FIFA 18 brings Icons to PS4, and we go through the face-capturing process
We discover the famous faces coming to the game, and have a go at scanning our own.
After years of making green-eyed glares at lucky Xbox players, we can abandon any feelings of envy. This year, FIFA Ultimate Team Legends are coming to PS4. Except the superstars from yesteryear are now called Icons, will have three different versions to represent the best years of their careers, and have unique in-game character models to match their looks at the time. What’s more, they’re just a small part of the huge changes to this year’s kickabout.
Before we go into the other new modes, let’s give you a bit more info on Icon Stories, the buzzword EA is using to describe the footballing icons (get it?) who will have three special cards of themselves in Ultimate Team.
Take Ronaldinho on the left there. His first version covers his breakout season at PSG in 2002 (complete with white sweatband on the pitch), where his stats make him a nippy dribbler, with 91 pace and 92 dribbling and an overall rating of 91. His second version represents the 2010 ‘Dinho at AC Milan, which has a slightly lower overall rating of 89 (and a black sweatband too). Hopefully, though, that rating will make this card more attainable.
Finally, the best version – officially known as the Prime card – reflects Ronaldinho’s time at Barcelona in 2004, where he was named the FIFA World Player of the Year, and, as you would expect, boasts the highest stats out of all. More importantly, this time his avatar has no sweatband. At all.
Ronaldinho’s not the only Icon Story you can expect either. Some of the titans who’ll be appearing include the rapid Roberto Carlos, with his Prime version coming in at 91 overall rating; imposing Danish keeper Peter Schmeichel, who will be a must for any United fans with a 90 overall Prime card, and,
our personal favourite, cult wizard Jay-Jay Okocha, who will bring silky skills and outrageous piledrivers to matches with a 90 rating as well.
While two of the three cards will be available from the moment Ultimate Team launches on 29 September, Prime versions of players will only be out in the wild for a limited time. Individual Prime cards will launch on “Throwback Thursdays”, when you’ll be able to find them in packs or complete a Squad Building Challenge to earn them. Which means that, yes, Squad Building Challenges are back. The mode that tasks you with assembling a squad and trading them in for cards returns after its successful introduction to Ultimate Team last year.
In FIFA 18, there is a new quirk to SBCs with Brick Slots. Now, some positions in the squad you’re trying to put together will have more specific requirements, such as the player being from a certain team or being a certain nationality. While it makes completing SBCs extra rewarding, we’re already sweating buckets over the potential value inflation of players who will fit into those tricky-looking Brick Slots.
If you think of Ultimate Team as a purely online experience, the good news is EA is addressing that with Squad Battles. An entirely new single-player mode for FUT, this allows you to take on teams crafted by other players, but instead of playing the real-life creator, the AI takes over their team.
Plus, you’ll be able to tweak the difficulty, which will allow new players to get a feel for the flow of FUT games, and every match you win will earn you points that will unlock prizes at the end of the weekly cycle.
Moreover, a weekly Featured Squad will offer you the chance to take on the AI team of special FUT players. It could be a real-life footballer, celebrity or even famous content creators from the FIFA community. Personally, we’re hoping to see what team Danny Dyer puts together.
Finally, there are Objectives. These are expanding on Manager Tasks, which acted as tutorials in previous instalments by giving you small goals to complete every day and week, earning rewards for doing so. They’re a pretty blatant way of encouraging you to return
FIND PRIME CARDS IN PACKS OR FINISH A SQUAD BUILDING CHALLENGE TO EARN THEM.
every day to FUT, but if we get some free Ultimate Team packs out of it? Sign us up.
Despite the talk of Icons, it’s not just the big boys who’ll make up the ranks this year. To celebrate Forest Green Rovers making their debut in a FIFA game, we visit their home at The New Lawn, where EA is bringing the portable face-scanning rig that captures players’ likenesses. But it’s not just players going through the process. OPM gets a chance to see what it’s like to have our photo taken by equipment worth $150,000 (left).
How do the shots become a 3D model in the game? Jack Hoyle, a 3D scanning technician for The Capture Lab tells us: “Once we’ve taken the images, I organise the data and it goes back to Vancouver, where the images are stitched together.” After this, Jack explains, an artist will touch up the model by perfecting the hair, beard, and skin tone.
Whether it’s losing more time (and almost certainly money) in an expanded Ultimate Team or dragging Forest Green to the Premiership in Career mode, the battle for the PlayStation golden boot with PES is going to be fiercer than ever this year. FIFA 18 is due for release on 29 September. We’ll have more next issue.
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There’ll be some very big Icons, but we’re most excited to see Ronaldo Nazario and that haircut.
Icon Stories will also have different positions. Henry has LW and ST versions.
Nothing says “tension” like men glowering before a grudge match.
Ben’s youthful face was scanned by EA, but will he make it into FIFA 18? [ No,hewon’t – ed].