That the main professional soccer leagues and competitions were paralyzed worldwide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has generated all kinds of cancellations, improvised measures, millionaire losses and, in general, a staggered series of consequences that affected everything related to a greater or lesser extent to the king sport. Including star mode of FIFA 20.
The key title of the Electronic Arts sports division has been the football lovers' refuge and relief for football lovers in times of quarantine, but also the epicenter of remote meetings between friends, between games and games, through voice chats. Many have taken advantage of the extra time at home to get the game and others to catch up with him Ultimate Team. Although of course, for reasons of logic, his experience has been more chaotic than usual.
Starting, because the star-system surrounding mode FUT20 (FIFA Ultimate Team 20), as well as the parallelism that it has with the main national leagues and international events it's gone to waste when events organized in the real world are postponed or directly suspended. Including large competitions that fell in the middle, such as CONMEBOL wave Champions League, leaving in the air what will happen with the plans of the Euro Cup 2020.
All in all, the way in which the own FUT20, including weekly news in the form of thematic teams, seasonal events or the celebration of transfer market closing causes EA Sports to have to keep moving forward despite the fact that soccer has been stopped all over the planet. Sometimes with more success and others, simply, getting out of the way The best way possible.
FIFA 20 against a season that already started crooked
EA Sports had to trick the cover of FIFA 19 almost at the last minute: Cristiano Ronaldo, his flag bearer, was leaving Real Madrid to go to Juventus. And that was quite a chore for the EA Sports game: beyond affecting the finishing touch of the story mode that was maintained for three installments, the entire promotional image of the game and several of its modes were restated and, in the middle of the year, directly replaced. This year has been worse.
FIFA 20 started directly without the license of Juve (being replaced by a generic team called Piemonte Calcio), since PES 2020, his greatest rival, was made with the exclusivity of the club, as well as that of other titans of European and Latin American football. And it was in the FUT20 Where the coup sounded the most: All kits, badges, stadiums, and other items were directly outside the scope of the EA Sports game.
And not only that: the thematic challenges typical of these national, international leagues and major competitions involved would have to be adapted to the reality of the circumstances. If they were not directly discarded.
It's not that you can't play with Dybala or Douglas Costa: the real names and real faces of the Piemonte Calcio players are in FIFA 20 and FIFA 20 Ultimate TeamThey have the same chemistry as the players from the same country, the same league and the same club and their assessment is based on their performance in real life. Or, at least, until the pandemic broke out.
A fatal blow? Not at all: at the sales level, FIFA 20 and EA have followed pulling muscle. This has not prevented any Challenges, Objectives or Events facing these renamed clubs, although they have been subtracted from a lot of prominence. Too much for the most intense fans.
Luckily, a last minute signing by EA Sports returned much of the interest of Latin American soccer fans who thought they would be left without Boca Juniors or the Colo-Colo: Through the CONMEBOL modes, all the kits and badges of the exclusive PES clubs returned – in a limited way – to FIFA.
What happened to CONMEBOL?
The association with the South American Football Confederation (better known as CONMEBOL) was one of the surprises that EA Sports got out of the top hat with its particular soccer season already started. An announcement that led to a deployment in FIFA20 as powerful as it is attractive. And at the same time, fleeting in FUT20 due to the scourge of the pandemic.
Although the CONMEBOL competition was suspended in the middle of the celebration, FIFA 20 He integrated it into the Tournament and Quick Match modes and, incidentally, added two new stadiums. In fact, EA Sports also added elements such as the authentic presentation of the matches and a whole display of details.
And not only that: CONMEBOL Libertadores, CONMEBOL Sudamericana and CONMEBOL Recopa were transferred to the Career mode of FIFA 20. He even took advantage of honor the red chapulín! Electronic Arts put all the meat on the grill. The bad news: the fever and passion for the event was suspended in the air.
However, and resuming the conversation towards FUT20, the suspension of the CONMEBOL Libertadores celebration left all the deployment for the way Ultimate Team
The reality is that channeling everything when the competition resumes is going to be a great little challenge.
