Another year, another FIFA – but could FIFA 21 end up being very different? The ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus situation has wreaked havoc with the football calendar – potentially shaking up the popular annual football game.
Come September every year, fans of the most popular football video game in the world gear up for another outing. The FIFA series attracts all-comers, whether you are a hardcore player or the pick-up-and-play casual sort.
With FIFA’s yearly release window fast approaching, the rumours for what will be included in this year’s game are already ramping up – from “will Volta be back?” and “will they finally fix Career Mode” to “What’s new for Ultimate Team this year?” and “Are we ever going to get a referee mode?!”
EA has released little concrete information about FIFA 21 just yet but we’ve collated all we know and the most popular rumours into this easy-to-read Trusted Reviews guide.
Related: FIFA 20 vs PES 2020
FIFA 21 release date
EA is yet to confirm a date for when FIFA 21 will be released. A Friday, September 25 release date would match the pattern of recent FIFA launch days.
Recent previous FIFA iterations have launched on the last Friday of September, hinting towards the date mentioned above.
However, with the IRL football schedule up in the air, we would expect to see some impact on the content but no changes have been confirmed by EA. This shouldn’t mean you should worry about whether there will be a FIFA 21 but, if there isn’t a regular game schedule to base it on, some disruption to real-time player updates would seem likely.
Related: Read our full FIFA 20 review
FIFA 21 cover
We don’t yet know who will be on the cover of FIFA 21. The FIFA 20 cover saw Eden Hazard take the lead as the main cover star.
Virgil Van Dijk and Zinedine Zidane cropped up as cover stars for special editions of last year’s game so expect some variations on the main version this year too.
Early speculation has suggested a Liverpool player could be a prime candidate for the spot – from Mo Salah to Sadio Mane but these rumours are unconfirmed. FIFA community and feedback site, FIFPlay, is currently running a poll for who should be the cover star – with Son Heung-Min of Spurs currently leading the way. While favoured candidate Salah isn’t far behind down in 5th.
Related: PS5 vs Xbox Series X
FIFA 21 PS5
There is no confirmation yet that FIFA 21 will be a cross-gen title. However, with the game’s expected PS4 release being around September, a later PS5 release would seem likely.
The PS5 release date is currently slated for Holiday 2020 so it would be surprising not to see a new PlayStation 5 release of FIFA 21 come launch day.
FIFA 21 Xbox Series X
EA has yet to confirm there will be an Xbox Series X version of FIFA 21. With a release on Xbox One expected in September, a next-gen release of the game is expected later.
Like the PS5, the Xbox Series X also has a Holiday 2020 release date. As with the transition between Xbox 360 and Xbox One, we would expect there to be a new Xbox Series X version of FIFA 21 once the new console is out.
Whether Sony and Microsoft are kind enough to offer some kind of upgrade scheme remains to be seen.
FIFA 21 features
With EA yet to formally announce FIFA 21, there is no concrete information on features. However, there are plenty of hot topics around the FIFA fandom over what should be included.
A Premier League weekend doesn’t go by without VAR being discussed and, at the moment, it’s a big part of the beautiful game – so, will FIFA 21 have VAR in some form? It would seem like a weird inclusion for a video game in which the referee doesn’t make typically human errors (yes, I’m sure you would argue the FIFA referee has made mistakes against you). FIFA 21 would surely have to incorporate error into the referee’s performance for VAR to make sense and that could be messy or, alternatively, artificially create tension by having the referee use VAR for decisions the game already knows is right or wrong. This is getting complicated.
Then there’s Volta. The Journey replacement got a mixed reception, offering a new take on the FIFA Street formula. We don’t yet know if it will be back but, with the work EA put in to bring the mode to life, it would be strange if it didn’t make some appearance and we could even see FIFA dive deeper into the mode with new integration with online modes like FUT (FIFA Ultimate Team) and more.