EA Sports has announced that their upcoming game FIFA 16 will feature women’s teams for the first time in series history. A total of 12 Women’s National Teams will be included in FIFA 16 when it launches on September 22nd, making this the first time that players will be able to choose female players and teams. The teams will come from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and the United States of America.
“Bringing some of the best women’s players and teams in the world to our franchise is a massive event for EA SPORTS, and we are equally excited about bringing millions of fans a new way to play,” said David Rutter, VP and GM, EA SPORTS FIFA. “We’re making sure fans get an authentic experience when playing with Women’s National Teams thanks to our innovative player capture and reference tools, as well as the sophisticated gameplay platform which we will continue to innovate on in FIFA 16.”
The FIFA team has taken extra care bringing these players into the game, giving them truly authentic animations and player models. “Capturing all new player movement was done with meticulous detail and supported by a motion capture session at EA Canada with four top players from United States Women’s National Team: Sydney Leroux, Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe. The players’ movements helped to build new locomotion for women in FIFA 16 including new walks, runs, sprints, and horizontal movement.”
In an FAQ EA clarifies some of the finer details about this new addition to the series. Women’s teams will be playable in the Kick Off, Offline Tournament, and Online Friendly Match modes, this means they will not be useable in the FIFA Ultimate Team mode, which EA says is because FUT “relies on having a wide range of players in order to build out a viable environment and Transfer Market.” Women’s teams will only be able to play against other women’s teams, keeping the leagues separated as they are in real life games. Player ratings will be relative to their gender, so “an 85 rated female player may not perform the same as an 85 rated male player.”
This announcement is certainly great news, but it comes at an inauspicious time, as the entire FIFA organization is under investigation by the FBI and other US law enforcement entities. Many are calling for EA to sever ties with the organization, which has already had top members arrested on charges such as racketeering and conspiracy. It seems that the partnerships is moving forward at the moment, though that could change as the events unfold.