FIFA 18 - release date, trailer, The Journey 2 details and everything you need to know

Fast facts

  • FIFA 18 release date: September 29
  • Formats: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Developer: EA Canada

FIFA 18 sees a familiar face return, plus lots of new features

Just as you’d hoped, Alex Hunter is back. Yes, EA is releasing a new football game this September – surprise surprise! – and the likeable protagonist from FIFA 17 story mode The Journey is set to continue his path to international footballing glory. That’s not the only FIFA 18 info worth knowing as that early-season release date approaches. Changes to Ultimate Team include multi-format legends – or Icons, as they’re now known – while fresh career mode and licensing details are expected in a matter of weeks. Here’s the all-important scouting report on FIFA 18, ahead of its arrival in stores…

FIFA 18 release date comes just after the start of the real season

FIFA 18 will appear in stores on September 29, around six weeks into the new European football season (depending on your home country), with live updates expected to have all the summer transfers in-place for day one – such as new Manchester United capture Victor Lindelof and Bayern Munich wing addition Serge Gnabry. Various editions of the game are already available for pre-order from the official FIFA website, including a version that unlocks both Ronaldos for play in Ultimate Team. What do I mean by ‘both’ Ronaldos? Read on…

FIFA 18 trailer features a lot of athletic footwork

Unsurprisingly, given that he's the cover star and most famous player in the world right now, Cristiano Ronaldo is the focal point of FIFA 18’s first trailer. Look past the spectacular goals and mazy dribbles, and you’ll note his isn’t the only bespoke running style in the game – Raheem Sterling and Antoine Griezmann, to name two, also move just like their real-life counterparts. 

FIFA 18 cover star is the man fans love to hate

Cristiano Ronaldo is the FIFA 18 cover star, taking the mantle Borussia Dortmund midfielder Marco Reus owned last year. The Madrid superstar's placement on the cover isn’t merely symbolic of his current elite status, however: it’s also led to tangible gameplay changes. Ronaldo features in The Journey 2 as part of Alex Hunter’s comeback story – a recent Tweet showed he and actor Adetomiwa Edun during a break from filming – and he’s also been mo-capped for FIFA 18’s on-pitch action. That means his unique, long-armed running style is finally included in the game, as are his playing traits – such as often trying to dribble and score himself even if there’s an unmarked team-mate available in the penalty area. Yup, I went there.

FIFA 18 The Journey sequel features a customisable Alex Hunter

Season two of The Journey picks up where FIFA 17 left off. If you completed the original story, you’ll begin FIFA 18 at the same club – with traits and honours, such as a Premier League title or FA Cup win, carried over. Those starting afresh will see a montage of key plot points, then be able to select from any current English Premier League side.

This time around The Journey is split into six chapters, with long-term targets promised within each. Unlockable items include new clothes and hairstyles for Hunter; he’s now fully customisable, and I’ve even seen a version of him sporting Paul Pogba’s memorable-for-all-the-wrong-reasons leopard-print mohawk.

While FIFA 17 locked Hunter to the English Premier League and Championship, EA says this time around you’ll get to experience "the world of football", with Brazil and the USA among the new locations. Characters such Hunter's mum, granddad and agent all return, and the mode is of similar length to last year – in the region of 10-15 hours.

FIFA 18 gameplay is focussed on four specific pillars

As covered in depth by GR+'s extensive FIFA 18 hands-on feature, EA Canada outlined four specific areas of focus for its on-pitch action: responsiveness, explosiveness, fluidity, and personality. Yet there are subtler changes at work too, such as significantly improved dribbling, revised team AI, and reworked set pieces – most notably the penalty system, which is far more user friendly than FIFA 17’s. New ‘motion technology’ makes animations smoother and enables your players to react to inputs almost instantaneously, while season two of Frostbite upgrades everything from a visual standpoint. Player likenesses within replays are especially impressive, and one area where FIFA 18 and rival PES 2018 are both going to be examined in microscopic detail.

FIFA 18's PS4 version is boosted by legends such as Brazil's Ronaldo

Playable legends such as Dennis Bergkamp and Pele are among the most popular elements of the FIFA series’ all-conquering Ultimate Team mode, with one catch: until this year, they were exclusive to Xbox. That changes for FIFA 18, with legends now renamed Icons and available on all formats – including PS4 and PC. The original Ronaldo, owner of 98 international caps and 62 goals for Brazil, is the first announced, with more names due in mid-June. Keep this page bookmarked for updates as soon as they’re available.

FIFA 18 Ultimate Team details due at Gamescom in August

Aside from the announcement of Icons, developer EA Canada has been completely silent on further Ultimate Team details this far. GamesRadar’s 11 key changes FIFA 18 needs to make according to fans feature covered intriguing suggestions such as free agents within the mode, bronze and silver seasons, and specific kits and badges for individual FUT squads. However, EA won’t comment on the possibility of any of these at this time. 

FIFA 18 Switch version is best played on-the-go

Nintendo is once more graced with EA’s flagship football game, as FIFA 18 makes its Switch debut using a custom engine. It’s somewhere between the next-gen and current-gen versions, with many of the same features – such as Ultimate Team, which arrives on a Ninty console for the first time. There’s no Frostbite here, but the handheld version still delivers crisp, clear visuals, and in terms of responsiveness it’s a step up from previous handheld instalments on PSP and PS Vita. It runs at 60fps too, which is no small feat for a sports game on a portable format. 

Related FIFA 18 news

First FIFA 18 screens emerge, along with cover star and release date

FIFA 18 legends coming to PS4 as 'Icons', Brazil's Ronaldo first confirmed

FIFA 18 hands-on: Your questions answered on The Journey 2, Ultimate Team, fixed penalties, and more

First three new stadiums for FIFA 18 confirmed: LA Galaxy, Brighton & Hove Albion, and Huddersfield Town

11 key changes FIFA 18 needs to make - according to fans