People who know me will know that over the years I have spent far too long playing football games. Indeed, in the last few years, I have slowed down completing many games because I’m too busy just playing one more match on FIFA. I haven’t always been hopelessly addicted to football, but in the last four years I know I’ve annoyed more than a few people with my incessant chat about all things football. Before seeking professional help to curb my enthusiasm for the sport, I would like to see EA’s FIFA titles improve in one key area: the Career mode.
Despite my addiction to EA’s seminal sports title, I don’t buy the game in yearly installments. While I miss out on the yearly updates in areas such as kits and squads (something that does bother me), I don’t miss out too much in actual gameplay innovations and additions. I own FIFA 13 on the Wii U, and have since purchased FIFA 16 on the PS4 and the biggest differences in Career mode are the introduction of pre-season tournaments and training. In three years a lot can happen in football. Teams can move around league’s win titles and large numbers of players can move all around the world. The football world is constantly shifting, adapting and increasing. For example, since I bought FIFA 16, the game has taken off in China, and a good number of high-profile, big-money transfers have raised more than a few eyebrows.
One thing that doesn’t change is the thrills of the game itself. There is little more satisfying than seeing your team score a goal, save a penalty or win a game, I haven’t had the experience of either of my favourite teams winning a title, but I imagine the feeling to be something out of this world. Football games, whether they be FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer, or something else, will always carry this feeling off of the pitch and into your hands. Career Mode lets you take a team and turn it into something of your own. There’s nothing quite like taking a team from the depths of League Two and turning them into a Premier League winning side in these games. Being in control of the club’s transfers, team-sheets and actually controlling them is excellent fun – something I have spent hundreds of hours doing.
However, these hundreds of hours spent in Career mode have taught me something: It’s not perfect, and never has been. Sure, taking a team like Hartlepool United, who struggle in League Two year after year, and transforming them into a Champions League winning side in less than ten years feels great, but for a game series that is so het up over licensing and a general sense of realism, FIFA’s Career mode can feel unrealistic. With several additions and tweaks to the already successful formula, EA could transform Career mode into a Premier League winning side, instead of letting it languish in mid-table mediocrity.
Let us change the team’s kits every season
Football teams change their kits every season. This is done to both promote shirt sales and make it more difficult for bootleg operators to thrive. Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer series lets players change their team’s kit whenever, and this goes in with its Master League. New kits every season isn’t a deal breaker, but it would be nice to let us fully edit our own kits in Career mode, and in Ultimate Team while they’re at it. In each of my career modes I wished that I was able to alter my team’s kit between seasons, as it felt ridiculous seeing them play in the same kits year after year. Throwing in this option would not only allow for more realism, but would help each career mode be more unique for each user.
Allow us to upgrade stadiums
If you thought my last point was superficial, then this one isn’t for you. Football teams rarely change, or upgrade their stadiums, but it is a part of the game. Again, it seems ludicrous that a former League Two side would still be in the same size ground when they’re winning the Champions League as they were when they were playing Accrington Stanley. I know clubs do stay in their stadiums despite reaching the top tiers of football (look at Bournemouth), but they often upgrade their grounds, adding a few thousand more seats over the years. It would be nice to do this in Career mode, especially if it employed finances in a similar fashion to Pro Evolution Soccer’s Master League.
Adopt a finance system similar to Master League
Nothing needs to change with the ways in which transfers are handled in FIFA, which I think works better, and more simply than it does in Master League, but I do think that things like ticket sales and even shirt sales could go into your finances along with player and staff fees. An increased management system could be a great way to add more strategy to the Career mode formula, and would stop the silly thing of every game being a sell-out. If your team goes on a poor run of form, less fans should turn up, decreasing revenue from ticket sales. They could add features like signing a popular player increasing ticket sales and shirt sales.
Indeed, if you could change your kits every season, EA could add a feature that gauges the potential popularity of your designs. Stray too far away from your club’s colours? You’ll see less shirt sales. Any money you make (or lose) could be put towards all manners of things such as transfers, scouts and stadium upgrades, or even moves. The added depth of all this could prove tricky, but I’d see it as a potential for a harder difficulty option. EA could keep the standard Career mode template they’ve used for years in the game alongside this more realistic, more in-depth option. Personally, I’m getting excited just writing about this. A more personal, more in-depth Career mode would be excellent beyond words.