FIFA 18 gamers may not be able to play with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabonese international, 28, is strongly linked to a £70million move to Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian.
Gabon are not in the game either, putting Aubameyang at high risk of the chop.
EA SPORTS’ lead gameplay producer Sam Rivera said: “Our intention with FIFA is to bring the best leagues in the world.
“Yes, we thought about the Chinese league, but for now the Super League will not be included in FIFA 18 .”
Hulk and Oscar won’t be playable for their clubs either but will likely still feature as part of the Brazil squad.
Gamers have been calling on EA to include the Chinese Super League for months after a string of high-profile players made the move overseas.
Earlier in the year, Jiangsu Suning’s Alex Teixeira Santos posted a picture on Instagram, with the caption: “Official presentation for FIFA 18 new jersey for the 2017 season.”
Some took this to be a sign the league was set to be included – but it’s clear now this is not the case.
So, what’s FIFA 18 like to play?
We played the game at a preview event and left feeling very impressed.
Why not take a look at our FIFA 18 early review.
What platforms is it on?
FIFA 18’s lead consoles will be the Xbox One (Scorpio) and PS4 Pro.
It’ll also come on on Xbox One, Ps4, PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Nintendo Switch.
Small print on FIFA 18’s reveal trailer has revealed some key differences between the game and the Nintendo Switch version.
The video includes a line of text that reads: “Frostbite game engine technology and The Journey: Hunter Returns mode are available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC platform versions only. Not all features available on all platforms.”
In other words, it’ll be a completely different game.
So, will it look better on current-gen platforms?
In short, yes – but don’t expect a huge improvement. It’ll be powered by the same engine.
Speaking to Dream Team Gaming, Frostbite Studio Director Jonas Skantz revealed: “I can assure you that Frostbite continues to be a true differentiator.”
“With more and more games powered by Frostbite – whether it is FIFA, Battlefield, Mass Effect or others – our development teams can spend more time building new groundbreaking gameplay innovations.”
FIFA 17 was the first game in the series to be powered by Frostbite – which replaced Ignite used the previous year.
While graphics took a boost this year, especially facial and player animations, FIFA 18 will see more subtle improvements as it’ll run on the same Frostbite 4 engine.
Expect player movement and animation to look sharper – not to mention greater detail and likeness.
Other peripheral graphical tweaks, such as improved crowd detail, will also be present.
PS4 Pro owners and PC gamers will once again receive the best-looking versions of the game.
The former will once again capitalise on ‘Pro Mode’ – allowing for increased detail and more stable framerate at above 1080p resolution.
Pro Mode offered tangible improvements in FIFA 17, but this year, EA will have more time to push this even further and make greater use of Pro’s substantial GPU grunt.
Tell us about the Xbox 360 and Ps3 versions – surely they’ll be better than last year?
Sadly, not. It won’t feature The Journey or use the Frostbite engine.
“Yes, it will be coming out on Xbox 360 and PS3 but is going to be a ‘Gold’ version”, EA SPORTS’ lead gameplay producer Sam Rivera told Dream Team Gaming.
“So there will be updates in the rosters but nothing big, new – like the new engine. It’s just basically an update.”
Rivera confirmed the game will run on Ignite – which has been used since FIFA 16.
This means it will be almost identical to last year’s game and look noticeably worse than FIFA 18 on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Bringing The Journey to last-gen consoles would require recreating the entire experience using Ignite – a move that makes no sense from either a technical or commercial perspective.
Still, that didn’t stop fans from expressing their anger at Alex Hunter’s omission on older consoles in FIFA 17.
Last year, some didn’t realise until it was too late – and bought FIFA 17 on Xbox 360 and PS3 only to be disappointed that the key mode didn’t feature.
Retailers were equally as confused, with Amazon.co.uk coming under fire for accidentally using screenshots from the current-gen version of the game on adverts for the Xbox 360 version.
One wrote: “My son bought this as it clearly said it included journey mode unlike the standard version costed over 50 pounds. He is now bitterly disapointed having wasted his money this game is no better than fifa 15.”
Another said: “This was purchased for my 12 year old out of his birthday money.
“He was so excited when it arrived and looking forward to playing it, however this soon turned to bitter disappointment when he discovered that it did not include The Journey and therefore not much different from previous versions of FIFA.”
It’s not the first time Xbox 360 and Ps3 users have been handed a bad deal.
The entire single-player campaign of Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 was omitted from last-gen consoles.
