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FIFA 18: Release Date, News, Rumours and where to buy

Whoever said ”the only certainties in life are death and taxes” had clearly never played FIFA soccer. More reliable than an atomic clock, and with previous versions stretching back to the 16-bit days of video gaming lore, some say the druids themselves built Stonehenge to calculate the time until the next instalment of the football franchise would be released.

What we are trying to say is that there is a new FIFA game on its way and that – despite being just about the most predictable event in the entire gaming industry – we have still managed to get quite excited about it. Again.

But how is FIFA 18 shaping up? What will be new? What will have changed? Most importantly of all, what is the FIFA 18 Release Date? Read on, and find out….

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FIFA 18 Release Date

While the FIFA 18 release date has not yet been confirmed, it would take a mighty brave (or mighty foolish) man to put his money on anything other than a mid-September to early October launch.

Always the smart marketers, EA has had its late-third quarter launch dates set in stone for the FIFA franchise for years. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2002 to find an instalment that didn’t drop in either September or October.

Ideally positioned to soak up the hype of the new football season – while also remaining relatively fresh for the Christmas lists of those who had to wait for their copy – it seems pretty likely we will be seeing FIFA 18 landing on all formats towards the end of September this year.

Which platforms will be supported?

Did we just say ”all formats”? Well, that might need a little bit of clarification, because the times they are a-changing, and FIFA 18 may be a slightly different prospect to previous launches.

The reason for this? The Nintendo Switch. That’s right: Electronic Arts has confirmed that a ”custom-built” edition of FIFA 18 will be coming to the new Nintendo console.

To make use of Switch’s unique system features and controller set-up, FIFA 18 on Switch will not be a simple port of the PS4/XBox One/PC versions. At a recent presentation for FIFA on the Switch, EA’s Peter Moore promised gamers “a custom built version for the Nintendo Switch, from the FIFA development team in Vancouver.”

So far, so good, then? But there are signs that things won’t all be quite so rosy for fans on older systems. While there’s been no official confirmation yet, some commentators have spotted a few subtle hints dropped by EA staffers that suggest this year’s FIFA may not offer last-generation support.

Back in 2013, Electronic Arts’ CFO Blake Jorgensen stated that the publisher would support last-gen platforms ”until 2017, at the earliest”. This means that FIFA 18 most definitely falls within EA’s long-term strategy of phasing out support for older consoles.

If true, this could leave Xbox 360 and PS3 gamers in need of a FIFA fix out in the cold – and potentially shelling out big bucks to upgrade their gaming rig a little earlier than maybe they had hoped.

What’s new?

FIFA 18 is shaping up to be an evolution of the ’17 edition, rather than a revolutionary step-change in the franchise. Nevertheless, we have sifted through all of the speculation to bring you the lowdown on what you can expect, come September.

Tech specs and appearance

FIFA 18 is sticking with the Frostbite 3 engine which debuted in the previous edition. So while we should be treated to bug fixes (lag in Ultimate Team mode, anyone?) and minor touches, don’t hold out hope for a complete graphical overhaul this time around.

But at the same time it’s those visual flourishes that create an immediate impact (and look good on trade show video walls). So do expect even greater attention to detail and realistic touches with FIFA 18. Of course that means more individual player definition, and tweaks in textures and animations. But also look out for more responsiveness and context-based action in the stadiums and crowd interactions, too.

In-game exerience

EA has already teased its dynamic weather changes to FIFA 18. Games will no longer be guaranteed to end under the same weather conditions they kicked off in: meaning extra challenges to face, and greater opportunities to out-think your opponent as you race to react more quickly to high winds or a sudden downpour.

The Journey continues…

Story modes in sports simulators can be something of a hit-and-miss affair: most gamers prioritise multiplayer kick-arounds either online or with friends. But the addition of a story mode called The Journey in FIFA 17 proved a winning formula. So much so, in fact, that EA has decided to bring it back for a second season in FIFA 18.

Specific details about The Journey: Season 2 are few and far between at the moment, and it is unclear whether players will continue to track the career of rising star Alex Hunter for his second year in the big leagues, or if they will be lacing the boots of another new hopeful as he embarks on his rookie season.

As ever, the annual update brings with it expectations of improvement both in presentation and options, and we are hoping that the second season of The Journey will bring with it a greater scope for decision making. Because, while FIFA 17’s story mode was a great introduction to a new gaming format, players were often left with the impression that their individual choices were of little consequence. An addition of player creation options, or a few non-linear choices in the narrative would make The Journey: Season 2 a vast improvement on its predecessor – but we will have to wait and see.

FIFA Ultimate Team

If there’s one thing EA loves more than its story mode, it’s Ultimate Team. And FIFA 18’s Ultimate Team promises some “deeply innovative new experiences”, according to the publisher. Further expanding on the team chemistry aspects and squad development, EA says it wants to create “the most emotionally immersive and connected FIFA” it has ever made. Nice.

A world of soccer

EA pulled off a major coup by capturing J-League licensing for the first time in FIFA 17. As many gaming historians will know, the only challenger to the FIFA crown has, for over a decade, been Pro Evolution Soccer. Pro Evo used to be International Superstar Soccer (ISS), and ISS was itself a European port of the Japanese original J-League Perfect Soccer. Snatching that licensing from their competitors’ heritage was a point of pride for EA, and they’re not resting on their laurels for FIFA 18, either.

So, what can we look forward to? We’ve had scant few confirmations yet, but expect some new territories, to bring extra teams and players into the mix. The only confirmation so far is a big one, as the Chinese Super League looks set to debut this year. Further down the rumour mill, we’ve heard the new expansions may also include the Indian Super League, and the third tier of the German club competition.

From a technical standpoint, we have already seen some significant whisperings about a possible VR Mode making an appearance in this edition. Now, this is unlikely to be a major gameplay component, but it is still a big deal – think about the impact that Virtual Reality could have if it allows spectators to view live streams of matches as if they were actually in the stadium. If it does make it into the finished game, VR mode could prove to be a watershed moment in both the franchise and the broadcast of streaming content as a whole.

Okay, that just about wraps it up for now. Be sure to check back because we’ll be updating our coverage of FIFA 18 as we learn more concrete facts about one of the hottest releases of the year.

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