Get your boots on and get ready to kick some balls; FIFA 22 is the next blockbuster title in development at Electonic Arts and EA Sports, and it’s coming to all modern platforms later this year.
Now that EA is poised once again to compete with Konami and PES (or eFootball as it will be known from 2021 onwards), fans are hoping that a bit of friendly rivalry will hoist the developer of the game out of its rut and give the series something to really work towards. Keeping a free-to-play rival off your heels as it starts eating up the mobile market is a great way to inspire innovation, after all.
FIFA 22 is lauded as a big installment of the perennial sports game. Not only is EA selling this annual version of the game as a “massive year of innovation” for the series, but it’s also the first year we’re going to actually see what EA and EA Sports can do on that fancy new new-gen tech you may have sitting in your living room. The PS5 and Xbox Series X/S have barely been put to work when it comes to performance and power – maybe FIFA will be the first game to really make them sweat.
Kylian Mbappe will be on the FIFA 22 cover, marking the second time he’s graced the cover of a FIFA game – and why not? He’s one of the hottest players of the moment. The only other players to date to have earned the honour of appearing on two covers in a row are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
FIFA 22 release date, platforms and price
The game will have a variety of editions: the Standard Edition will set you back £59.99/$59.99 (and you can shave 10% off that price by pre-ordering the game ahead of launch).
The FIFA 22 Ultimate Edition will cost £89.99/$89.99 and will come with a host of extra features, including 4 days early access, a Ones to Watch Player, 4600 FIFA Points, and a FUT Heroes Player if you pre-order before August 11.
Perhaps the most controversial thing about the way EA is rolling the game out this year, though, is that you will not be able to upgrade to the next-gen versions of FIFA 22 for free. With FIFA 21, you could buy any version of the game and upgrade to PS5 and Xbox Series X/S for free (if you owned it on the corresponding platform).
With FIFA 22, only the Ultimate Edition will come with Dual Entitlement (as per an EA FAQ).
“Dual Entitlement is only available with the purchase of the FIFA 22 Ultimate Edition. The Standard Edition of FIFA 22 does not include Dual Entitlement. That means if you purchase FIFA 22 Standard Edition on PS4 and upgrade to PS5 later, you would need to purchase the PS5 version of the game to play,” says the publisher.
Bear that in mind if you wish to upgrade your version of the game in the future.
FIFA 22 hands-on impressions
After playing the game for a good few hours, our very own Adam Cook has determined that FIFA 22 could well be one of the best games the series has ever put on the field. Despite some cringe-worthy performances from some real-world athletes and some questionable dressing to the game at large, there’s one thing we’ve learned: at least the game plays well. It’s especially reassuring given that the new game is built from the ground up this year, overwriting what’s come before.
“Star players feel exactly that,” writes Adam in his preview. “Salah is as unplayable as he is most weekends in the real world; strong and rapid, no defender brave enough to go to ground near the penalty box.
“There’s a reason Chelsea’s Lukaku is on the ones to watch list, as he scored a goal against me later that was, Partridge-isms aside, absolutely textbook. The ball is hit long to his chest, he brings it down, spins, folding the defender into his back pocket, with enough time to sign a few autographs for the fans, before smashing it into the net.”
The game puts player power in your hands like never before, and iterations to mechanics like player-switching make for more meaningful command in your hands, and less frustration all-around, to boot.
There’s so much more to learn about the game from our early impressions at the link above, so head on over to get the full lowdown on everything FIFA 22.
FIFA 22 gameplay
In the 30 minute presentation during an EA Play stream, the FIFA 22 development team discussed what impact deeper player intelligence driven by the power of next-gen consoles can have in helping create a newer level of tactical realism.
If that sounds like a bit of a mouthful (let’s be honest, it is!) check out the video below – it shows off what all that jargon means in real terms. To put it simply, compared to previous games, FIFA 22 has better AI thanks to the computer’s capability to process 6x more decisions per second.
That gives attackers more awareness of their surroundings and allows them to make smarter runs in build-up play – this means they’ll deal with loose balls better, meaning that you won’t have to be put on the spot quite so often.
The renewed AI powering defensive players is guided towards making your back line act more tactically as a unit: in practice, this means AI players will retain their shape as the players move across the pitch and on the field and are more ready to block shots on goal if the ball gets pushed into your half (or if you push into the opponent’s).
