There’s nothing quite like a good FIFA trailer, and last week the good folks over at EA blessed us with the first real footage of FIFA 23. While we know there will be a name change to EA Sports FC for the 2024 iteration, the “FIFA” brand moniker holds its weight for at least one more year. With that in mind, let’s breakdown what’s in the FIFA 23 trailer and go around the net to detail some of the news which has broken, including the cross-play Deep Dive.
Official Reveal Trailer
From the start of the trailer, we’re privy to short scenes highlighting what looks like an improvement on the general atmosphere and pre-match hype. Starting with FIFA 21 on next-gen platforms, EA has put more emphasis on the build-up to matchday, both in terms of panned stadium shots and now supporters before they enter the grounds.
The scenes look good, as do the stadium renders, especially Man City’s Etihad. I’m sure most will only watch them once or twice before skipping through the cutscenes, but more immersion is never a bad thing in soccer games where most still struggle to recreate TV broadcasts. The player closeups are next, so it’s here where we meet our cast of characters. Notable players seen are Antonio Rudiger, Richarlson, and Darwin Nunez, three players who have moved clubs and are shown in their new digs.
This is a veteran move here by a company in EA that loves a good hype session so much they named last year’s biggest change HyperMotion, but we’ll save that part for later. More noticeable is the emphasis EA places on the women’s club teams, which will feature the English and French National Women’s League for the first time as well as the Women’s World Cup. The folks over at The Guardian confirmed that:
“It has confirmed that female players have been motion captured to ensure authentic animation, and that the women’s matches will benefit from the game’s new Hypermotion 2 technology which applies machine learning to motion captured data to create new, realistic player movements on the fly.”
Last year, HyperMotion was the lead marketing pitch. If EA was driving a virtual bus to a match, HyperMotion would be the first person off the bus. Touted as a gameplay enhancing system that could create animations on the fly and process information at a much higher rate than its predecessors, HyperMotion 2 is set to store over 6,000 true-to-life animations. We were shown a highlight reel featuring nutmegs, elasticos, and some nice looking animations. It’s been reported but not confirmed yet that the Xsens suits that were introduced last year will be supplemented by some enhanced match captures, improved upon machine learning, and a new change with dribbling to name a few elements of what we could read in more detail in EA’s next Deep Dive, which is scheduled for July 27.
FIFA World Cup 2022 – Qatar
After a nice solo goal by Tottenham’s Son, EA teases us with a reminder that they still own the rights to the world’s biggest event, the World Cup. While they don’t go into great detail, the promotional materials they provided tell us:
“Players will also be able to experience the pinnacle of both men’s and women’s international football in FIFA 23 with the men’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 as post-launch updates at no additional cost.”
Sounding similar to 2018 where the tournament was available via DLC and for free, the 2022 Qatar event will be incorporated into FIFA 23 as well the Women’s tournament hosted by New Zealand in 2023. It still remains to be seen what the license situation will be considering the lack of nations, mainly African countries that were omitted in FIFA 22.
Final Thoughts On The Reveal Trailer
It’s only July so to expect EA to bombard us with information this early in the cycle would be naive. They’re going to build excitement, starting with this trailer until the official release date (September 27) with tidbits of information to help quench our thirst. Apart from highly edited CGI cuts, this trailer doesn’t provide us with too much information as the actual 11-on-11 gameplay cuts are limited to two scenes, a crunching tackle and the aforementioned Son shot. We’ll wait until the closed beta and more information drops before we jump to any solid conclusions on the direction FIFA 23 is headed.
One of the bigger changes to FIFA 23 involves cross-play, the avenue by which FIFA 23 players can compete against those also playing the game but on different gaming devices. The picture posted above displays the details for modes and their matchmaking/friendly options. Unfortunately, this isn’t full-on cross-play as it still looks like cross-play is mostly limited by console generations, but it’s good to see that PC is lumped in there with the newer consoles. I would presume this means there is most likely no difference between games this year considering FIFA 22 only incorporated HyperMotion on next-gen consoles.
It remains to be seen what will happen with HyperMotion 2, but I’d be doing my Pro Clubs community a huge disservice if I didn’t point out their glaring omission from the modes column. Of all the modes, Pro Clubs was the one in most dire need of cross-play. Perhaps it was too difficult to configure this year as it could mix players from different consoles on the same team versus opponents doing the same, but the amount of teams split on next gen vs. old gen is still high with the PS5 still relatively hard to obtain. EA does let us know in their Deep Dive that cross-play is an option that can be turned off:
“When a player launches FIFA 23 for the first time, cross-play will be enabled automatically. You can change this by toggling the on-screen notification that appears when you reach the main menu after the first launch of the game. You may also opt in/out through the online settings screen which can be found both within FUT, VOLTA FOOTBALL and the FIFA main menu.”
New Power Shot Coming To FIFA 23
One of the more frustrating aspects of FIFA over the past few years has been the lack of ability to hit powerful shots on command. This means shots would often lack some oomph, leading players to abuse the finesse shots, which was something that was extremely overpowered when FIFA 22 released and was later tweaked via updates/patches. This year, according to Eurogamer, a new “Power Shot” is coming to FIFA 23:
“FIFA 23’s big new gameplay feature is a power shot. The power shot, which is available across generations (so, for example, PS4 and PS5), is a new skill-based, risk versus reward shooting mechanic.”
Taking a page from Konami and their newly implemented “Stunning Shot” for eFootball 2022, the Power Shot is a risk-reward mechanic that is triggered by holding both bumpers and the shoot button to produce the animation, which is said to take a little bit longer to play out. According to EA, this doesn’t eliminate the low driven shot as the power shot requires a manual aim. As always, tuning this new gameplay mechanic to find the right balance is key to its success.
Improved Set Pieces
As we saw in the trailer, there’s a new set-piece HUD that’s aimed at giving players more control over the shot with the right stick now controlling the aim and trajectory, while the left stick still provides the power for the shot. Also shown in the trailer is the dubious laying down behind the wall to prevent low shots. I’ve personally never seen a low free kick pulled off successfully, but hey, “if it’s in the game, it’s in the game!”
Penalties are also rumored to have been modified this year, a welcome change from last year where the spot kicks were somewhat of a 50-50:
“Penalty kicks are also changed, with a focus on timing, A composure circle expands and contracts on the ball — you need to hit shoot when it’s as close to the ball as possible. The speed of the expansion and contraction of the circle changes based on context. If it’s the last shot of the game, for example, or if the player taking the shot isn’t great, it’s going to move faster. But if you time the shot correctly, you’ll get an accurate penalty.”
I’m a fan of implementing some sort of composure as penalties are the epitome of a high-pressure situation. I’m still a proponent of making penalties a bit more favorable to the one taking them, but that would require some tweaks to the entire system.
It’s still early in the development cycle for FIFA 23, and the sole purpose of these reveal trailers is to build hype and introduce us fans to the new features planned for the upcoming game. EA accomplishes this while also giving us a good roadmap to set our reminders for as they release information via their Deep Dive/Pitch Notes series. After a disappointing release in FIFA 22, one where I personally thought HyperMotion failed to deliver on its promise, here’s to hoping that HyperMotion 2 fixes some of the issues that have plagued the series for far too long, mainly the lack of a functional midfield when defending.