The TOTW Moments: or how to keep passion (and market values) from memory
Every week, the Ultimate Team mode gets a little more interesting: the team of scouts and soccer experts that EA Sports has deployed around the world selects the best players of the day and awards them a player card. In form whose characteristics are improved and that only appear for seven days.
To illustrate it in some way, if it were collectible trading cards, would be much rarer and better than their usual counterpoints.
These cards have improvements based on their achievements during the day, so that players like van dijk can receive multiple letters In form Team of the Week (TOTW) and each one is unique. In addition, challenges and goals are created to give an extra color to the set. And not only that, there is special cards that even level up as they receive new letters from TOTW.
What happens when they disappear? It is time to bid for them from the Transfer Market. A specific place to buy and sell FUT20 cards (both for players and for any item) in which the market values of each card fluctuate depending on the challenges, objectives and values of the new cards that appear. An almost perfect ecosystem except for one detail: the side effects of the football break.
EA Sports had to step up after the halt in the competitions yes or yes, not only to maintain interest in the Ultimate Team, but to maintain the regularity of the challenges and the transfer market by launching the TOTW moments. I mean, a selection of players In form from past FIFA seasons.
And yet, an almost arbitrary way to select which players get an extra spotlight every week.
The Team of the Season So far, an (almost) Solomonic solution
Another of the great side effects of this break has been the celebration of the best cards in the game. That is, the Team of the Season. A deck of cards for FUT20 in which, in retrospect, the main protagonists parade with spectacular stockings and attributes.
Along with the letters of the Team of the Year, the most sought-after and valuable items in the game. We can even see how a very select group of players are rewarded accompanied by their portrait with 99 averages. The fair prize for being the best … If it were not for the fact that the competitions were suspended.
Logically, EA Sports could not repeat the move of the TOTY moment bringing back the best of past editions, with which he opted for a more or less fair start: crowning the best players in each league based on your records until their suspension.
Thus, the Team of the Season So Far (TOTSSF) continues to give movement, diversity and enormous interest in FUT20, but at the same time, be fair and conscious when assimilating that the season is not over. The collateral effect, this year there will be no Team of the Season.
An alternative passion: promoting eSports competitions
It's not all bad news, of course. While professional football in stadiums is in the midst of a global crisis that is disabling its celebration, EA Sports has found a new focus with which to keep fans of FIFA20 beyond their own games: online events and competitions.
Not only have they been carried out solidarity initiatives and independent, but the time to bring up the proposal for eSports of the game itself had arrived. And Electronic Arts was very aware of this, promoting that those who are passionate about real soccer and their football saga converge towards their own digital events.
Logically, the gamers of FIFA20 and of FUT20 They have also taken their additional incentive as player card envelopes just for attending their events. Everyone wins.
The FIFA 20 Seasons system, an air balloon for the Ultimate Team experience
Although it is not possible to qualify as successful or normal the state of FUT20 in FIFA20The truth is that the new ration of innovations introduced in this installment have served to cushion many of the problems derived from the crises triggered by the coronavirus.
On the one hand, integration VOLTA mode, the return of street soccer from FIFA, gave it that point of variety and round experience focused on the single player that many missed. Because playing against AI with your favorite teams is great, but having both options is much better.
On the other hand, the seasons objective system, something similar to Fornite season passes, means that there are always elements to unlock, things to do and claims to launch us to play another game.
Promoting all the Ultimate TEAM experiences and game sub-modes and, at the same time, that powerful engagement necessary on the days when one spends more time than necessary at home.
What side effects can we expect facing FIFA 21?
Although all of the above have been solutions to get by, the real challenge will come when posing FIFA21: The economic situation of the clubs themselves is delicate and to this day it is not clear to us how the competitions of the national leagues and international events will be closed.
Logically, we have the fact that the next FIFA and its innovations have already been in development for several years. But we are also aware that the production and launch of the game itself will also be affected by forced confinement and more than justified pauses in the gears of the football world.
Hopefully the return to normality will take place sooner rather than later. Above all, when we assume that in 2020 we will see something very exceptional: the appearance of a FIFA designed to Xbox Series X and PS5, the new generation consoles.