By Ramesh Radhakrishnan
It’s that time of year again! FIFA is back for the 2020-2021 season and it brings a ton of new upgrades and features to last year’s version. Below we’ll talk about how the game is changing for the new season and the interesting incorporation of the Dual Entitlement System for next-gen consoles. Before trying out this new system, make sure you’ve reloaded on your PSN Cards for any future purchases.
Now, let’s get to it, shall we?
The Release Date
FIFA games usually release in September, but due to the pandemic, FIFA 21 won’t drop until October 9th, 2020. However, if you’ve pre-ordered the Champions or Ultimate editions of the game, you can play it 3 days earlier on October 6th.
You can get the standard version of FIFA 21 on consoles for $59.99. On PC, you can get the standard edition on Origin or Steam for $79.90.
EA Sports will also release special editions of the game that will cost slightly more. The Champions Edition will go for $79.99 on consoles and $109.90 on PC. The Ultimate Edition will cost $99.99 on consoles and $139.90 on PC.
Last year, Eden Hazard and Van Dijk shared the spotlight for FIFA 20. This year, star forward Kylian Mbappé of Ligue 1 Paris Saint-Germain will be the cover star for all three versions of FIFA 21.
Dual Entitlement: Moving To Next-Gen
FIFA 21 will be coming to next-gen consoles, but those won’t be out until the 2020 holidays. Exclusive next-gen features include faster loading, more realistic lighting, spatial audio, and more lifelike off-the-ball movements.
This raises the question: should you get the current-gen version when it drops or wait for the new consoles to hit?
Here’s some good news — buy it on current-gen, and you can switch over to your new console for free. All your Ultimate Team and Volta data will carry over, too. It even works the other way around; progress you make on your new console will transfer to your current-gen one. Of course, this only applies to consoles by the same manufacturer — i.e. no transferring anything from your PS4 to your new Xbox.
There’s another catch: it has to be physical-to-physical or digital-to-digital. You can’t, for example, swap from a physical PS4 edition to a digital PS5 edition. If you’re planning on switching to a diskless next-gen console in the future, you’ll have to buy the digital edition on your current-gen console to use this feature.
Champions and Ultimate Editions
The Championship and Ultimate editions of FIFA 21 will come with extra weekly Rare Gold packs.
Those who bought the Standard Edition will get one rare Gold Pack per week for 3 weeks. Champions Edition gives you one Gold Pack per week for 12 weeks.
Ultimate Edition gives you two Gold Packs per week for 12 weeks.
Both Champions and Ultimate editions allow for Homegrown Talent in Career Mode. Homegrown Talents are youth prospects with extraordinary skill potential.
All three editions come with Kylian Mbappé on loan for five FIFA Ultimate Team matches. They also come with 1 of 3 player items of your choosing — Trent Alexander Arnold, Erling Haaland, or João Félix — for three FUT matches.
EA Sports is giving Career Mode some much-needed upgrades for FIFA 21.
One of the most exciting new features is Quick Sim. Before, you could either take direct control of a match or simulate it entirely — there was no in-between. With Quick Sim, players are free to jump in and out of matches whenever they like.
The youth development system has also been re-hauled. Previous iterations of FIFA locked players into a position for their entire careers. In real life, players often move to new positions as their skills develop — before he was a defensive juggernaut, Virgil Van Dijk was a striker at Groningen. The new system will reflect those changes: you can now switch a young fullback to midfield if you think that’s where he belongs.
FIFA 21 allows for more options off-the-pitch, such as loan-to-buy agreements and a slew of new contract conditions.
Last year’s FIFA got a lot of flack for its overpowered defensive AI. Overloading the ball side, which has become a go-to tactic in online sessions, requires little skill to execute but makes it a pain to penetrate the backline. Throw in the drop back instruction, which orders forwards to fall back to their half, and it becomes near-impossible to break through a defence.
To counter this, FIFA 21 will add new attacking systems.
Agile Dribbling allows for greater close control of the ball, making it more difficult to take the ball off excellent dribblers. It’s more skill-based than last year’s Strafe Dribbling, so there’s a measurable risk to using it.
There will also be more options for breaking down a defence through the use of Creative Runs. Creative Runs affects off-the-ball movement for more natural, dynamic build-up play.
Positional awareness will also play a big role in the new FIFA game with the new Positioning Personality feature. Forwards will attempt to stay onside in the attack, playmakers will scan the field for room to make game-changing runs, and defenders will attempt to cut off passing lanes.
EA Sports also promises more natural resolutions to possession battles and player duels.
Competitive Mode is for those that want even more realism as they play on the Legendary and Ultimate difficulties. Your AI opponents will now have a better understanding of the different skill moves and tactics of your team.
Last year, EA Sports introduced Volta, its five-a-side revamp of the classic FIFA Street series. The community’s response to Volta has been mixed, with many criticizing its slow pace and lack of flashiness.
EA Sports will be revealing more about the game mode in the future. What we do know is that there will be a new Features Battles mode, which mimics the Squad Battles in Ultimate Team.
You can also invite up to three friends to join you in Volta matches. More details will be coming soon; so look forward to that!
As of FIFA 20, The Journey has been replaced with Volta. There aren’t any indications that the story-based mode will be making a comeback for FIFA 21.
FIFA 21 is looking to provide some much-needed upgrades to the game’s attacking systems. EA Sports are also promising major upgrades to the game’s flow, with better off-the-ball movement and smarter player positioning.
Volta, too, seems to be getting some much-needed love, allowing for same-team multiplayer. For those looking to upgrade to the next generation of consoles, EA’s Dual Entitlement System should stay any worries about day-one adoption with the next-gen on the horizon.
All in all, the folks at EA Sports are constantly trying to figure out what works for the game and what their audience wants. For me, I’m just excited to see how the game’s Dual Entitlement System will play out.
Well, what do you think? Are you looking forward to how Fifa 21 will play out on next-gen consoles as we are? Do you think Fifa or EA Sports needs more improvements? Let us know in the comments below.