We know it's coming, so it doesn't really matter that EA hasn't officially announced it yet. But all the same, it's something of a surprise that the publisher has shared key gameplay changes to its upcoming title, FIFA 20, over a week before we expect the game to be unveiled at EA Play.
Which, like I said, doesn't matter so much in the long run. If its release wasn't already obvious, it certainly is now. I guess the most important question now is: could it be the best FIFA to date?
That's something that gets asked every year, with a slight hope that it could actually happen. To be honest, I can't recall any real improvements, or drastic changes to gameplay, that FIFA 19 brought to the table, except for that shot timing thing. Overall, I'm not expecting that much to differ this time around.
With that being said, the update that EA provided on its blog post actually sounds rather promising. Because, finally, this year is going to be when EA sorts out FIFA's AI defending. Hopefully, anyway.
FIFA 19 / Credit: EA
According to the recent Pitch Notes, defending is one of several heavily requested elements of the game that will be improved for the "next product iteration" (FIFA 20), in order to "create a better experience for players when it comes to AI Defending and AI Teammate movement, positioning and reactions."
In short, the defending system will be completely overhauled, "with revised positioning and adjustment to the cadence and flow on the pitch". Manual defending will be emphasised to deliver more rewarding results for those who use it, which is obviously great for those who do. Not so much for those who love a good auto tackle.
Planned tackling will be introduced, which supports manual players by making sure your defender only tackles in a favourable context to your team. Contain and secondary contain effectiveness will be reduced, but EA is set to improve the current jockey system by making it more agile and precise.
FIFA 19 / Credit: EA
That timed finishing thing I was on about earlier will be worked on, too, by altering each time window and their accuracies. So will volley crossing and shooting, chained skill moves, and set-piece positioning.
The effectiveness of manual goalkeeper movement is being heavily reduced for FIFA 20, whereas player switching is headed the other way. And passing? Well, that's getting a huge revamp, too, including the introduction of controlled "dinked" passes.
Dinked passes can be used when ground or through ball passing. It allows your player to slightly lift the ball, with the aim of avoiding defenders legs, something that was an automatic feature previously.
I suggest you check out the full blog post to see every change EA has already jotted down, but hopefully we'll learn a lot more at E3, and in the coming weeks.
Featured Image Credit: EA