FC 24 is going to be a very different beast to past EA Sports soccer games – and that’s not just because it won’t be called FIFA 24. There will be dozens of new features, removals, changes, and improvements awaiting you when the FC 24 release date arrives in September. As is usually the case before a new FIFA title, EA Sports is attempting to impress long-time fans and newcomers too with some vibey hype trailers and also the usual barrage of snazzily-named new features and mechanics. It can be hard to cut through the noise though and pick out the biggest changes that will have the most meaningful impact on your EA FC 24 experience, so I’m here to do just that.
As well as the public reveal livestream, EA Sports recently hosted a showcase for media and influencers, which I was lucky enough to be invited to watch. The roughly 90-minute showcase featured several key developers and left very few stones unturned. There was a whole lot of info (and a mountain of those aforementioned snazzy names and slogans), many of which are either small additions or, to be honest, rebadging or improving existing features.
There were, however, some that stood out as being truly game-changing and exciting, and I even managed to try a few things out myself in an early preview build of EA FC 24. So here I’ll go over the seven FC 24 changes that you really need to know about.
- Icon chemistry
- PlayStyles in Ultimate Team
- New-look UI
- Precision passing
- Kinetic Physical Play
- Shooting responsiveness
Icon chemistry is changing
Praise the lord, Icon chemistry is being improved for FC 24. In FIFA 23, it often felt punishing to put an Icon into your Ultimate Team as they were pretty bad at dishing out chemistry to other players. However, FC 24 Icons will give “a chemistry contribution to every league that’s represented in your squad”, according to Ultimate Team producer Jean Teather.
She adds that EA Sports heard the community’s feedback on Icons “loud and clear”, and I personally think this is a great change. FC 24 chemistry crafting will no longer be an Icon-fuelled nightmare.
PlayStyles and PlayStyles+ in Ultimate Team
In FC 24, we’re getting a brand new (kind of) feature called PlayStyles. If we’re being perfectly honest, this is pretty much the old traits system that’s been given a fresh lick of paint, and many of them even share the same names as some of the traits seen in past FIFA games. However, traits had become a bit of an afterthought, but they’re back at the forefront for the new game.
You can check out all the details in our FC 24 PlayStyles guide, but the main thing I want to highlight here is how spicy things could potentially get with these in Ultimate Team.
For example, special promo cards or objective players can be released with different or extra PlayStyle and PlayStyle+ attributes to that player’s base card. During the showcase, senior producer on Ultimate Team, Gareth Reeder, describes how real-world performances can affect things like Team of the Week. “Imagine Erling Haaland scoring a game-wining header in a match for Manchester City, and his Team of the Week item receives the Power Header PlayStyle+, making him even more deadly as a striker,” he says.
With the new Evolutions upgrade mechanic (more on that in a moment), some upgrade paths will also let you add PlayStyles to a specific card. It’s hard to tell just how impactful PlayStyles and PlayStyles+ will be in the grand scheme of things, but if their bonuses and boosts do make the “very noticeable” difference (according to senior gameplay producer Sam Rivera) that’s been promised, it’ll definitely be something to consider when crafting your dream team in Ultimate Team.
Evolutions is the big new feature for Ultimate Team this year, and while the general premise has already been revealed, the showcase showed off even more info, convincing me that this is going to be a big deal.
What you probably already know is that players that meet certain criteria for an Evolutions upgrade path can be entered into it, and that you can complete objectives to improve their stats and overall. Nice.
Our FC 24 Evolutions guide has a full explainer on all the info, however, here’s a speedy rundown of some of the extra details I got during the showcase.
Firstly, you can change much more than just base stats and overall rating with Evolutions. A menu screen shown in the showcase revealed that a player’s weak foot rating can be increased, so I’m presuming that skill moves will also be upgradeable. You can also earn additional PlayStyles and PlayStyles+ that can be applied to your player. And, most interestingly for me, you can change entire positions. Yes, even outside of a player’s base alternate positions – the showcase used a Virgil van Dijk centre-mid card as an example.
The Evolutions mechanic isn’t limited to just base cards either – special cards from promos can also be upgraded, providing they meet the right requirements for an upgrade path. There will also be new Evolutions paths added each FC 24 seasons, often complementing previous ones. That means there’s a strong chance you’ll be able to take an upgraded player with you from the first week of FC 24, right through to the last, without them falling behind the rest of your team and the meta when it comes to stats and rating.