PES, meanwhile, uses the Fox Engine, which is much more last-gen friendly.
While it won’t look as good as the shiny new current-gen versions, Konami’s game will still perform well on older hardware, so could prove a better bet this year.
Tell us about the Nintendo Switch version
The relationship between FIFA and Nintendo is a strange one.
When the Wii U launched back in 2012, it took three months for FIFA 13 to make its way on to the console.
When it did finally arrive, it was lacking arguably the most popular mode, Ultimate Team – and gameplay was sub par compared with the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions.
Subsequent FIFA games were scrapped from the Wii U, with EA focusing efforts on the then next-gen consoles and the ageing Wii.
However, the arrival of the Nintendo Switch heralds a new fresh start for the relationship between the Japanese manufacturer and EA.
“The only thing I can tell you is that there’s a big team of people working on this,” he told Dream Team Gaming.
“It’s being created in a very serious way – the gameplay, it’s fun and different.”
In fact, if both companies play their cards right, the Switch version of FIFA 18 could be the most attractive proposition of the lot. Here’s why.
You’ll be able to play FIFA 18 on the go
The Switch has already proven itself as a brilliant handheld companion, so being able to play the full game (not just the Web App) on the go will give this version the edge.
Thankfully, FIFA has been ‘custom built’ for Nintendo’s new hardware.
It may not use the latest Frostbite technology but gameplay is sleek, responsive and runs at 60FPS.
Plus, you’re able to detach the Joy Con controllers and play a friend – although this can be a bit fiddly.
A battery life of up to six hours makes it perfect for long journeys.
It has Ultimate Team
As long as you have Wifi you’ll be able to play Ultimate Team and buy packs as you normally would.
Champions won’t feature but that’s not the end of the world.
Graphics and presentation
Sure, it’s not as crisp as the Xbox One, PS4 and PC versions of the game – but FIFA on the Switch is by no means ugly.
EA producer Andrei Lazaresco told Eurogamer about how they made the most out of Switch’s Nvidia Maxwell-based Tegra X1 chip.
“We’re using physical-based rendering,” he said.
“The crowds are 3D. The grass is 3D. The lighting is new. And on top of that you’ll have Ultimate Team for the first time on Nintendo – and for the first time you’ll be able to take it on the go.
“You’ll be able to play on a plane, on a bus, even from just a hotspot.”
Sounds like a winner to us.
It’ll be easier than ever to meet new players
Right now, if you want to add a friend on the Switch you need to use an annoying 12 digit Friend Code. But that’s all about to change.
Nintendo confirmed to Polygon that more ways to add pals are on the way – using the likes of Twitter, Facebook and the simple Nintendo Network ID.
Expect FIFA 18 to have a custom interface for adding players – although no details of this have been announced.
What about Legends – are they making a return?
FIFA 18 has ditched Xbox exclusive Legends in multi-platform Icons.
As well as Ronaldo Nazario, the first wave of Icons will feature:
- Diego Maradona
- Lev Yashin
- Thierry Henry
David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldinho are also rumoured to be on the way.
You can find out more information about FIFA 18 Icons here
Will it play the same as FIFA 17?
FIFA 17 has come under fire for some aspects of its gameplay – but as FIFA 18 will be powered by the same engine, we doubt much will change here.
Input delay – the time it takes for a button press to translate into an on-screen action – has led to some negative feedback in FIFA 17.
There have also been claims of ‘EAaids’ or ‘scripting’, which refers to the game dynamically adjusting online matches to favour weaker players.
Whilst the former issue is a result of the game’s severs compensating for ‘Ping’ or connection strength variance between online players, we’d expect to see action taken over ‘EAAids’.
What other things do fans want to see addressed in FIFA 18?
There’s quite a few things that annoyed gamers with FIFA 17.
Here are the main ones.
Long Shots – from 45 yards
These find the back of the net far too often.
It’s largely because goalkeeper AI isn’t up to scratch, meaning they spend too often standing still before attempting a dive.
The shots themselves are way too accurate – so incorporating more human error would make things more realistic.
Keepers Mechanics and goal line technology
In penalties, the keepers sometimes do not save the ball despite the fact they dive in the correct direction.
During open gameplay, they also get confused about when they should punch or catch a ball – the former often resulting in the ball landing to an opponent.
The goal-line technology system is also incredibly erratic.
