite engine renders The World’s Game in more lifelike detail than ever before. The technology draws from the motion-captured players in 180 top-tier competitive matches to render their real-world actions with a level of detail that enables players to distinguish between the sprints of Marcus Rashford and Vinicius Jr. In addition, the game offers a new era of football gaming by introducing intergender squad building in Ultimate Team. Women’s players can now be obtained through the same methods as men, including packs, completing objectives, and purchasing in the transfer market.
While the on-pitch gameplay is solid and fun, there are some disappointing changes to this year’s edition. Most notably, the game has stripped away previous titles’ pre-match walkouts and lineups. In their place are short cutscenes that add little beyond the novelty of seeing them for the first time.
In addition, the redesigned menus can be confusing to navigate. It’s easy to accidentally click on something you didn’t mean to, resulting in unnecessary back-and-forth between menus. Also, claiming rewards from completed objectives takes a little too long, even though there’s no limit on how many of each type you can earn.
Despite these minor issues, however, there’s plenty to enjoy about this year’s franchise version, whether playing alone or with friends on the couch or online. The new name may confuse some of the game’s longtime fans, but EA seems confident it can attract a bigger audience with its annual update and the promise of more innovation to come. The game is available now for PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox Series S and X, Nintendo Switch, and PC. It’s also part of EA’s subscription service, EA Access, which costs $19.99 a month or $29.99 annually. It includes a trial of EA Access Plus, which provides more in-game content and an exclusive game mode. That’s available through Sept. 30, 2024, before it’s replaced by a different membership tier called EA Access Premiere.