FIFA 22 Commentators: We also know that English Football Hall of Famer, Alex Scott, is set to be included in FIFA 22 as the long-running series’ first English-speaking female commentator.
“Happy to finally share the news that I joined the FIFA family and will be commentating for FIFA 22,” she said in a tweet. “This is a big moment for FIFA, for football and women and girls across the world. It’s also a big moment for me personally and professionally.”
FIFA 22 Celebrations: FIFA 22 will, for the first time in the series, let you turn off opponent celebrations. This isn’t totally surprising since EA pulled the ‘Shush’ and ‘A-OK’ celebrations from the game back in FIFA 21 after they saw a lot of use as fairly unsportsmanlike ways to waste time or mock opponents.
Via a new Celebration Camera Focus setting, you can toggle viewing your opponent’s celebration when conceding a goal to focus on your own team’s reaction instead – you need to switch it away from Opponent Celebrations.
“Conceding a goal is always heartbreaking, especially in a closely fought match,” FUT lead producer Mike Barnucz said (via Eurogamer). “While celebrations are an important part of real-world football, we know watching them can be a frustrating experience for some players.”
FIFA 22 Pro Clubs Women: EA has made it so users can play as women in FIFA 22‘s Pro Clubs mode – the first time this has been made possible in the series’ history.
As reported by Eurogamer, the online mode that allows players to create and control a football player of your own design now lets you create female players. After designing a player to your liking, you can then take that player into Pro Clubs where you can compete in matches. Women football players are currently only available to play via international teams and Volta mode – similar to FIFA Street.
FIFA 22 1v1 gameplay
In the video below, Spencer Owen commentates on a game of FIFA 22 between two pro players ( Tekkz and Tom Hashtag Tom) which initially took place at 4pm BST on Thursday, September 2.
It’s worth noting that this video really highlights how powerful finesse is in the game, and demonstrates just how useful taking shots from just about anywhere can be if you want to beat the keeper. The comments make some valid points about keeper AI (it’s not great) but here’s hoping that between now and release, EA can manage to wrangle a little bit more intelligence out of its AI – especially in the box.
If you’re curious to see what the game looks like in the hands of professional players – and people that can really make Electronic Arts’ game look its absolute best – you’re probably going to want to take a look at the video below.
FIFA 22 trailers
To date, we’ve only seen one trailer for this year’s entry in the game. The Official Reveal Trailer shared the first information we’re seeing on the game’s “unprecedented volume of high-quality real-human movement data” and debuted the new Hypermotion animation system that boasts over 4,000 new animations, based on data captured from 22 footballers playing the game.
Check it out below.
What’s new in FIFA 22?
FIFA 22 is regarded as the first version of the game to be released properly on next-gen consoles (rather than just running better on them), and that means EA has been able to make some adjustments to the gameplay systems.
For example, EA has outlined a new AI system for goalkeepers which makes for more reliable and realistic shot-stopping, with more ‘human’ decision-making. Goalies will have personalities that will make them react differently when they’re under pressure, too.
Ball physics have been addressed, too. “Tuned parameters including speed, swerve, air drag, air resistance, ground friction, and rolling friction mean every touch, trap, shot, volley, pass, and dribble will look, move, and fly like the real thing,” EA claims. We’ll see how that shakes out in the final game, though.
Explosive Sprint also allows you more control over quick bursts of energy from your players and promises to make both attacking and defending a touch more dynamic.
FIFA 22 Hypermotion
Hypermotion tech is only available on the PS5, Stadia, and Xbox Series X/S versions of FIFA 22.
But what is Hypermotion? Hypermotion is a machine learning algorithm that writes new animations in real-time, ‘inspired’ by real performance data and mocap harvested from real players. In order to make Hypermotion a reality, EA said it has captured “unprecedented volume of high-quality real-human movement data.”
EA claims that the reason that the tech is only available on new-gen consoles and Stadia is that Hypermotion is a fairly advanced system that draws on 8.7 million frames of match capture data.
To get this data, and to make the football you see in-game more realistic, EA captured a set of football matches that were played by 22 professional players (in an 11 versus 11 match setup) whilst all the players were decked out in Xsens motion capture suits. Older consoles, it seems, don’t have the processing power or speed to deal with that type of data.