FIFA 18 Predictions - Gameplay

Futhead News predicts the gameplay changes which could be coming to FIFA 18!

It's officially approaching the time of year when ‘new FIFA’ news begins to hit our screens, and historically speaking it’s always been gameplay which leads the charge in EA's opening gambit. So after painstakingly reviewing (googling) the last few years of gameplay features added to the game, Futhead predicts the things we think will be a part of that all important FIFA 18 reveal.

You guys do love a good prediction after all...

More Frostbite

It kind of goes without saying that EA will look to build upon the foundations of their previous release, (10/10 Dave) but nowhere will that bland obviousness be proved more right than with the Frostbite engine, which will almost certainly be front and centre of FIFA 18's marketing. EA love nothing more than to show off their latest tech so expect to see significant visual enhancements to the football environments we enjoy playing in.

Over the years EA have added moving corner flags, fully animated benches, touchline managers, magic spray and countless other fine details which all come together to make the virtual world we play in believable. But how this particular prediction plays out may depend on any new license deals EA have managed to agree. If La Liga for example was to follow the current Premier League model of visual awesomeness, we could be set for a Mediterranean feast for the eyes. Think the Revista De La Liga set but better, and without Guillem.

License conjecture aside, one thing certain to change will be the recreation of the newly approved single player kick-offs, which no longer require the ball to be played forwards before it can go backwards. If EA fail to implement that, i'll eat my Futhead hat.

More Dribbling

No Touch Dribbling, True Player Motion, Precision Movement, Elite Technique. If you can think of a buzzword to attach to the art of virtual football players moving with the ball, EA have done it. And therefore it’s pretty much a guarantee we’ll see more new additions to the way players traverse the pitch at speed in FIFA 18.

Personally I’ve never really gotten to grips with the latest of that bunch (No Touch Dribble) because I just don’t see the value it adds compared to the other, more powerful dribble mechanics. That said, there’s still plenty room for improvement in this area. As the modern game continues to give birth to more and more pacey, young, dribbling attackers, replicating these iconic 1v1 battles becomes infinitely more important for FIFA to represent. And that fact alone I think will continue to drive the development of dribble technology.

At the moment many of the dribble/tackle situations in FIFA 17 are an instantaneous event, over in mere seconds, rather than being more of a cat and mouse duel. Any changes to dibbling would have to go hand in hand with new jockeying mechanics too, as jockeying in FIFA is a fairly one dimensional event itself at present. Balancing attack versus defence has always been a challenge for EA, and one without the other in this example, simply wouldn't work.

So do not be surprised to see Elite Dribble Precision, True Player Technique or similar in the FIFA 18 reveal.

More Artificial Intelligence

Another consistent trend to recent FIFA gameplay reveals comes in the form of player AI, which after being neglected for many years, finally has a fitting degree of prominence in EA's priority list. Since the turn of next-gen consoles we’ve seen Attacking Intelligence, Pro Instincts, Emotional Intelligence and Control the Midfield all come to fruition under EA’s generalised vision to improve 'Innovation Across the Pitch'.

In isolation some of these features can seem fairly small, but as a collective they are finally starting to come together to make FIFA’s cast of AI controlled team mates behave more realistically. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and that’s why I think EA will continue to add value in this area to maintain the momentum they've built behind improving player behaviours.

So those are the three things we predict will definitely, maybe happen, but with our dreaming hats on, what else would we like to see in FIFA 18?

Dynamic Weather

It’s been rumoured for years now, and if there’s a time to finally implement dynamic weather in FIFA, it’s now! If EA do go down this path, it’s something they need to be very careful with because no one (and I mean no one) wants dramatic shifts in weather each and every game. But if EA can apply dynamic weather with a light touch, it could be game changing for the immersion and atmosphere of matches. How great would it be to see to see the light changing as the sun moves, or as clouds naturally obstruct it? The potential for screenshot eye candy alone is massive.

There are also issues with particular stadiums in the game which are universally disliked (San Siro) due to the harsh shadows cast by the structure of the ground, which can make playing with certain kits challenging. If there was a system which subtlety altered blazing sunshine to cloudy over the course of the 90 minutes, that transition alone would make playing on these grounds a bit more viable, as any lighting contrasts may not be present for the duration of the match.

As I said at the start, EA would have to be ultra-careful to get this right, and provide suitable options to turn it off for competitive play. For those willing however to experience a more varied in-game look and feel, dynamic weather could be the last piece of the FIFA visual jigsaw. More work would also have to go into the physics behind weather, ie ball travel in the rain, skidding, etc but there's massive untapped potential here no doubt.

Team Tactics

EA have made lots of changes to player AI as I’ve mentioned, but one area of massive neglect has always been team tactics. If you've played FIFA as long as I have you’ll know that many of the sliders, and options available have been largely the same for almost ten years. To give EA credit we did get new options for individual player roles as part of the Team Management UI refresh, but that foundation has yet to be built on, and at times you can struggle to feel the impact of the changes you’ve made.

With the arrival of Conte, Mourinho, Guardiola, Pochettino and Klopp to the Premier League over the last few years, the tactical side of the modern game is now more influential than it’s ever been. With systems, and philosophies (shout-out to LVG) now front and centre of the way every team sets itself up, even on those rainy nights in Stoke. In fact, you could make the same argument for any of the top leagues in the world, and therefore FIFA should be moving towards incorporating more tactical elements into FIFA 18, and beyond.

I don’t think FIFA needs the tactical detail and intricacy of say a Football Manager game, but it should have more options for players to insert their own style than it currently supports. At the very least it would give FIFA’s gameplay a different twist to the current meta, which revolves mostly around the best use of the controller, and not always the best use of the football brain. Certainly for people who enjoy the longevity of Career Mode, this is an absolute must for FIFA 18.

So what do you think we'll see in the FIFA 18 reveal when it happens? And which gameplay feature do you wish FIFA 18 had that it doesn't?

Up Next: Career Mode

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