By now the development for FIFA 16 is well underway, but with last year's improved Player Career Mode proving particularly poor I wonder how much time and effort has been put on the game mode so far.
Most FIFA players are well aware that EA Sports haven't fully focused on offline game modes for a few years now, especially Player Career, which showed so much potential when first introduced in FIFA 09.
Since then it's hardly been touched and some would argue made even more simple and limited compared to previous years to make room for FIFA front runner Ultimate Team.
Things can only get better
Nevertheless, this means that there's a whole lot of room for improvement if EA Sports shifted even a little bit more focus on offline game modes. Today we look at some of things that they could do to benefit Player Career by FIFA 16, something which we've previously covered last year.
Although most of the suggestions, such as player cut scenes, are unlikely to appear in the game by September, and so today we'll draw it back a bit and think more realistically about how the game can be improved.
1. Improve Player Customisation (especially hairstyles)
My main gripe with Player Career Mode is that the customisation has remained nearly exactly the same for a number of years, even though EA Sports could easily add a couple of new features to spice up the experience.
Sure they did add in new free-kick and penalty styles, based on some of the techniques used by real players like Bale and Ronaldo, and they could do the same with the current hairstyles, which have literally been the same since the beginning of Be a Pro.
What I'm suggesting is that EA Sports give us the option of applying the hairstyles of real players to our Pro. This is something that I'm sure could be done in no time and give us hundreds of more choices when creating a player.
How this simple, yet extremely effective feature has been missed by the developers is quite hard to believe, unless Gareth Bale has trademarked his hairstyle as well as his celebration!
Another thing EA Sports must and could easily do with the Player Creation feature is to make all the positions available for your Pro!
Right now you can't even assign your player to central midfield (with only CDM and CAM to choose from) nor either wing as only the left and right forward positions are available, and so adding these would be the obvious way of somewhat improving the game.
2. Option to start as sub
Another criminal feature EA Sports have missed out on is the option to begin a match on the bench in Player Career.
It's either being chosen in the starting XI or being left a home for your player right now on FIFA and this really breaks the immersion and realistic feel the game should have by now.
You can already be subbed off the pitch if your Pro gets too tired, injured or sent off, so why can't you start on the bench for once? You wouldn't have to necessarily watch the CPU for at least the first half, as like when you come off, you would be able to simulate the first part of the match.
Once again this is another improvement that could be made, and if this of all things isn't in FIFA 16, then we might as well give up on Player Career!
3. Improve the AI
As I have previously mentioned, most Player Career games will end in a nil-nil draw unless your Pro scores or assists all the goals.
On World Class difficulty and above, both your defence and the opposition's play extremely deep and are very hard for the CPU attack to break down, which explains why they simply can't score any goals.
There's no doubt EA Sports are improving on last year's gameplay for FIFA 16, so there's no reason why they can't spend some time tweaking the CPU vs CPU system, of which in my opinion needs to be more attack focused and perhaps even more open, as there's nothing worse than a bore draw.
To be fair to the developers, I have found that the FIFA 15 AI system has been slightly improved compared to FIFA 14, where it was physically impossible to score or concede.
Although saying this, to prove to the FIFA community that they still care about offline game modes, this could be the perfect way to do so and by focusing on the gameplay of Player Career this could be enough to please fans.
4. Player Training
The ability to train your Pro between games has been called for by FIFA fans for years!
EA Sports even used to have this feature on some of the old Manager Modes, which makes it even more necessary for Player Career.
The only ways to improve you player on FIFA 15 right now are to complete the same Accomplishments as you did on FIFA 14 in matches or buy stats boosts from the EASFC catalogue, and if you ask me this is particularly lazy from EA Sports.
It's clear they're not keen on creating an original upgrading feature so I would recommend adapting an already included one: Skill Games.
I seriously can't believe that Skill Games aren't available in Player Career, as they would be such an effective way of improving your player without the developers having to create new content specific for the game mode.
The concept pretty much sells itself, but the idea would be that say you complete a Bronze shooting skill game with your offline Pro, you earn a 3+ boost to all shooting stats, and this reward would increase as you move up the levels.
Of course there would have to be a balance with the traditional Accomplishments, to avoid upgrading your player too fast, but that could easily be dealt with.
This completely optional feature is a great way of keeping FIFA players playing and to give them an incentive between matches.
Adding Skill Games to Player Career is a must in FIFA 16.
5. Give wages some importance
This idea was suggested by a reader of last year's article and it made me realise that I'd forgotten that wages were even a part of Player Career.
For most, the main part of being a professional footballer is the massive amount of money you earn throughout your career, but in FIFA 15 this money is completely useless, it increases every week yet you can do absolutely nothing with it.
I see this as another missed opportunity by EA Sports, who could easily implement some use for the wages you earn into the game.
Without stepping into unrealistic development territory for FIFA 16, I would like to see the option to use these funds on a better agent, similar to how you can buy scouts as a manager, who would give you a better chance of transferring to bigger clubs.
Alongside this you could use your money on sponsorship deals to unlock branded football boots or buying endorsements, such as fast cars and big penthouses, which will all come together at the end of your career and be used as a rating for your Pro's success.
This is clearly an achievable feature for FIFA 16, but for EA Sports this is definitely not realistic, and I wouldn't surprised if player wages remains the same useless figure they are today.
The main point of this article is that all the features we've suggested are entirely doable by September, and by adding at least a few of them will prove that EA Sports still have some time for Player Career Mode.
If it remains the same as this year, well that's for another time and day, but I very much hope that the FIFA community will be given what they deserve in FIFA 16, a new and improved enjoyable offline experience.
How else could EA Sports improve Player Career by FIFA 16? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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