Why FIFA 16 Career Mode will be the best yet
I have played FIFA Career Mode for many, many years. I can remember as far back as FIFA 2005. In FIFA 06, Career Mode had more focus on managing team wages. If you spent too much on wages, you could potentially leak money every week in your budget summary. Playing at home got you money through tickets, so you’d try to balance ticket sales to player wages. Playing away, however, you had no income from tickets and a good £100,000+ was gone. The more you paid your players, the more you paid.
Don't forget that on top of that was the staff upgrades. You could upgrade fitness, scouting, finance, medical as well as positional coaches. In FIFA 2005 You couldn’t start at a top tier team either, you had to work your way up from the bottom. FIFA 06 allowed you start at 4-star teams. These were the days where you got to pick your shirt sponsors.
Unfortunately, most of what made early Career Modes so great EA phased out over time. By FIFA 11, staff upgrades, sponsors and ticket sales were all gone. This was and still is common with sports games. It’s most notable when jumping to next-gen consoles. Look at F1 2015, the first next-gen F1 game, which this year is a shell of previous years.
After years of neglect, with focus piled onto the money-printing Ultimate Team. Career Mode has some tricks up its sleeve for FIFA 16.
FIFA 16 doesn't see a return to these features, but an extra depth that the stagnant mode has been waiting for. Yes, there has been the odd change over the years, with the GTN (Global Transfer Network) for example. New features like the heavily requested Player Training add an extra spark Career Mode needed.
This without a doubt has been the most requested feature from the community for many years. Finally EA, for FIFA 16, have included Player Training for Career Mode.
What's so great about Player Training is how it enforces that sense of building a squad. Say, for example, that I'm managing Manchester United (no particular reason, I swear). I want to use Adnan Januzaj more but am deterred by his lack of strength. Before, you'd pray his strength would increase, or buy someone who has the stats you want. As Januzaj is so young, with FIFA 16 I know I can work on his strength through the new Player Training. I can build him into the player I want him to be for a team I’m trying to build.
You can train 5 players per week. You can train Players in skill challenge style scenarios or simulate the whole session. Doing the challenges could reap more benefits as you're guaranteed to do well, yet simulating saves time. If you want to simulate the sessions you might sacrifice some progress. As revealed by Futhead, the game remembers your last training set-up. So you won’t have to set it up every week, without that Player Training could be a huge nuisance.
It's going to add extra depth that Career Mode as struggled with for so long. Training younger players will reap better benefits than training established experienced players. But you can still train the older players if you want, they'll go up, just at a fraction of the rate young talent will.
Player training is definitely a welcome change. I'm expecting a few bugs though, as is the way with every FIFA. Expect to train someone and that stat to go down by 50 for no reason at all. Career mode does tend to start bugging out a few seasons in, and you just have to start again.
Say goodbye to those three completely pointless friendlies. FIFA 16 has spiced up pre-season with tournaments. These tournaments will be a way to inject more budget, which is great for added kick to sign that player you want.
The tournament you get obviously depends on the team stature. You're not going to play Barcelona or PSG if you're Luton Town in English League 2. Tournaments for lower league teams are vague at the moment. But for world-class teams, €11,500,000 is nothing to sneer at.
With the inclusion of unlimited substitutions in friendlies (which will hopefully include pre-season tournaments). Pre-season Tournaments are bound to add to that idea of creating a squad. No word on whether it’s a full 11 man bench for pre-season yet. Having a tournament against the big clubs give you a chance to see how your squad will fare against them as well. So if you’re in the Champions League this season but have no idea how your squad will cope, this will help. Pre-season Tournaments can be a great way to gauge any transfer activity you might want to do.
There's not a complete overhaul of the transfer system in FIFA 16, which is a shame as the GTN is still rather clunky. EA tout a few changes to the GTN though, which seem to just be making it more user- friendly. There are subtle changes as well to the realism of the transfer period.
EA have promised more realistic transfer budgets for FIFA 16. As well as realistic transfer values of players and the amount of "high-profile" moves. I'm hoping they'll add some variety to transfers. For example, start a FIFA 15 Career Mode. Did Dzeko go to Arsenal? Of course he did, 90% of the time that’s where he goes. A percentage of budget left at the end of a season carries over to the next, varying on performance against season goals.
You're in The Championship. It's March, coming toward the end of the season. You're 3rd in the league, your main striker is out for the rest of the season. You just played 2nd and injuring your backup striker and your next game is against 1st. Title decider. Before you would have no options, now you can dip into the market and pick up a Free Agent to potentially save the day. As this year, Free Agents are purchasable at any time in FIFA 16. A great addition for lower league teams, especially for injuries and busy months.
The Small Touches
EA continue to add small touches with each FIFA. They always add that little extra immersion when playing a match. For example, FIFA 16 includes Vanishing Spray. EA are boasting over 900 new chants for FIFA 16, with some previews posted on their SoundCloud.
Also, there are more stadiums added for FIFA 16 this year. We're getting 9 more stadiums added to FIFA 16. Including promoted teams to the premier league: Bournemouth, Norwich, and Watford.
EA continue to add to that TV realistic feel to FIFA. The Barclays Premier League licence package was a great addition in FIFA 15. This year EA have added The Bundesliga licence.
On top of that is "Story of The Season", touted to "fully immerse you in your club's season”. What they outline for Story of the Season sounds a lot like what we had last year. The Commentators remark on debuts and pick out performances, which they did in FIFA 15 anyway. It seems to be some added commentary for player analysis and performance. I would like to see more information on how much there is for Story of the Season.
As well as all these small touches are:
450 new or updated player faces
New weather conditions: hazy, partly cloudy, foggy, random variable rain showers and variable flurries.
New menu options
New sideline celebrations
Unfortunately, almost all features added for FIFA 16 will not be on Xbox 360 or PS3. The Bundesliga Package, Vanishing Spray, New Weather, Sideline Celebrations and some new menu options. The big two, Pre-season Tournaments and Player Training? Again only available on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
So, lots of small changes for FIFA 16 Career Mode, those big two will be the talking point. It'll be interesting to see how well integrated those two will be, and whether they work for that matter. I hope they just don't become features we all skip and sim without much thought to them, that would be a real shame.
Every year people will make their wish lists on what EA should do for the next FIFA Career Mode. What’s so great about that? It shows Career Mode can always improve, there’s always something else they can add. EA can cross two big ones off the list now, and start looking at some of the others. These changes will make me feel like a manager, giving me that feeling of building my team into how I want them to play. There are features from years ago I’d love to come back, but what we’re getting in FIFA 16 is great nonetheless.
Now if I can just tempt Messi away from Barcelona.