FIFA 21 is exactly two weeks away from launch, which means it should be a finalized product by now. Right? Wrong! EA Sports just revealed a long list of changes they've implemented into the game's engine throughout the last few weeks. That's not an unusual process on its own, but a couple of details make us wonder just how broken FIFA 21 is going to be at launch.
First FIFA 21 Pitch Notes
The changes mentioned were introduced as pitch notes. This technically means that we have the first FIFA 21 patch before the game itself is available. That can only be a good sign.
EA bollockry aside, the game was beta tested by a decent amount of players in August and it was expected that changes would follow. That's what beta testing is for after all.
The sheer amont of stuff that needed be fixed is still alarming though. Tackling every single aspect of these pitch notes would be a week-long hassle, so you can just see the pitch notes themselves and make your own conclusions.
Fixes come to all major aspects of FIFA 21 - gameplay, FIFA Ultimate Team, Volta, Career, and Pro Clubs. Here are some highlights from the pitch notes in each category:
FIFA 21 Gameplay
The heralded FIFA 21 defense seemingly had trouble holding up in the beta as a couple of major fixes came along to stitch holes up:
- Improved the tackling and dribbling mechanics to reduce cases where a successful tackle makes the ball bounce back to the dribbler.
- Improved the marking in crossing situations. In some cases, defenders were not tracking runs well enough, creating easy goals from crosses.
FIFA 21 Ultimate Team
Well, well, well. Ultimate Team. The cash cow. Is it any surprise that there are multiple complaints made by the beta testers about FUT "not communicating clear enough"? We wonder why that might be. In theory, EA have improved on all of that. The fact they had to speaks for itself though.
- Changed phrasing in the Events screen within Objectives to better communicate if rewards are available and the requirements to obtain them.
- Better communication and quick-links in-game in order to access new features like Events or Limited Time FUT Friendlies.
FIFA 21 Volta Football
Volta Football was a real train wreck in FIFA 20 and EA really need to dig in to make sure that's not the case again. They had to start from scratch by the look of things as players couldn't figure out what the hell was happening in the beta version of Volta.
- The player indicators had an issue at the beginning of the Closed Beta that was making it difficult to distinguish between players. This issue was addressed with the title update during the Closed Beta. There are also further fixes to issues with the feet indicators which are being addressed for launch.
- The Volta Football Stadium pitch texture is being revisited for an early title update, the aim is to replace the black reflective surface with a brighter color.
FIFA 21 Career Mode
There is a couple of "how is it possible to miss this" Career mode bugs that have been fixed with these pitch notes. Still, if that's all the complaints testers had to make, we could really have a decent FIFA 21 Career mode. Fingers crossed!
- Weather Options were missing from the new Career mode match launcher. We’ve added this setting back to allow you more control over the match conditions.
- There was an inconsistent behavior in Player Career when, at times, the player was selected by the manager but there was no option to play. This issue has been fixed.
FIFA 21 Pro Clubs
Pro Clubs is having it good in this patch, with only two fixes on the mode. As we're going with two per section, we'll just skip the explanation and right into the pitch notes.
- There was no option for players to select CM as their Virtual Pro position. We’ve added the CM position to offer a complete midfielder package alongside the existing CAM and CDM positions. It comes with its own starting attribute set.
- We received feedback around a lack of pace for some Virtual Pro positions, specifically with CB and CAM/CDM positions. We’ve made some general fixes & tuning adjustments to player growth for your Virtual Pro and also updated the pace for certain positions.
This concludes our overview of the first FIFA 21 pitch notes. In the intro we mentioned a pair of details that don't look like a crazy good sign. What are those? For one, it is just two weeks until launch. Your game should be 99% ready at this moment in time, which FIFA 21 is obviously not. The other thing? There's not going to be an official FIFA 21 demo. Now that's an alarm bell if we've seen one.
Nothing much can be done but wait and see, but it's looking more and more likely that the FIFA 21 launch won't be the smoothest operator in town.