This year saw some significant updates to FIFA 22’s career mode. Bringing back “Create Your Club” was a nice touch, as were the improvements to player career mode, but there’s still a lot left to improve here. Whether it’s under the hood type of improvements, or dynamic potential, or cosmetic changes to areas like generic stadiums, career mode still needs a few years to get up to speed if it wants to compete with the likes of NBA 2K‘s MyCareer. With that in mind, here are three areas where EA can dramatically improve the FIFA 23 career mode.
FIFA 23 Career Mode Improvements
Fix The AI Transfer & In-Game Management Logic
Year after year we’re treated to new features in career mode, but it’s usually the same two areas that let the mode down and prevent it from being one of the best in the sports genre. For years, it was the same transfers that plagued the franchise, but lately it has been the curious lineups that have dampened the mood. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing the traditional career mode or player career mode, seeing the AI managers play players out of position is enough to make the most tinkering of managers raise an eyebrow.
No matter whether it’s something going on with secondary positions or fatigue, it’s disheartening to see that powerful consoles usually only equate to better graphics and not smarter AI. As you progress over the years in career mode, you’ll see teams like Man City, traditionally big spenders over the last 10 years, roll out lineups with players that normally wouldn’t sniff their starting 11 — only to be further outraged when you see they have five strikers on the first team yet choose to play a center mid up top (wait KG, that could happen with Pep). So while the board treats the market like Ed Woodward and stockpiles players, the manager doubles down and plays some of them in positions that aren’t their primary ones.
The allocation of player numbers for new incoming transfers could also use some work, but it would be further down the list if we’re prioritizing fixes.
Feeding off the poor managerial AI, FIFA needs to incorporate AI managers getting sacked. To date, nine managers in the English Premier League have been relieved of their duties so far this year. That’s 45% of the teams in the league — plus Watford making two changes. Instead of this, in FIFA 22 we still get the same managers years into a career mode save because there’s no managerial carousel to keep things fresh. In essence, Man City will have Pep and play the 4-3-3 for the duration of your save no matter how low he finishes.
Along with the same formation, you also get the same tactics long after the likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane are gone at Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp will still play his same gegenpress style, making them fairly easy to beat once they start bringing in lesser players through the transfer window. Once managers get sacked or outperform their objectives, they should be eligible and pursued by other clubs, bringing their hard-coded tactics to their new club. You can’t have a “News” section that’s solely devoted to players when managers contribute to the media frenzy that often accompanies the beautiful game.
Introduce Club Records, Trophy Rooms, Live Tournament Draws…
When it comes to soccer banter, it usually starts and ends with trophies. You can probably count on one hand the amount of soccer discussions that have not broached the subject of trophies when comparing managers, players, or clubs. Career mode is all about compiling these trophies, but oddly they’re missing in FIFA 22. Sure, you’ll get the same celebration over and over again when you actually win a title, but where’s the case that displays all your hardware? Surely, EA can look back on its NCAA Football series to show you how it could be done.
Look at those beautiful empty trophy cabinets just waiting to be filled. There’s even screens that would show saved highlights. Imagine starting a career mode with Real Madrid and seeing those filled, or conversely with Tottenham and seeing the shelves lined with nothing but distant memories and hope. That brings me to my next topic, club records.
Records, specifically of the league variety, are in the game but where are the club records? If you’re playing through a Manchester United save, you would surely want to know if you were nearing Ryan Giggs’ appearances record or Wayne Rooney’s goal scoring tally. Records and a better stats database would bring so much immersion to those who like to look at year-over-year stats. I can remember a time when I used to resort to keeping a spreadsheet for such purposes, or even before that, a notebook.
FIFA collects a lot of detailed stats — one of the areas they improved upon this year — but they’re limited to single matches. This is one area where I enjoy eFootball‘s Master League. The monthly scouting reports, followed up by the “Team of the Month” is a nice way to break up the monotony of career saves.
Now that EA has secured the Champions League, it’s time amp up the presentation and give us a little show. As soccer slowly introduces traditional American-style sports entertainment features, it would be nice to have the live tournament draws shown to us to create a bit of excitement — perhaps even utilizing the FIFA Icon legendary players they have inked deals with to help draw the names. A game that released way back in 2007 had this, and every time I would sit the controller down, get a cool beverage, and await my fate.
This could have turned into a “wishlist” but the reality is that it’s going to take some time to iron out the logic that plagues the series. Poor off the field AI isn’t limited to just FIFA, as it also plagues Madden, but it’s time that both series make the leap. Sure, every career mode player doesn’t want an ultra realistic playthrough with house rules, but improvements in these areas mentioned above would benefit the most hardcore of sim players as well as those just looking to have fun with the game.
This was not intended to include every area that needs work, as tasks like player contracts and gameplay could make the mode stronger as well. It’s unrealistic to expect any major changes thi.s late in the FIFA 22 cycle, so we’re putting some of our eggs into the FIFA 23 basket. Let’s just hope that EA is able to devote some serious resources into improving this mode.
What updates to FIFA 23 career mode do you want to see?