When a player is fouled, the ‘complain’ animation takes far too long – taking them out of the game for a noticeable period of time.
This needs to be shortened.
The CPU AI is far too good at defending, so much so that it’s often more effective to put the controller down and let it do the work.
This needs to be toned down so it doesn’t feel that you’re trying to beat the computer as well as the human opponent.
Scrapping auto blocking and auto tackles would be welcome too.
Corners, Headers and chesting
Some fans have reported that corners leave you too exposed to a counter because players don’t get back fast enough to cover.
Regarding headers, it seems the attacker always has the ability to step in front of the defender, making it easier for them to score regardless of stats.
Adding more control to the aerial tussle would improve things no end.
Chesting the ball is also inconsistent and in desperate need of more control.
These have been slightly flaky throughout FIFA 17’s lifespan, so greater optimisation especially during peak times would be welcome.
Thankfully, EA revealed that they have a dedicated team of people tasked with ensuring the servers are much improved come FIFA 18.
Players should also be kicked for inactivity if they put down the controller for long periods of time.
If a game disconnects during a match, there needs to be a period where it tries to reconnect to the player until a certain time limit is hit.
These are often cited as being too inconsistent – with officials often awarding fouls for very weak challenges.
Cards need to given out more frequently, especially for slide tackles.
The red card bug, where the ref will send the last defender off if they tug on an attacker’s shirt, needs to be axed, too.
When they release a trailer?
EA Sports have released the trailer for the new game here – you can watch it here.
They also released a Journey 2: Hunter Returns trailer
When will it come out, and will there be a demo?
If past years are anything to go by, the FIFA 18 demo will arrive on September 15 – two weeks before launch.
The FIFA 17 demo dropped on September 13, with the full game arriving on September 27. FIFA 16 followed the same pattern, with the demo arriving on September 8 and the game released on the 22nd.
So, what’s in the demo?
If it’s the same build EA have been showing off at their preview events, you’ll be able to play as Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, PSG Juventus, Gamba Osaka, Lyon, Inter, Seattle Sounders and Tigres in the demo.
You’ll also likely be able to play through the first part of The Journey: Hunter Returns – although we wouldn’t doing that unless you’ve played the first one.
No sweat, here’s what happens at the end of The Journey – if you won’t have time to play through it.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo still be the best player?
It’s been an incredible year for the Portuguese, so he’ll definitely remain the game’s best player in FIFA 18.
Some believe he may have a stats downgrade, though – especially with regards to his pace and dribbling.
Lionel Messi, who has been in blistering form of late, will keep second spot.
Who will be the cover star?
Cristiano Ronaldo is the cover star – marking the end of an incredible season for the 32 year-old.
On the news, Ronaldo said: “It is a real pleasure to be on the cover of FIFA 18, It’s a great feeling and I am grateful to have been chosen.”
But what happens if he leaves Real Madrid?
If the 32-year-old was to leave the club, FIFA 18 risks being severely outdated before it even hits the shelves.
Not only that, but EA would have to change the cover star at short notice, meaning the original September 29 release date could be put back.
While no offers for the star are on the table, EA is likely poised for any movement and have a contingency plan in place should Ronaldo leave Los Blancos.
Manchester United had reportedly been interested in pursuing the Portuguese forward but last night pulled out, opting to focus on his cheaper teammate, Alvaro Morata.
Ronaldo is keen to leave the La Liga champions after Spanish tax authorities started an investigation into his tax affairs.
It was too late for one man kick offs to feature in FIFA 17 – but will they come along this year?
The change in football laws came into effect at the start of the 2016/17 season, but too late for EA Sports to implement the change into FIFA 17.
Fortunately, they have included the new rule into the game, meaning players will be using the one-man kick-off system in all matches.
Dream Team was given the chance to play the new game, and experienced for ourselves the one-man kick-off format.
Of course, we tried our best to kick it all the way back to the keeper, but we couldn’t do it in the build of the game we played (doubtless someone will come up with a YouTube video showing how to at a later date).
But we were able to pass it back to the central defenders, wide midfielders, as well as just knock it back to the other forward.
We also asked FIFA’s Lead Gameplay Producer Sam Rivera how frustrating it was that football changed the kick-off laws, just days after FIFA 17 had gone to press.
He said: “I remember we talked about whether or not we could get it into the last game, but it was impossible for us to do it.
“It’s a nice addition that you see in real life, how it works is basically we tried to find out which teams were doing one player kick offs and who weren’t, but we couldn’t find find any patterns.
