In a move that series die-hards have requested for years, EA is ditching fitness and training items for FIFA 21 (opens in new tab) Ultimate Team.
The types of cards can traditionally be found in packs or on the in-game transfer market, and are a necessary means of keeping your team in-tune between matches, or bolstering individual stats. However, EA says a key target for this year’s game is decreasing time spent in menus rather than playing football, and so both long-serving items are finally axed for FIFA 21.
For those who do want something tangible when not dipping into Squad Battles or Division Rivals, EA has added a fully customisable stadium to Ultimate Team. Like last year it can be decorated with Tifos or stadium themes, but this time out everything else is flexible, too. You’re able to alter the size and layout of stands and walkways, kit out the interior with different types of lighting, and add neat external elements such as canals, gardens or palm trees. For optimal lighting the custom stadium is completely shadow-free, although you can still select the many other FIFA 21 stadiums in the game if you’d prefer to use a real-life environment.
In terms of the mode’s competitive structure FUT Champions matches stay at 30 fixtures per weekend, but there’s a slight change to how Division Rivals works.
“In Division Rivals this year, much like in Squad Battles, there is a match cap,” says creative director Tyler Blair. “After you hit that cap of games you will cease to put new score into your leaderboard for the weekly competition. The number of matches isn’t yet locked in, we’re still tuning and balancing. It’ll fall somewhere between 20 and 40 games. We want to find the right balance, with considerations for those who like to play or stream a fair bit of FIFA, but also those who play on a less frequent cadence.”
“After you hit your match cap you can continue to progress against objectives, and increase your total skill rating and move towards the next division. What those matches won’t do is continue to put added pressure on those who are playing a bit less, allowing for a more fair and balanced leaderboard at the end of the competition.”
Other changes include a co-op overhaul, including a bespoke home screen from which you can leap straight into Rivals or Squad Battles games with a tag-team partner, and a new batch of legendary players such as Eric Cantona, Ferenc Puskas, Fernando Torres and Xavi. For more on those check out our comprehensive guides to FIFA 21 Ultimate Team (opens in new tab) and FIFA 21 Icons (opens in new tab).