We are now just two months away from the launch for FIFA 21 and EA Sports have released a good deal of information about the next version of Ultimate Team.
The most popular mode on the game, for those who don’t know, is Ultimate Team, which pretty much does what it says on the tin. Your aim is to the build the ultimate team using players acquired through packs or bought on the in-game market.
Over the years, Ultimate Team has been given minor tweaks here and there, with the introduction of Squad Battles, FUT Champions, Division Rivals and Squad Building Challenges all coming in at different stages.
But it seems FUT21 will see the biggest batch of new features and changes yet. So, what are we most looking forward to?
1. FUT Stadium
As well as building your best squad, or squads, Ultimate Team allows fans to select some of the biggest and best stadiums in the world as their home ground, providing they pack them or get one from the market. But in FIFA 21 things will be different.
As well as still being able to play in the licensed stadiums, FIFA 21 Ultimate Team will give players the chance to customise and improve their own ground. Players will unlock the FUT Stadium at the start of Ultimate Team, which will become your first home ground. As was the case previously, you’ll be able to customise your team’s badge, ball, kits, default celebrations, Tifo and Stadium theme, but there are also now options to customise crowd chants and the base paint colour.
As you progress in Ultimate Team, new Tifo locations will unlock, commentary club names, sound and visual goal effects and space to show off any trophies you have won throughout the year.
Once you complete the first Milestone group, you’ll get the FUT Challengers Stadium upgrade. This allows you to grow your stadium capacity, with more customisation options, including pitch patterns and even goal paint. More growth and completed objectives across Ultimate Team will eventually lead to the FUT Champions Stadium.
2. Co-op play
In the past, you’ve been able to play against your friends in Ultimate Team through the Friendlies option. But now you can play with them competitively.
More ways to play with your mates 🎮🎮
A brand new home to make your own 🏟
And opportunities to team up with the #FUT community 🤝
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) August 10, 2020
Friendlies are fun, particularly with the new game modes that came in last season. But sometimes there’s nothing better than playing with your friends on FIFA, and now you’ll be able to build chemistry with them to take on the virtual world.
The feature brings two players together. Between them, they’ll be able to use one of their ready-made squads (not a mixture of the two’s players, unfortunately) to take on Squad Battles and Rivals.
In both Squad Battles and Rivals, players will have a limit to how many games they can play to score points, and Co-op mode will eat into this limit. So, if both players having 40 games remaining, one match will see that reduce to 39 for each. And if one player has run out of games that count towards their weekly score, the other player will not be able to score points from their Co-op games (though you can still play for objectives and Weekend League qualification).
A word of warning for the duos, though: matchmaking will be based on the highest Skill Rating of the duo. So, if one is Division 10 and the other Division 4, they’ll be pit against Division 4 opponents.
You can also now team up together in Friendlies, making the possibilities of playing with your friends on FIFA 21 endless.
3. Changes to Rivals
As briefly mentioned above, there have been changes made to FUT Rivals, including a limit to the amount of games you can play to earn your weekly score, creating a more level playing field on the leaderboards between those who can focus a lot of their time into the game and those who can’t.
That cap will stand at 30 but, like Squad Battles, you can still play to complete objectives and also gain higher Skill Ratings and earn promotion to higher divisions. You just won’t be able to add to your weekly score, which affects the leaderboards.
There have also been changes made to the leaderboards, with the Top 100 in FUT Champions and Squad Battles being increased to Top 200s while Rivals will feature six ranks instead of five.
Squad Battles players will also find it easier to transition from single-player mode to online matches, but with a slight change. While players can still play their five placement matches to determine their starting division, the first 30 matches played in Squad Battles will factor the difficulty you play at (and the results of your games to place you into a division) when you make the jump.
This means that offline players will not have to go through placement matches if they don’t want to before playing online, instead entering at the level the game has deemed right for them.
4. No more fitness and training items
They’ve been part of Ultimate Team since the start, but fitness and training items are no more! No longer will we have to make sure our players are at 100 fitness before starting a match. They’ll be full for every game they play.
Managing your squad with Fitness items is a thing of the past 🙏
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) August 10, 2020
Nor will we have to hope we have the right body part cards to heal injuries anymore. Instead there’ll be two healing cards: Gold common and rare, offering two and five-game reductions. Result!
Training cards are also a thing of the past, with FIFA getting rid of an aspect that was becoming less and less used, opening up space for other consumables in packs.
5. The Return of The King
Not so much a new feature, and not even a new player, rather an old one back in the game. Long-time fans of FIFA will remember the Classic XIs available to use up until FIFA 18, which boasted legends of the time.
One of the best players and regular features of those teams was Eric Cantona, but when FIFA announced Icons for FIFA 18 he was nowhere to be found. Well, he’s here now.
Cantona is one of 11 new Icons for FIFA 21, taking the total to 100 for the latest version of the game. He is joined by Ashley Cole, Petr Cech, Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres, Phillip Lahm, Ferenc Puskas, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Davor Suker, Nemanja Vidic and Xavi. So. Many. Legends.