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FIFA 17: What will be in EA's next footballing addiction?

I love FIFA, but it’s broadly a love that’s unrequited. My Xbox isn’t a fan either, I’d imagine, as Ultimate Team seasons have a tendency to result in the mistreatment of gamepads.

Still, despite the fact that my crowning achievement in the franchise was briefly leading Alsville Rovers (yes, really) to an extremely brief period in Division Two in Ultimate Team when all the good players were distracted by World Cup Mode, I remain unlikely to be able to resist its charms when FIFA 17 arrives in eight months time.

So what can we expect in FIFA 17?

FIFA 17 features

Last year’s footballing jamboree brought in a raft of new features aimed at making it more accessible and welcoming, with a trainer mode (which shows which buttons to press in certain situations) and womens’ teams for the first time (just 12 of them to begin with, but it’s a start).

EA tends to keep cards close to its chest about upcoming features until E3, when we should see the first trailer and hear some of the new features incoming, but along with the usual mix of ‘better AI’ and ‘improved realism’ – both of which are exceptionally hard to quantify, what should we expect?

Well, if you believe someone who has reviewed every FIFA game for the last six years running, FIFA 17 is going to put a lot more value on player pace again. Or to quote Jack Arnott’s review of FIFA 16 on Eurogamer, “In FIFA 11, pace was overpowered. In FIFA 12, pace was nerfed. In FIFA 13, pace was overpowered. In FIFA 14, pace was nerfed. In FIFA 15, pace was overpowered.” To me, that’s personally bad news, as pace just ruined the Ultimate Team experience, as every opponent was just a random collection of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyangs, Theo Walcotts and Loic Remys, but your mileage may vary.

More teams would seem an obvious way to go, as well. FIFA 16 promised over 650 teams, which is roughly eight per cent more than the previous two years. With the number of high profile players moving to the Chinese super league welcoming former Ultimate Team stalwarts Gervinho, Alex Teixeira, Jackson Martinez and Ramires to their ranks, that would certainly be a popular choice for FIFA fans… even if it is just to poach the best players back.

Oh, and it looks like we won’t have Lionel Messi on the cover for the first time since 2012. According to L’Equipe, Messi is uncertain as to whether to extend his deal with EA. Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are both contracted to arch-rival Pro Evolution Soccer, so the company may have to look further afield for their next title star. Maybe they’ll go back to Wayne Rooney, who was on every cover between 2005 to 2011.

FIFA 17 release date

If there’s one thing we can say with pretty high confidence right now – unless someone at EA is reading this and wants to make me look bad – it’ll be released in September 2016. How can I be so sure? Well, take a look at the release dates for the past ten FIFA games and see if you can spot the trend:





















I’m going to guess Tuesday 20th September 2016. We shall see. It’s worth remembering that last time around, people who subscribed to EA Access could get in a little early for 10 hours, so hopefully EA will do something similar with FIFA 17.

Images: Hector Alejandro, Marco Verch and Christopher Johnson used under Creative Commons

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