FIFA 21 Brings New Objective, Updated Features, and More to Ultimate Team

FIFA 21 adds co-op mode, a customizable stadium, new Icons, updated rewards, and much more to Ultimate Team. Plus, no more fitness!

For better or worse, Ultimate Team is where EA Sports makes all their money in FIFA. While the team does appear to be giving other modes a bit of extra love in FIFA 21, FUT continues to be a major focus. There are a ton of changes coming to one of the most profitable modes in video games. EA dug into themselves with their latest trailer. Give it a watch below.

Arguably the most exciting new feature for Ultimate Team in FIFA 21 is the ability to hop into online co-op. It’s a mode that many PES fans have loved and it’s about time FIFA adds it. You and a friend can hop into either online or AI gameplay to compete against the world. Whoever is set as the host gets to chose which team you use. So, if your friend boasts a ridiculously juiced squad, you can enjoy the fruits of their labor (or luck) too.

Importantly, both players progress in co-op. This is because EA is introducing new co-op objectives to the mix. Some of these are completely separate from normal objectives, but there will be some crossover.

Speaking of objectives, FIFA 21 is aiming to expand on the seasonal events they had in FIFA 20. Last year, these were basically battle passes you would slowly work through to earn new cosmetics, players, and packs. With this year’s version, they’re giving you a choice between two teams. For example, you might have to choose between Inter Milan and A.C. Milan. Or maybe FIFA will try to solve that age-old question of ketchup vs. mayonnaise. Who can say?

Regardless, once you pick a side, each objective you complete contributes XP to your team. As everyone around the world plays, your team unlocks new rewards for everyone. It could be cool, but I’ll need to see it in action before passing judgment.

That’s not all though, EA is also making some changes to Division Rivals. For one, they’re letting you play Squad Battles to place you in a division. The idea is that some players are hesitant to hop online and get smashed for their placement games, so this should make the transition a gentler process.

Additionally, Rivals is, like Squad Battles, getting a weekly cap on how many games you can play and score Rivals points from. That means you’re not just chasing someone who can play a ton more games than you. It should even out the playing field somewhat.

FIFA 21 is also bringing back games with specific squad-building restrictions via Friendlies. They teased this a little bit when they half-heartedly tried to add “Super Silvers” during the Summer Heat promo last month. Hopefully, the commitment is a little stronger than a single card coming into the game.

Speaking of cards, the team confirmed the Icon count will hit triple digits this season. Joining the list of history’s best footballers are names like Philipp Lahm and Sam E’to. Eleven total players are making the team. Sadly, at least for little old me, still no Americans. Just toss us a bone and have Clint Dempsey rank up there with Hidetoshi Nakata, please.

And, the team has changed up their stat generation which will allow them to change specific attributes on new cards. This means that if someone like Nathan Ake scores an outside the box screamer for Manchester City next season, FIFA 21 can capture that moment by boosting that specific attribute instead of just giving him a general upgrade. That should inject much more fun into the game.

One of the other big features coming is a new FUT Stadium. Essentially, this is a way for you to customize the pitch you play on to a much greater degree than previously possible. You can, of course, forgo the new stadium and play in the world’s most famous arenas. You just won’t have full control over what they look like.

The last thing worth mentioning is that EA is finally getting rid of fitness cards. Your players will still lose fitness in a match, but it doesn’t carry over from game to game. This is something players have wanted for quite a while now, so it’s great to see it added. However, I can’t help but wonder what will replace fitness in packs. Hopefully, it’s not just more cosmetics.

While most of these changes seem positive, FUT’s biggest problem will always be how prevalent microtransactions are. It’s quickly become one of the worst kept secrets in gaming that these practices are incredibly harmful to the consumer. And, with countries like Belgium outlawing loot boxes, you have to assume FIFA and other sports games need to get it under control soon or risk greater regulation.

FIFA 21 is set to launch on October 9 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It will also come to Nintendo Switch, PS5, Stadia, and Xbox Series at a later date.

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Ricky Frech

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