“So we just made it so that if you start the game with a one player kick off, you carry on the whole game with it whenever you take a kick-off.”
Will The Journey feature again? (SPOILER ALERT)
Yes, it’s called Hunter Returns.
The Journey 2 will still follow the life and career of Alex Hunter, and no, you won’t be able to be anyone else.
Unfortunately for those hoping to put themselves in the game, or play with a player of their choice, you still have to be Alex Hunter.
Here’s what we know:
The story line decisions are much broader
Last season’s game mode saw the story line quite narrow, with limited decision making.
It was the first time EA Sports had entered in a story mode like this, so we can forgive them, but this time round the story line is much, much broader, and the decisions you make will make a much greater difference.
Whereas most of us ended up winning the FA Cup with our Hunters in FIFA 17, it’ll be interesting to see where our character can end up once we’ve taken different decisions from our mates.
The gameplay and mechanics are virtually the same
We haven’t had a chance to play the whole thing, far from it, but it looks as if though they’ve maintained the things we enjoyed most from The Journey.
So decisions of fiery, cool or moderate stay, you’ll have to earn ratings in training and matches to excel, and scenes will happen sporadically through the story.
You can modify your Alex Hunter to have blonde hair and tattoos
…And the rest. You’ll be able to change the look of your Alex Hunter to have a vast array of different hairstyles, tattoos, tracksuits and so on.
There is apparently ‘hundreds’ of options to choose from, which will be an exciting change.
Read more about the changes you’ll be able to make to your character here.
Will you be able to start where you left off in FIFA 17?
That’s one thing we’ve not been told as yet, but it looks likely that you’ll have to start afresh with your new Hunter in this game.
Presumably the thinking behind this (if it were the case) will be that because everyone ended their Hunter in a slightly different way but broadly on a similar path (winning the FA Cup, getting a 75 FUT card etc.), it would make more sense to just wipe the slate clean.
Slightly annoying for those who became fond of their Hunter, but probably it’s all for the best.
Does Alex Hunter get a girlfriend?
Hmm, now this one could get interesting.
At the FIFA 18 preview event in May, we watched a presentation on The Journey 2, in which an image of a woman, probably a similar age to Hunter, popped up.
The guys from EA Sports pointed it out, said they won’t tell us exactly who it was, before adding that there were ‘a lot of new characters’ that you come across and interact with.
We can’t say it definitively, but certainly one to watch.
Cristiano Ronaldo features in it, and quite heavily
CR7 is the real star of FIFA 18, given what we’ve seen of the game so far.
It’s no different in The Journey 2, and we’ve seen images and clips of Cristiano appearing in a scene alongside Hunter.
Considering he’s the cover star, the Real Madrid man will feature prominently in the game across the board.
Speaking of which…
Alex Hunter gets offered a move to Real Madrid?
Whether or not this is as a result of a few decisions and good performances going right for your character, but we’ve witnessed a scene in which Hunter’s agent storms into his kitchen/dining room/lounge (that hasn’t changed) and offers him a move to Los Blancos.
That’s all we’ll say about it here, you can read all about the scenes we’ve played here.
You can play local multiplayer in your game
This is a lovely little addition – you’ll now be able to play The Journey alongside your friends.
When you’re met with the start game screen, you can play local multiplayer mode, meaning you can blame your friend sat next to you for not slipping in Hunter to secure a goal an a much-needed 7.0 rating.
That’s pretty much what we’ve seen so far of The Journey 2 – we’ll post more as it comes.
Will free kicks and penalties stay the same?
Penalties won’t change much, but free kicks could see an overhaul.
The new “momentum” system that governs the set-pieces is incredibly hard to master and has been panned by FIFA players.
As a result, we’d expect this to revert back to the more “traditional” shot power and curl mechanic.
The system works wonders for penalties, though – allowing for much more control over shot placement and power.
Goalkeeper AI during spot kicks is often found wanting, so expect EA to address this.
When will EA release some more information about the game?
EA is planning an Ultimate Team ‘showcase’ at this year’s Gamescom convention in August.
FIFA 18 creative director Matt Prior revealed the publisher will use the conference in Cologne as a springboard for FIFA 18 news about the popular mode.
“Ordinary we don’t announce much about Ultimate Team around this time because we’re in the run up to Gamescom – that’s our big FUT showcase,” he said at a FIFA 18 event in London.