In Part 1 of Making FIFA Street we take a look at the games vision and overall structure.
At the start of the year we tweeted (partly in jest) that we were going to spam the internet with FIFA Street articles, until EA committed to making another. And this my friends, is the start!
At first, I was simply going to re-review FIFA Street and nothing more. But after spending some thoroughly enjoyable time with it over the last few weeks, it got me thinking. “What would I do if I could re-make FIFA Street?” And quickly realised a re-review wouldn’t suffice.
Part 1 – Street Vision
Part 2 – Gameplay
Part 3 – World Tour
Part 4 – Online
Part 5 – New Opportunities
Part 6 – Graphics and Design
In this 6 part series, I’ll take you through my thoughts on the overall structure of FIFA Street, World Tour mode, core gameplay, online, a bunch of new ideas, and some aesthetics too. But of course, your feedback and discussion is crucial too, so hit the comments on each piece and share your own thoughts. Let’s go.
Part 1 – Street Vision
So before we delve in to how the next FIFA Street could look, a very quick history lesson. Back in 2005 EA released the original FIFA Street; their first stab at this genre which arrived to fairly lukewarm commercial and critical success. Then came FIFA Street 2 just a year later, and following that there was the absolute abomination that was FIFA Street 3 in 2008.
Yes, this did happen….
And then incredibly almost THREE years ago now in 2012, EA released their revamped version of the FIFA Street franchise (if you call it FIFA Street 4 they get very upset) which aimed to add gritty realism, as opposed to cartoon caricature. And it’s of course the game I’ll be discussing primarily in this series.
But apart from providing you with quiz question answers, there is a point to this albeit brief tour through FIFA Streets of old. Because without any of us really noticing, EA markedly changed the entire design and structure of the series for FIFA Street (2012).
Man vs Messi
FIFA Street at least as I see it, has always been about real footballers, doing real things, in somewhat unreal street scenarios. That’s the games USP. If you look back to FIFA Street 2 on YouTube for example, it’s always the likes of Beckham, Raul, Ronaldinho, etc taking centre stage. And rightly so.
And yet, for the most recent FIFA Street, we were tasked almost exclusively to build our own street experience around not only ourselves, but our friends too. All through a fairly exhaustive set of creation and customisation tools. Which on the surface is absolutely fine (choice is great) but it was a real departure for me at least, from what made FIFA Street great.
In the previous games your job was to cobble together a band of very real, but very diverse street professionals. Starting with the fairly average, until you eventually progressed to recruit the very best players in the world. The more notoriety your street team had, the better players you could attract, and winning events allowed you to hand pick certain players from rival street teams.
I remember a time very early on in a FIFA Street 2 campaign, where I managed to recruit current FIFA Legend Jay-Jay (so good they named him twice) Okocha. Who at the time, was an absolute revelation for my humble street team. He was by no means the “best” player in the game, (he was at Bolton) but he set my team on fire. And that memory sticks with me even now.
As I’ve alluded to, there’s nothing actually wrong with the idea of having all your mates in a street team, taking them on a world tour and conquering the game’s best teams, cities and tournaments. But it doesn’t half wear thin once you hit a certain tipping point in FIFA Street.
When I first started replaying FIFA Street I loaded up an old World Tour save I had open, in which I was probably three quarters of the way through in terms of completion. I had a team containing myself, my friends and oddly, Gareth Bale. Upon reviewing the stats, I quickly realised that all of my virtual buddies were markedly better than the Welsh Wizard. And therefore, there was no real reason at all to play him. I had a real world “star” in my little street team from Bristol, and yet he was completely useless to me, with the game only partially completed.
Now EA probably just got the stat balancing and progression wrong in FIFA Street, which is easily remedied for any subsequent game going forwards. But the bigger issue with your mates being as good as Messi, is that there is no fear factor what so ever when you come to play in the premier end-game tournaments. And that is a huge problem when you think about building tension, and atmosphere in a football game which requires it in spades to be even remotely successful.
FIFA Street’s heritage as I’ve mentioned is rooted in real players coming together to play street football, and that’s the exact model I’d like to see from any new FIFA Street going forwards. When you first load up World Tour mode, you should receive enough real players to make up a full street team from the games pool of stars. Just like, opening your starter pack in FUT for example.
Then as you beat teams and win tournaments you would get the chance to recruit better players (a similar system was in Euro 2008 as well) at relevant milestones in the game. And you continue to build out your street team from there. Once your squad is full, you’d then have to release someone to make space for any new recruits. Which could create some truly nail-biting decisions, should you become lovingly attached to anyone, like Okocha from FIFA Street 2.
It would also remove the current boredom factor with self-created teams too (and i’m not even talking about online yet). Because as much as I love my mates, playing through the entirety of a World Tour mode with the exact same names and faces just isn’t fun. And because the upgrades points for skills and stat boosts are so easy to come by in FIFA Street, their abilities all start to blur anyway.
With a constant steam of new recruits, you’d always be tempted to try new formations, line-ups and tactics to suit best whichever team you had at the time. And that would of course continue to evolve as your journey progresses. And in-fact why not allow FIFA Street Legends to be recruited too.
World Tour mode is already split logically in to Regional, National, Europe and World stages in its design, each of which become progressively more difficult as you move through. And at each level the quality of players on offer to your street team should be relative. If you think about it in a FUT context you could have something like.
Regional – Bronze Players
National – Silver Players
Europe/Continent – Gold Players
World – In Form/Hero/Special Players/Legends
A similar bronze, silver, gold model is already in place as you can see, only based around consumables.
That’s a very simplistic breakdown but you get the idea. The most interesting dynamic to this model would probably come from the difference in quality that exists naturally within each of FUT’s player bands.
There are some banging Silver players, and there are some dreadful ones. Some have good base stats, but have poor weak foot, or skill abilities. Some have incredible long shots, and so on. So when presented with new players to join your street team, the game could create some really interesting dilemma’s.
Do you simply pick the best rated player, or do you go with the guy with 5* skills? Do you pass up on a better striker, because you keeper is awful and needs replacing? Or do you just find a hidden gem who ‘feels’ great to control. Imagine getting a street team together where you could play with Bendtner, Willems, Mahrez and David Luiz.
The stuff dreams are truly made of.
Now it’s not rocket science or new to suggest how or why the Ultimate Team model could be both brilliant and neatly applied to FIFA Street. You could have multiple street squads, a version of chemistry, contracts, kits and so on. But above all that, this real player based model would get FIFA Street firmly back to its core roots, and at the same time provide us with an immeasurable amount of player diversity to experiment with above and beyond anything the current games custom creations can muster (mostly afro’s).
And if a new FIFA Street game should be anything, it should be creative and diverse.
Part 1 – Summary
- You should only be able to create yourself in FIFA Street (not your entire squad)
- The game should be based solely around recruiting real players to your street team
- Once your squad is full, you’d need to release a player to make room
- Regional (Bronze), National (Silver), Europe (Gold), World (In Forms) structure
- Multiple Street teams, for use in different regions/tournament type
- A form of ‘Street Chemistry’ could be added.
In Part 2 I’ll be delving in to FIFA Street Gameplay and how it needs to be improved on for any future title. But for now, share your thoughts on Part 1 below.