FIFA 20 was unveiled at EA Play yesterday, and it comes with a whole suite of improvements that players have come to expect from each new entry in the annual series. In addition to the features covered in last month’s blog post, there are also gameplay tweaks to ball physics, improved animations, controlled tackling that draws from a variety of new tackling animations, and reworked penalty kicks. That being said, Volta and the wealth of new content that comes with it is by far the most significant addition to FIFA 20.
Named after the Portuguese word for return, Volta focuses on soccer at a smaller street level as opposed to the massive 11v11 professional game that players have come to expect. With faster-paced gameplay, smaller fields that have walls, and a 5v5 max for matches, this new mode may please fans of the FIFA Street series that has been dormant since 2012. That being said, when I checked out FIFA 20 and talked with the game’s developers at EA Play, they were keen to highlight that this mode is not arcadey, but instead a more realistic take on street soccer that is accessible to new players.
As for why EA is adding this mode to FIFA 20, Executive Producer Aaron McHardy explained in the official press release that “This year, we are embedding a whole new experience with Volta Football into the game that reflects how many footballers started their careers in the streets. This is a unique aspect of the sport that
gives our players an experience unlike anything they have ever seen before in EA Sports FIFA.” Volta matches seem to be faster paced, and the addition of walls and smaller team sizes make things more intense and will change viable strategies. That being said, Volta has still been created within the same exact engine as the main game, something the FIFA Street series never benefited from.
When first entering Volta, the developer’s recommended that players check out Volta Kick-Off or the new short story mode that will “teach people not only to play the game by training and all the rest of it, but teach them about the world and culture of street” according to Creative Director Matthew Prior. Like the early stages of NBA Live’s The One and NHL Threes before it, Volta gives players the ability to customize their character, team, and home turf. Once this is all set, they can play 3v3, 4v4, and 5v5 matches in Volta World, which lets players fight other community generated squads in venues around the world and build their own team. Volta is much more diverse than the typical FIFA game as well as it supports created character of any race and gender on any team, which is a first for the FIFA series.
There are individual achievements players can complete to get new gear, but this can also, unfortunately, be bought with the in-game currency. This currency will likely be available to purchase through microtransactions if so, this is the only real blemish on an otherwise cool mode. There will also be an online Volta League when FIFA 20 launches, though that wasn’t discussed much during my hands-off demo. As a fan of NHL Threes, I was open to the idea of a faster paced and more accessible mode in FIFA 20, and what I saw behind closed doors didn’t disappoint despite still being a work-in-progress.
Modes like NHL Threes are typically more “arcadey” in style, with flashy aspects to separate itself from the realistic base game. Even FIFA Street even had its fair share of unrealistic mechanics and visuals, especially the earlier titles in the series. As such, I asked FIFA 20’s developers if they would consider Volta to be an arcadey alternative for those tired with the realistic base game. Interestingly, this was not the case as the developers strayed away for labeling Volta as arcadey, promoting it as a realistic alternative experience.
“I don’t think it’s more arcadey, I think it’s more fast and frenetic experience that is based around the core 11v11 gameplay” Matthew Prior told DualShockers. “It’s a different experience and it’s faster and fun because there is so much going on, but it is not arcadey in the sense that it is a different experience completely from the 11v11…There is obviously the skills element to it, but at its foundation it is still about winning, it is still about football.”
Aaron McHardy also added to the discussion saying that “It is one of the reasons that we choose to use the 11v11 gameplay engine as the base for building this mode. You think back to FIFA Street, it was quite fantastical and maybe arcadey, with [Volta] we wanted to move it into the authenticity of what happens and the style of what happens in the streets when you go around the world.” They then added an anecdote about how the streetball community sometimes dislikes more flashy players if they don’t have the skill to back it up.
Even if Volta doesn’t have the flashier, arcadey elements of FIFA Street or its contemporary modes in other EA Sports games, it still looks like it will be an enjoyable departure from the base game. With how similar sports games can feel year-to-year, I always appreciate a fleshed out side mode that spices things up and may draw in those are considering whether or not they want to dedicate themselves to this year’s FIFA. The developers also stressed the fact that Volta’s inclusion did not take anything away from the base game, so those who just care about the 11v11 mode don’t have much to worry about.
FIFA 20 is currently confirmed for PC, PS4, and Xbox One and will be released on September 27, 2019. There will also be an Ultimate Edition that players can pre-order in to gain early access on September 24, a five-game loan ICON Player Pick for Ultimate Team, 24 Rare Gold Packs, and Special Edition FUT Kits.
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