After the calamity that was FIFA 20's Career Mode, EA Sports have certainly invested significant time in trying to ensure that the mode is well received on their upcoming release of FIFA 21.
The developer has announced a raft of new features for the mode - many of which seem to draw their inspiration from the popular Football Manager series.
This year's overhaul begins with the introduction of a new interactive match simulation, which will allow players to take a more hands-on approach with their team during matches themselves.
FIFA 21 Career Mode will also boast an improved transfer system, with loan-to-buy deals - as well as add-on fees - now introduced as part of negotiations.
A further area where Career Mode has been strengthened is that of player development. This year it will be possible to re-train players to play in new positions, monitor their match sharpness and personalise their training schedules.
All in all, FIFA 21 looks set to be the most in-depth Career Mode ever. However, there is still plenty that we would like to see added to make the mode even stronger.
Here are six ways that EA Sports could make FIFA 21 Career Mode the best yet.
1. Greater Board Interaction
One of the staples of football management sims is the ability to make requests of the board. Whether it be increased funds for transfers, greater wage budgets or even expansion or your club's stadium, all these requests (and more) have been available to players on management sims for years now.
Granted, these requests are frequently turned down, but merely having the option to communicate with your board adds an extra layer of realism to the gameplay - and this is something that FIFA should definitely incorporate at some point in the future.
The financial aspect of the game has been a huge part of football for some time now. Advertising for FIFA 21's Career Mode boasts a level of control never before seen in the franchise. However, without the ability to have some sort of influence over club finances, players will never truly feel in control of their team.
2. Kit Editor
This is a simpler request, but nonetheless would be an addition that would be greatly appreciated by many fans. The option to edit kits to reflect real-life changes (or perhaps just personal preference) is something that surely would not take EA much to add into the game.
Players are supposed to feel in full control of their clubs and so allowing them to design new kits for future seasons, for example, does not seem like too much of an unreasonable request. Allowing players to update the look of their team would also help to keep the visual appeal of the game fresh.
It is understandable that EA might have licencing concerns about offering players this freedom, but a properly constructed editor that offers at least some variety is something that should definitely be explored.
3. Greater Managerial Movement
Another way that Career Mode could be improved is by evolving the system by which players are hired and fired. A more true-to-life perspective could be applied to allow greater freedom within the game to apply for open vacancies and for other negotiations.
In the past, the in-game experience has felt very self-contained. By expanding the scope for managerial movement within the mode as a whole, the player experience can be made far more realistic, increasing the life-span of the game itself.
4. Scenario Challenges
These could either be set in-game or based on real-life examples, but the idea of being able to come in and take over a team in a particular situation with a certain objective would be an entertaining way to add a slightly different twist to Career Mode.
For example, you might take over a side fighting against relegation who are five points adrift with three games to go. Your goal would be to keep them in the division come the end of the season. There are so many different scenarios that could be created - each varying in difficulty of course - that players could be challenged for quite some time.
5. Team Talks
Whether pre-match, at half time, or following the game, team talks have been part of titles such as Football Manager for a while. This would be a simple addition, but one that allows players to influence their team in much the same way as real-life managers are able to.
Of course, each individual player will have their own reaction to whatever feedback is given. Some will react well, some negatively and some simply will not care. Whatever their effect, team talks are a key part of the managerial experience and something that can impact player performance.
For this to be included in Career Mode in the future is a must.
6. A functioning youth league
One of FIFA 21's new Career Mode features is the ability to track player development more closely. However, player development on FIFA seems only to happen through training, as well as the passing of time.
In reality, much youth development occurs whilst playing as part of a youth league. It is all well and good being able to monitor attributes as the season progresses, but it would be far more fulfilling for players to be able to track the performance of their young stars via an actual league style format.
The scenario of giving a young striker an opportunity in the first team after he's been on a good run for the youth side is one that we have seen countless times.
A proper youth league system is an element that EA Sports could adopt to give Career Mode an additional layer of realism.
Make no mistake, FIFA 21's Career Mode looks set to the best in franchise history. Just because it looks like a great improvement over prior years, though, does not mean that it cannot be improved.
Career Mode is always going to be a key part of any future FIFA releases. EA Sports need to ensure that they are constantly evolving the mode each year - with fans always hungry for the most immersive experience possible.
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