The latest edition of the popular video game FIFA features high-end graphics and crisp user interplay as well as stunning gameplay features – but playing FIFA wasn't always this aesthetically pleasing.
Goal rewinds the clock and takes a look at how FIFA's gaming interface has evolved over the years, starting off as a game that looked as if it belonged in the arcade next to Super Mario Bros.
#1 FIFA 21
There had been some concerns that FIFA 21 might not land thanks to Covid-19-related disruptions, but EA Sports launched the game in October 2020.
Kylian Mbappe ascended to the throne on all three covers of the game, taking sole billing for the first time since Cristiano Ronaldo in FIFA 19. David Beckham was the headline Icon addition, while a new 'Quick Sim' option became available on Career Mode.
- EA Sports
#2 FIFA 20
FIFA 20 saw the introduction of Volta mode - a small-sided street football game mode. It was the first such street football to appear in the franchise since the days of FIFA Street. Eden Hazard was the chief cover star, with Virgil van Dijk appearing on the cover of the Champions edition. Zinedine Zidane was the new star Icon, too, so a new generation was able to play as Zizou.
- EA sports
#3 FIFA 19
FIFA 19 introduced the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and Super Cup competitions to the game, alongside the final chapter of Alex Hunter's "The Journey" story mode.
Martin Tyler and Alan Smith return as regular commentators, while the new commentary team of Derek Rae and Lee Dixon feature in the UEFA Champions League.
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#4 FIFA 18FIFA 18 was the first title to feature Ultimate team ICONS on all systems, and also introduced the Cruyff turn – a feint named after Dutch star Johan Cruyff – as one of the four new skills.
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#5 FIFA 17FIFA 17 was the first to introduce a story mode that featured fictional footballer Alex Hunter in "The Journey".
- XBox One HQ
#6 FIFA 16FIFA 16 was the first title in the series to include female athletes and national teams.
#7 FIFA 15FIFA 15 was the first edition released during EA's deal with the English Premier League as Official Sports Technology Partner, allowing all 20 Premier League stadiums to be included in the game – as well as official Premier League scoreboards and television graphics.
#8 FIFA 14Features such as Human Intelligence were introduced in FIFA 14, alongside True Player Motion and signature goal celebrations from Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and and Gareth Bale.
#9 FIFA 13Attacking Intelligence was introduced in FIFA 13, as well as Complete Dribbling and 1st Touch Control.
#10 FIFA 12
FIFA 12 was the first version of the game to be fully operational in Mac OS X.
It included several new functions such as: Player Impact Engine (a physics engine built to deliver real-world physicality in every interaction on the pitch), Precision Dribbling (delivering a higher fidelity of touch on the ball for attacking players), Tactical Defending (placing equal importance on positioning, intercepting passes and tackling) and Pro Player Intelligence.
#11 FIFA 11New features in FIFA 11 include an improved passing system, improved player likenesses, the option to play as a goalkeeper for the first time, and a new replacement to the manager mode called career mode – the ability play as a manager, player or player manager.
#12 FIFA 10FIFA 10 featured an extended manager mode which boasted a new assistant manager that could be used to take care of the team's line-up and to rotate the squad based on importance of the upcoming match and transfer kitty.
#13 FIFA 09
Online play was improved in FIFA 09 with a feature called "FIFA 09 Clubs" – allowing players to form or join clubs and field their strongest team online.
The game was also the first in the FIFA series to feature user-controlled goal celebrations. Clive Tyldesley and Andy Gray provided commentary in the English version, though in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, Tyldesley was replaced by Martin Tyler.
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#14 FIFA 08
FIFA 08 introduced a new game mode titled "Be a Pro", in which the player controls only a single player on the field.
This version also introduced a larger club selection section including the League of Ireland and the Hyundai A-League of Australia.
#15 FIFA 07Wembley Stadium and the Emirates were introduced as new stadia with the ability to create custom teams also added.
#16 FIFA 06
FIFA 06 saw a rebuild of the game's interplay which made for a dramatic increase in the control of play.
It also introduced an improved career mode with the inclusion of "team chemistry" which determined how well team members played together.
#17 FIFA Football 2005
FIFA Football 2005 included the return of the create-a-player mode, as well as an improved career mode.
It also saw the inclusion of first-touch gameplay which provides gamers with the ability to perform "real-life" tricks and passes, and was the first version to feature the full Mexican league.
#18 FIFA Football 2004
The biggest new inclusion in FIFA Football 2004 was secondary divisions, allowing the player to take lower ranked teams into the top leagues and competitions.
A new gameplay feature dubbed "off the ball" was introduced – which is the ability to simultaneously control two players to move a second player into the box in anticipation of a pass.
#19 FIFA Football 2003FIFA Football 2003 added greater player likeness to the likes of Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho and also featured improved and completely new gameplay from previous editions. "Freestyle Control" was introduced, allowing the user to flick the ball on and lay it off to team-mates.
#20 FIFA Football 2002
Power bars for passes were introduced in FIFA Football 2002, and dribbling reduced in order to attain a higher challenge level.
It was also the last iteration of the game to include the Japan National Team until FIFA 17, due to the side selling exclusive team rights to Konami in 2002.
#21 FIFA 2001
This version was the first to include a power bar for shooting and was also the first that could be played online – a revolutionary feat back then.
FIFA 2001's license also included official club emblems for the first time.
#22 FIFA 2000
Sol Campbell performed motion capture duties for the game and then had his actions computer generated. FIFA 2000 marked the introduction of Major League Soccer, replacing the fictitious "American" league that was previously featured.
International recording star Robbie Williams also was cyber-scanned into the game – so you can see him when he sings in the introduction to the game.
#23 FIFA 99
Indoor playing mode and the Malaysian league were abolished, but FIFA '99 saw the introduction of the Belgian league and the Portuguese league.
It also implemented a league where the top European teams not in the top leagues were able to play against each other – known as the 'Rest of Europe'.
#24 FIFA: Road to World Cup 98
The '98 edition of the game was the start of a growing trend of quality in the series, featuring improved graphics and more team and player customisation options as well as more stadia, FIFA-registered national teams. It was also the first to feature popular musicians for the soundtrack.
Blur's 'Song 2' was used as the opening track, with the offisde rule also introduced within the game.
#25 FIFA 97
A huge introduction in FIFA 97 was the 6-a-side indoor feature with polygonal players, and the game increased their number of playable leagues to include Malaysia.
This version was also the first to feature in-game commentary by John Motson, alongside Andy Gray and Des Lynam introducing the matches.
#26 FIFA 96
FIFA 96 was the first game to feature real-time 3D graphics on specific platforms, and was also the first to present players with real player names and positions, alongside ranking, transfer and team customisation tools.
The Brazilian teams, however, had faulty rosters – having included some long-retired players that were only corrected in FIFA 99 – and the American league still consisted of entirely fake teams and players.
#27 FIFA 95
Using the same mechanisms and featuring only minor upgrades, FIFA 95 was the first edition to introduce club teams within eight national leagues: Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Netherlands, and the United States.
#28 FIFA International Soccer
The very first incarnation of FIFA as we know it was called 'FIFA International Soccer' and released in 1993, riding the wave of traditional 16-bit games, and only featured national teams. Real player names were not used!
A notorious bug allowed the player to score by standing in front of the goalkeeper so that the ball rebounded against him and into the net