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 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, comapred 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 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.