The last little bit of Evolutions info is that at least some upgrade paths will cost you coins to enter, judging by the menu screen shown at the showcase. Two examples we saw had 10,000 coins and 15,000 coins listed next to them, which is fairly affordable, but I predict that they could get a lot pricier if you were looking to take players up and over the 90-rated mark or upgrade special promo items, so that’s something to bear in mind.
A new UI
The tiles and tabs are of past FIFA games are dead – long live FC 24’s retro-yet-modern new user interface. The endless horizontal menus of rectangular tiles have been binned, and now we have crisper, text-only vertical menus with lots of smart, contextual shortcuts. At least, that’s how it looks initially – we’ll only find out for definite if it’s a time-saving improvement once we hop into FC 24 for real, as the early build I played only had two menu options.
It definitely looks clean though, and does a good job at distancing itself from the look of past FIFA UIs to commemorate the start of this new era for the EA FC brand.
Precision and swerve passing
We’ve got a new gameplay mechanic to try and master, in the form of precision passing. By holding the left trigger when playing either a through ball or a lofted pass, you’ll get an indicator appear on the pitch showing you the exact location it will land judging by the current power of the pass and the direction of your aim.
To me, this initially sounded very overpowered, but after some brief hands-on time with FC 24, I can say it’s not quite as strong as you’d think – at least, in my hands it wasn’t anyway. This mechanic sits in a middle ground between the hit-and-hope feel of fully-manual passing and the sticky assisted passing you normally experience. While often it was less effective than just hitting a standard through ball or lofted pass, in some circumstances it was great. The precision lofted balls made switching the play a lot more enjoyable and unique, and also made knocking shorter lobbed passes much easier. The precision through balls will definitely require some practice though, and you have to make sure you have both enough time on the ball and a skilled passer to actually line a good one up.
You can also add swerve to through balls now, inspired by the delicious, line-breaking passes Kevin De Bruyne likes to carve out for Manchester City. They add another level of difficulty and skill gap in my view, but we’ll see how quickly people master this, as it could just snowball into another overpowered meta mechanic.
Kinetic Physical Play
This sounds like one of EA Sports’ usual bits of marketing jargon where they dress a minuscule change up as a snazzy, noteworthy feature – and to be fair, the reveal of Kinetic Physical Play was buried in a quickfire section surrounded by that exact kind of jargon. However, this one caught my eye as it could add an interesting new dynamic and make slower, stronger players a bit more viable.
Kinetic Physical Play takes the same tech used to power realistic header battles (introduced in FIFA 22) and more realistic goalkeeper collisions (introduced in FIFA 23) and uses it to improve ball shielding in FC 24. Rivera says that the enhancements will result in “clear outcomes that feel fair, based on the players that are battling for the ball”, meaning that more powerful players should be able to shield the ball from smaller, weaker players to good effect.
It wasn’t something I managed to test all that much in my preview build, but if it works as intended, I’m already looking at how slower yet strong and creative forwards like Karim Benzema or Harry Kane might benefit. In Ultimate Team at least, Kane has been nothing but SBC fodder for a few years now if we’re being honest, and Benzema is often only in people’s squads when he finds himself with a spicy special card. This could also be good news for those wanting to play the classic centre forward, hold-up-play style in their Player Career Mode as well. Definitely something to keep an eye on and try out when the game drops.
One of my biggest bugbears in FIFA 23 was how it often felt super slow to get a shot away, and FC 24 will address that with massively improved responsiveness when shooting. An on-screen demo showed a player in FC 24 taking a shot several frames sooner than a player in the same situation in FIFA 23, and I certainly didn’t notice as big of a delay when shooting in the preview build.
However, this is one of those ‘wait and see’ things, as I’ll only fully believe that improvements have been made when I see these same response times happening in online clashes in Ultimate Team and other competitive game modes.
So that’s a rundown of the seven big changes you should be paying the most attention to when you finally get your hands on FC 24. If you need more info, check out our FC 24 crossplay guide to check out the latest news on that feature, and take a look at the confirmed FC 24 leagues (spoilers: there are three new ones!). Alternatively, check out our thoughts on the FC 24 soundtrack, and let us know if you’re vibing with our predictions.