EA FC 24, the first post-FIFA soccer game from the sports mega-publisher, isn’t out until September 23, but the team behind it is already putting out fires lit by giant adult babies.
That’s because, for the first time ever, women and men will play side-by-side in the infamous and controversial Ultimate Team mode. And because women like Australia’s Sam Kerr—all-time leading Australian international goal scorer, National Women’s Soccer League all-time leading goal scorer, and the only woman to ever win the Golden Boot in three different leagues spanning three different continents—are ranked the same as France’s Kylian Mbappé (they both have an Ultimate Team rank of 91 based on metrics like dribbling, speed, and physicality), gamers are upset.
Of course, Reddit is full of the kinds of responses you’d expect from a notoriously open-minded group of people—players claiming they’ll remove women off their team because it’s not realistic, others saying women will “dilute” the weight of packs, and so on.
But EA, which just released details on the upcoming FC 24 last week, isn’t budging.
Women are staying in FC 24 Ultimate Team
“It’s something we really thought deeply about,” VP, executive producer at EA John Shepherd told IGN. “We feel we can play a really important role in the growth of that sport in introducing it to all of our fans. We just have this conviction that we believe we want to unite the world around football.” IGN then asked Shepherd for a message to give FIFA fans who were upset with this decision, and he pointed them to Kick Off mode, which only lets you play with FC 24’s versions of real-life teams and their respective rosters.
“We have a vision of connecting not just the 150 million fans we have now, but a billion fans,” Shepherd said. “We want this game and this brand, this club, this ecosystem, to welcome everybody. In terms of our decision around how we’re integrating women’s football into Ultimate Team, we feel really strongly about that.” Senior producer Sam Rivera also told IGN that Ultimate Team is a “fantasy mode,” in case gamers forgot.
Ultimate Team has historically courted controversy because it’s based around microtransactions and loot boxes: Win or buy in-game currency in order to buy better players, or buy packs which contain a random assortment of players in them, the contents of which you won’t know until after you’ve pulled the proverbial trigger. Twitch streamers and other content creators have made a living off of buying and opening Ultimate Team packs live, and I for one can’t wait to see them open up a pack and get Megan Rapinoe.
Though gamers need to be reminded that Ultimate Team is a fantasy mode in a video game, that hasn’t stopped them from jumping back into the discourse pool and splashing around like when you throw babies in the water at infant swim and snap your fingers to try and teach them to find the surface. Ever since the United States Women’s National Team (led by Rapinoe) started advocating for equal pay after winning more Women’s World Cups than the men have played games in their respective semifinals, there has been an argument over whether or not women and men are “equals” on the footy field.
Personally, I’m bored. No one complaining about the quality of women’s footy could ever step foot on a field against the likes of Rapinoe, Kerr, Alex Morgan, or Marta and not be immediately, irrevocably embarrassed. Now shut up and buy your Ultimate Team packs like a good boy.