FIFA 21: release date, demo details, Ultimate Team web app, price and trailer for EA Sports game coming to PS5 and Xbox Series X
Get ready for an ‘ultra-realistic football experience’
It’s that time of the year when gamers and football fans alike start getting excited – the latest instalment of FIFA is just around the corner.
This year's game promises brand new features and even more impressive graphics as FIFA 21 marks the series’ debut on next-generation consoles.
Here’s everything you need to know, from whether there will be a demo to how to play the game ahead of release.
What’s new in FIFA 21?
FIFA’s footballing foundation is arguably the strongest out there, each year giving fans of the beautiful game an authentic virtual recreation of what it’s like to step out onto the turf of some of the world’s most hallowed pitches.
But each yeah, the developers introduce subtle new tweaks to improve the overall experience.
This year’s pre-release marketing buzzphrase seems to be “player humanisation”.
Harnessing the power of next-generation consoles, the developers are able to include more realistic AI behaviours for your team.
“From adjusting shin pads in the 89th minute to screaming for passes, player humanisation unlocks the most authentic behaviours ever seen in sports games,” they said.
“This lets you feel all the emotion of football at the highest level.”
This year’s new features also include an Agile Dribbling system and more realistic AI behaviours for your team, and there will be “less falling over” when players fight to be the first to the ball, apparently.
Will The Journey return?
For the past three years, the FIFA games have featured surprisingly good story modes going under the name, The Journey, but it’s getting the chop this year.
FIFA executive producer Aaron McHardy previously warned fans The Journey would likely only last the length of a “three-year trilogy”, but its loss likely won’t upset too many fans; despite the narrative mode’s unusually gripping story, it was never a fan favourite.
Will it be on next-gen consoles?
You want realistic weather effects that really capture a dreary away day at a League 2 club? You got it. Or maybe you want to see the beads of sweat on the faces of football’s more glamourous, higher-league icons?
That’ll be there too; the 2020 release will overhaul player bodies to take the virtual soccer stars to “a whole new level of realism.”
EA say versions of the game running on next-gen consoles make use of a “new deferred lighting system", which aims to create an “ultra-realistic football experiences” and “enhance the game in every part of the stadium.”
Thanks to EA’s ‘Dual Entitlement’ scheme, players who purchase FIFA 21 on PS4 or Xbox One will be able to upgrade to the corresponding next-generation version free of charge.
When can I play FIFA 21?
FIFA 21 is scheduled to release first on Tuesday 6 October.
That release date applies to players who have opted to purchase the more expensive Champions and Ultimate Editions. For everybody else with the ‘Standard’ Edition, the release date is Friday 9 October.
Will there be a demo of FIFA 21?
While there will be no ‘traditional’ demo version of the game this year, fans have been able to get their hands on FIFA 21 as early as Thursday 1 October through EA Play.
EA Play is EA Game’s subscription service, which allows fans access to older titles in their catalogue, as well as trials of select upcoming games.
It costs £3.99 a month, or £19.99 for an annual subscription.
Signing up to the service will get you access to a 10-hour trial ahead of the game’s release, and your progress in the trial will carry over to the full game.
How can I get the web app?
The Ultimate Team web app is a vital tool for any self-respecting Ultimate Team player, allowing squad building fanatics to trade players on their smartphone while away from their games console.
The app is released ahead of the game itself, offering Ultimate Team players the opportunity to get a head start on fellow gamers and traders.
You can sign up to the web app on your regular internet browser here.
The companion app will be available to download from the Apple App Store and the Google Play app store upon the game’s release.
Where’s the cheapest place to pre-order it?
FIFA 21 is available to preorder for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC here.
The Standard Edition is £54.99, the Champions Edition £69.99 and the Ultimate Edition £79.99.
These pre-orders are through EA directly though, so expect them to be far from the cheapest price available.