A video purporting to show multiplayer gameplay of an early version of FIFA 17 from E3 is doing the rounds online.
Although the footage is attracting some scepticism in the YouTube comments, with some speculating it could be a heavily modified PC version of an older entry in the series, there are certain hints that this is indeed the real deal – not least of which being the Battlefield 1 banner visible in the screen’s reflection.
On top of that, there are a number of subtle gameplay tweaks that haven’t appeared in recent FIFA games. The YouTube host notes that the whole game feels slower, with impact slowing down players considerably. Other smaller tweaks include the ability of players to shuffle up the line with their throw-ins, and that corners and free kicks have a different view with a “ball indicator” for careful placing of the cross. The penalty shot-metre is also missing, ensuring the players comedically fluff their penalty wide. “It feels more realistic than last year’s version, and I do like that,” says the narrator.
You can judge for yourself in the video below – bear in mind, this is early footage, so graphical tweaks (like moving nets) are likely to be added later
Elsewhere at E3, EA has finally lifted the lid on FIFA 17, confirming use of the Frostbite engine (Battlefield, Mass Effect Andromeda) and introducing a genuinely new feature: story mode.
Story mode is more than just your standard ‘Be a Pro’ option from previous installments of FIFA that allowed you to represent a single player and move between clubs. This new option hopes to bring out the human, emotional journey of fighting for a place amongst the Premiership greats, with a narrative decided by the game.
Or perhaps it won’t. Eurogamer went hands on with FIFA 17’s story mode and described it as genuinely different. You get “Mass Effect style dialogue wheels” to pick how you interact with your team mates and coaches off the pitch, and your performances affect how your career progresses. Play well, and presumably an England call-up beckons – play badly, and you’ll be shipped off on loan to a lower league club to learn your craft. These eventualities are crafted in to interactive cutscenes which adapt to follow your career.
Presumably this will be a wildly sanitised version of a professional footballer’s career, with FIFA – the international body that endorses the game – unlikely to want to be associated with boozing and party animal antics (there was once a dive button in FIFA that was removed because it sent out the wrong message), but it should offer some authenticity. The official page lists a number of current players listed as “authenticity consultants” including Harry Kane, James Rodriguez, Marco Reus, Anthony Martial, Eden Hazzard, Delle Alli, Marcus Rashford and Reece Oxford.
How much of a sideshow to the main game this will be remains to be seen, but it’s genuinely exciting to see FIFA trying something new and different with this year’s release. The trailer has confirmed the game’s release date, and we’ll know more on September 29 this year.