FIFA 21: Has EA Finally Improved Career Mode?

EA has revealed a load of new features for Career Mode, but will they finally improved the stagnating mode?

Image Source: EA FIFA

EA has revealed a number of updates and features that we’re going to see in FIFA 21 Career Mode. For many fans Career Mode on FIFA 20 was a disappointing playing experience with seemingly little changes and upgrades from the previous year’s version.

For the past couple of years, it seems as if Career Mode has been the slightly forgotten sibling of its online counterparts. Much is riding on this year’s Career Mode as fans are losing patience with the lack of improvements and updates.

In a statement released by EA, they put, in bold, a number of features that we are likely to see, ranging from interactive match sim and enhanced opposition AI.

EA stated that there is more to come in August, but for now, we’ll look at each detailed feature one by one and see what it could mean for Career Mode.

Interactive Match Sim

Image Source: EA FIFA

The image above shows us what interactive match sim will look like on the game, but it effectively allows you to start simulating a game and jump into and out of the game whenever you like. EA says that you will be able to monitor match data, player performance levels and player stamina to influence your decision-making.

Jumping in and out of a match isn’t anything new, and it’s a feature that has been used in other sports games for many years. However, it will be nice to sim the last 20 minutes of a match when you’re 4-0 in the Carabao Cup against a side that’s three divisions below you.

It also isn’t clear whether the ‘match data’ will be more in-depth than what you can currently see in FIFA 20. However, it would be nice to see more statistics available in Career Mode, such as distance covered, passing percentage, shot accuracy, etc.

Revamped Growth System

The growth system of FIFA 20 has been an issue for those looking to begin a Career Mode dynasty due to issues like players’ ability decreasing exponentially after hitting 30-years-old. However, hopefully, this new revamped growth system will correct some of those issues.

An interesting addition in FIFA 21 mentioned is the ability to change a player’s position. This is something that will be a big help when players are playing in completely different positions in real life to what they are in the game.

Match Sharpness

Not much is mentioned about this ‘match sharpness’ feature, but it seems to be a new attribute that determines how a player will perform in ‘crucial moments during a game.’

Though that description sounds closer to composure, it isn’t known whether this attribute will be static or dynamic. Still, it would make sense for it to be impacted by player circumstances, such as if a player is coming back from injury or is tired after a packed schedule.

Active Training System

Training in Career Mode was a nice addition to grow more specific attributes of individual players, and it seems as if the active training system is effectively going to be the same in FIFA 21, but with group training sessions.

This may, for example, take the form of you hosting drills in which all strikers are involved to help them all improve their finishing.

Activity Management System

Currently, in Career Mode, you don’t have the ability to plan your week as you can in other sports games, such as with NBA 2K’s My League, or in F1 2020. However, that could change with the activity management system.

It is suggested that you will now have the ability to plan your week in advance. You’ll decide when to train, when to rest, and to do this whilst reacting to players fitness, morale, and match sharpness.

For this feature to be impactful, the accumulative effect of players training with no rest needs to have a significant detrimental impact; otherwise, it could turn into a bit of a gimmick.

Enhanced Opposition AI

The challenge with a game that is effectively playing a game of football hundreds, if not thousands, of times is that every game feels the same just with different logos and shirts.

If the enhanced opposition AI lives up to what it’s supposed to do, it should allow each game to feel more like an individual game, with the AI making more ‘informed’ decisions. It would be great to see this feature stretch into styles of play.

Playing against a Barcelona team which actually plays like Barcelona, with their incredible passing and possession game, would make the big games against the big teams feel so much better.

New ways to sign players

Buying and selling players is a considerably more common way of acquiring talent for your team compared to a player swap. However, in this year’s Career Mode, the AI will look to provide both means, with the AI initiating player swaps as well as purchase options.

Loan to buy deals are coming back, and with more options to purchase a player with cash, the updates in FIFA 21 will hopefully result in a more realistic transfer market experience.

New initial set-up options

The final feature that EA has mentioned is in the initial set-up of a campaign. This year, you’ll be able to toggle options such as authentic transfers, boosted transfer budgets, and financial takeover.

Some of these features we’ve seen in games gone-by, but hopefully, the newer additions, like authentic transfers, will add something extra to the experience.

Not for a while have we seen this many features released for Career Mode, and hopefully these changes will add some freshness. Players are screaming every year for significant changes.

So, will this be the year that EA listens, or will we be having this same conversation a year from now?

Tim M

Tim is an avid football and basketball fan supporting West Ham and Toronto Raptors respectively. He also enjoys playing their digital counterparts FIFA and NBA 2K. When he’s not watching or playing, you’d find him relaxing in front of the tv with his fiancee and a glass of wine.