What's new in FIFA 22?
How is FIFA 22 any different from previous years?
Buying the latest FIFA can be a love-hate relationship: you might moan that little changes from year to year other than a few new game faces and updated kits, but you still buy it anyway simply because it's FIFA - it never stops being fun - and it's a game that tides you over all year round. In fact, if there is anything new, you feel slightly more at peace with having spent another £50-60 on a game you've essentially been playing all your life.
However, all that being said, we always managed to get ourselves excited and feeling hopeful when the next iteration comes out and in the case of FIFA 22, it looks like there might finally be a plethora of new features and modes to get to grips with, and reasons to be genuinely excited about this year's game. After attending an exclusive FIFA 22 preview event, here's what we know so far:
The main overhaul in FIFA 22 is in the direct player physics and gameplay, as EA Sports have introduced an entirely new system called HyperMotion, which looks to capture and simulate real player motion better than ever. Whilst everything is still a work in progress, they teased this new technology in the reveal trailer that dropped earlier this month.
FIFA 22's line producer, Sam Rivera, told us how this revolutionary new technology was built on two core pillars: 11 vs 11 capture and machine learning, meaning that not only is the direct gameplay capture closer than ever to the genuine thing, but the computer is smarter than ever when it comes to simulating what would happen next in a real game.
As you can see, EA put together real games of 11-a-side featuring some of the biggest players in the game, including Mbappé, David Alaba, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Christian Pulisic and many more. Donning what Rivera called 'Xsens' suits (which you can make out in the trailer), these mo-cap outfits allow the developers to capture more detailed on-pitch performances than they ever could with their older, optic-only technology. Essentially, what you see on the pitch is almost identical to what you see in-game.
Machine Learning (ML)
It may be a term you've heard thrown around quite a lot these days but in FIFA 22 specifically, EA are using their own proprietary algorithm to build thousands of new animations that are procedurally generated from more than 8.7 million frames of this new advanced, 11v11 match capture, then writes new animations in real-time to create organic football realism across a variety of interactions on the pitch. In itself, this has lead to six key new features in FIFA 22:
- Full Team Authentic Motion: Largest animation refresh to date - over 4,000 so far - to create more realistic movement.
- ML-Flow: Algorithm writes new animations constantly, enabling players to adjust stride, cadence, control and shooting.
- New Tactical AI: Defensive AI is brand new, attackers make can more intelligent runs, formations move as more of a unit.
- Kinetic Air Battles: New system which creates more realistic aerial collisions, ball movement and reactions.
- Composed Ball Control: More complex two and three touch animations make for smoother transitions on the ball.
- Player Humanisation: Players now react to on-field moments more realistically, i.e. joy, anguish, general mannerisms.
Other new gameplay features
Goalkeeping has been pretty much redesigned from the ground up as a new system has also allowed for another animation refresh that will see not only a wider variety of saves but more reliable ones too. As well as more personality from keeper to keeper depending on their playing style, the way they react to the new ball physics will be more realistic too. Speaking of...
True Ball Physics
Arguably one of the biggest new features is the implementation of more accurate physics a football. Using the advanced capture images and better technology to simulate various 'true' ball physics, everything from the spin, weight, friction and sudden changes of direction is more authentic. We saw a before and after between ball physics in FIFA 21 and 22 - trust us, chalk and cheese.
Another one that needs to be seen being put into practice for it to be fully explained, but this new mechanic essentially allows for more control over acceleration when dribbling, chasing the ball or defending, as well as when you need to start slowing down. As well as showing the difference in speed on and off the ball, this will also you to draw opponents in and unleash your full speed.
Every year, there are always new additions to the FIFA skillset and while there may not be a boatload of new tricks this year, they have made a significant change that could really help give you an advantage when it comes to those fine margins. That being said, here are the four new skill moves in FIFA 22:
- Scoop turn fake: An evolution on the classic move which sees you take the ball back outside.
- Four touch skill: Kind of like a 'Berba' spin but with extra touches and more box-like in motion - good on the touchline.
- Skilled bridge: An evolution on the recent 'Bridge' skill - you have more control and can even nutmeg players with it.
- First-time spin: First touch turns into an outward-facing spin - almost like dragging the ball with your backfoot instantly.
Most importantly of all though, you can now incorporate most skill moves into your first touch, meaning the transition between controlling the ball and dribbling is even more seamless.
They were keen to reiterate that none of these more direct gameplay mechanics will not too OP either, a criticism that has often been levelled at recent FIFA games - i.e. 'pace merchants', skill-spamming, agile dribbling to gain an easy foul etc.
Deeper Match Analysis
Analytics are a huge part of the modern game and the EA developers have gone to great lengths to make sure that is reflected in the latest edition. As well as expanding the number of metrics your game can be measured on - everything from dribble success rates, to heatmaps and xG (expected goals) - the packaging around stats just looks a lot more detailed and cared for. Nice touch.
Immersive Match Day Experience
In terms of paying attention to the details around packaging, broadcasting and the all-around atmosphere in games, there's been lots more TLC given to the likes of the crowd, new licensed overlay graphics and tifos and much more. The stands really are more alive than they've ever been before.
As well as being able to see the new 'Gen 5' crowd bouncing as they perform 'The Poznań' and hearing a myriad of newly included chants, you'll also get to experience new 'iconic moments', such as the West Ham faithful singing 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles' as they float around the stadium, or the 'Yellow Wall' in full flow when you're winning - flares and flags a'flying - the works. YLTSI.
More big goal celebrations have also been added, as well as star specific cinematics dished out to star names like Mbappé, Aubameyang, Firmino and even post-match scenes from the likes of Pep. In terms of audio, the stadium sounds more dynamic than ever and you have the addition of Stuart Robinson and Alex Scott on comms too.
On the pitch, the new console hardware has allowed for a greater level of fidelity than ever when it comes to visuals. Of course, there are new faces as always, but the big names have also been given more accurate builds and head shapes, as well as any unique tattoos that set them apart. All of this is brought together by a stronger colour palette and optimised for the 4k generation.
FIFA 22 Release Date
That's all we've got on what's new in FIFA 22 for now but we'll be sure to keep you updated as further details surrounding gameplay, set for an October 1st release date and by the look of how things are shaping up, we can't wait to get our hands on it!