The Journey was one of the standout things about FIFA 17 – but Alex Hunter’s debut season wasn’t without its flaws.
We go through what we’d like to see in Season 2 – and the tweaks it’ll need to make it even better come FIFA 18.
Customising your Hunter
While playing as Hunter was fun, being able to create your own character would be incredible.
Sadly, we know that’s not going to happen this year – but we know you’ll be able to customise Hunter’s appearance.
The extent of this is yet unknown – but expect to be able to change the youngster’s hair and add tattoos.
What we’d like to see is the ability to change his casual wear – and have this reflected in the cutscenes.
In Mass Effect, another EA game, players were able to do this with lead character Commander Shepherd.
It’s a simple and clever trick – but very, very effective.
Having your own crib
This would be an amazing addition – and welcomed by the community.
Giving Hunter his own ‘house’ – complete with five-a-side pitch, cars and Tvs could be a fun way of reinforcing the fact he has a life outside of football.
Little quirks such as adding a gym that you can use to improve certain feats – such as fitness or strength – would act as a real incentive.
Taking it one step further, inviting friends round to your crib via online matchmaking and playing them at five-a-side would be genius.
We doubt that last bit will ever happen, though.
The national team (Spoilers)
At the end of FIFA 17’s The Journey, Hunter is called up by the national team.
As a result, expect the narrative in FIFA 18 to focus more on his international career – as Hunter manages conflicts between club and country.
We’d hope, just like in real life, it’s full of ups and downs.
Building on the player-choice system shown in the previous season– we’d expect to see key moments in time that potentially affect Hunter’s fate if reacted to a certain way.
For example, Hunter could be pressurised into going on a night out before a match. Choose not to go and he may go on to get man of the match. Give in to temptation and he could be caught boozing and dropped.
We’d also expect more press conferences and dialogue choices to allow players to better shape how Hunter is perceived by the global media.
Transfers to clubs
We’d love to see more freedom around club transfers.
For example, if Hunter feels his time at a club is coming to an end, he could put in a transfer request.
This, again, would help players feel more responsible for Hunter’s future – as well as addressing one of the most talked-about aspects of the game.
Little features, such as media and fans vilifying him if he joined a rival club – would be the icing on the cake.
Perhaps moving to a new club could result in a separate story line – rather than in the last game where every experience was the same, regardless of what club Hunter played for.
Graphics and animation
The Frostbite engine was put to good use in FIFA 17, but is capable of so much more.
Lip-syncing was sometimes off, while Hunter’s movement – particularly during cut scenes, was slightly robotic.
Rather than chopping and changing (as has been the case in many FIFA game engines), EA will stick with Frostbite in FIFA 18.
While we shouldn’t expect a vast improvement, character models and realism will surely get a boost.
Expect better 4K support and a bigger difference between PS4 and PS4 Pro versions.
The dialogue wheel and consequences
Whilst EA should be praised for their RPG style dialogue wheel – there needs to be more player choice.
Far too often the “fiery” or “cool” response wasn’t extreme enough – made worse by lacklustre responses from NPCs.
We’d expect to see this built on in FIFA 18 – with extreme reactions and consequences stemming from ill-managed conversations.
We want to Hunter to storm out of a press conference if he lets questions get to him. Or be revered by the media if he shifts praise on to the team, rather than himself after a man-of-the-match performance.
Mass Effect introduced an “interrupt” feature during conversations – which could work wonders for character exchanges.
While the narrative was engaging, some characters’ performances were less than convincing – with some lines delivered as though they were reading straight from the script.
We want the main characters to portray and express more emotional range – and be supported by a cast who don’t let the side down.
The writing in Season 1 was generally pretty good – but with a bit more work it could be spectacular.
The return of Gareth Walker
Need we say more?
The relationship between Hunter and Walker was one of the best things about The Journey – so we’re fully expecting this to continue in FIFA 18.
We want Walker to be even more nasty and conniving. Perhaps he tempts Hunter into doing something bad – putting the emphasis on the player to resist.
We really hope so.