FIFA 21 is a football simulation video game published by Electronic Arts as part of the FIFA series. It is the 28th installment in the FIFA series, and was released on 9 October 2020 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Enhanced versions for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and Series S were released on 3 December 2020, in addition to a version for Stadia.
Ultimate Team features 100 icon players, including 11 new names. Eric Cantona, Petr Čech, Ashley Cole, Samuel Eto'o, Philipp Lahm, Ferenc Puskás, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Davor Šuker, Fernando Torres, Nemanja Vidić, and Xavi all feature as icons for the first time. Jens Lehmann will not be an icon in FUT 21.
Ultimate Team will see the addition of a co-op gameplay feature in the form of Division Rivals, Squad Battles and Friendlies with a friend online to unlock objectives and rewards. FUT was surrounded by controversy due to it being classified as a loot box and a source of online gambling. In January 2019, EA agreed to stop selling FIFA points in Belgium, following government pressure. Petitions to ban the points elsewhere began in June 2020, with the points' legality being debated in the US and UK, the latter via the UK's Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Similarly, a Dutch judge decided that EA should be fined €0.5 million per week until the loot boxes were removed. The players can customize their own FUT stadium with tifos, pyrotechnics, trophies, music, statues and stands as their FUT club grows. In-game stats can now be upgraded individually for special cards (the example given is if Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a free-kick for a TOTW in-form item, the free-kick accuracy can be much higher than his other in-form items). Live FUT friendlies combines house rules with squad rules to create different match types that change throughout the year. Redesigned menus allow the access to their squad and stadium directly from anywhere in the main menu. In new FUT events, the players can pick sides and compete against the FUT community to unlock packs, coins, club items or players in Team Event Objectives. The players can work together with the entire community and earn shared rewards by completing objectives as a collective.
The Top 100 will be expanded to Top 200 in FUT Champions. 30 matches in Division Rivals contribute to their weekly rating. They can play more matches for skill points and FUT Champions points but they won't increase own rank. Players can make extra coin rewards when they get promoted to a new division for the first time in Division Rivals. Squad Battles can be used to determine their rivals division at the start of FUT 21.
Fitness and training consumable items have been removed from the game. Players will still lose fitness and stamina during a match, but will automatically start their next game at full fitness. Healing items have been simplified to just gold common and rare items.
On 9 September 2020, EA Released the Ultimate Team ratings of the Top 100 Players. Barcelona forward Lionel Messi topped the list with a rating of 93, followed by Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo with a 92 rating, and Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak, Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, and Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski all with 91's.
Career Mode will see new additions following years of criticism from the community - mainly to the manager mode. New additions include; a revamped interactive match simulation mode, which allows players to instantly jump in and out of matches in addition to changing game plans in real time. A new and improved training system which allows for weekly training schedules and the ability to train players to play in different positions, new stats such as match fitness and growth, an improved youth academy system, more transfer options such as loan to buy deals, and enhanced opposition AI.
VOLTA Football 21
Volta Football was introduced in FIFA 20, and it will be a part of FIFA 21 as well. According to producers, Volta 21 will have gameplay improvements and will see new playing modes such as The Debut, the sequel to last year's story mode, featuring Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, Kaká and Frank Lampard. Volta Squads, an online mode where people can play with friends. and Feature Battles mode. There will also be five new locations (Sao Paulo, Paris, Sydney, Dubai and Milan) with the addition of the VOLTA Stadium.
The game features more than 30 official leagues, over 700 clubs, and over 17,000 players. In August 2020, EA Sports announced an exclusive multi-year partnership with AC Milan and Inter Milan.
Juventus, Roma, River Plate, Boca Juniors and Corinthians will not be featured in FIFA 21 and instead are known as Piemonte Calcio, Roma FC, Nuñez, Buenos Aires and Oceânico FC respectively. The game will retain the players' likenesses (except for Oceânico FC), but the official badge, kits and stadiums will be unavailable and instead feature custom designs and generic stadiums produced by EA Sports. Bayern Munich is also featured in the game with licensed players and kits but don't have their stadium licence and will play in a generic stadium.
The Finland national football team is fully licensed for the first time.
In November 2020, Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced that he is not pleased with usage of his likeness by EA Sports in its games, especially FIFA 21 and is ready to take legal actions against the developer. Claiming that he didn't personally authorize EA Sports to use his likeness he was joined by Gareth Bale and also started to receive support from as much as 300 other players.
FIFA 21 was released worldwide on 9 October 2020 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. The Switch version is a "Legacy Edition", with updated kits, rosters, and minor updates, but does not include "new game modes or gameplay innovations". The game has three official editions: Ultimate, Champions and Standard. The Ultimate and Champions editions were released on 6 October ahead of the release of the standard edition on 9 October. EA Play subscribers were able to get a 10-hour early access trial of FIFA 21 on 1 October. The game was also released on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Stadia in December.
Covers and ambassadors
In July 2020, Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé was announced as the cover star of the all three editions. Erling Haaland, Trent Alexander-Arnold, João Félix, Sam Kerr, Wu Lei, Javier Hernández, and Carlos Vela were announced as the official ambassadors of the game.
The FIFA Next ambassadors, a curated list featuring the emerging talent who embody the meaning of 'Win as One', are Mason Mount, Georgia Stanway, Phil Foden, Mallory Pugh, Steven Bergwijn, Theo Hernandez, Rodrygo, Sergiño Dest, Giovanni Reyna, Bruno Guimarães, Hwang Hee-chan, and Aaron Connolly.
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According to Metacritic, the Xbox One version of the game received "generally positive" reviews from critics while the PC and PS4 versions received "mixed or average" reviews. The Nintendo Switch version received "generally unfavourable" reviews from critics.
IGN gave the Nintendo Switch version of FIFA 21 a 2/10, electing to largely republish the same review it previously gave FIFA 20 since the game was "virtually unchanged" from it (which itself was also largely unchanged from FIFA 19), and concluding that "if last year's release was borderline insulting, this year's is just plain disgraceful." The PS4 version of the game was also subject to review bombing on review aggregator Metacritic.
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