Games

Here's everything you need to know to be match ready for FIFA 21

© EA
EA releases the latest instalment of its blockbuster footie franchise from October 1, making now the perfect time to make sure you're all set.
Written by Vikki BlakePublished on
FIFA 21 is less than a month away. To help you prepare, we've pulled together pretty much everything you need to know about the game's impending release.
Below you'll find details of where and when you'll be able to play it, the differences between the game's three editions, and the fundamental changes between FIFA 20 and FIFA 21. Let's get started...

FIFA 21 release date and availability

Go ahead and get in deep, or try hard for those early touches. If you have one of these keepers as your last line of defense, you can get aggressive.
You can focus on your possessions when not worrying about your net
The next highly-anticipated FIFA game will release on a wide range of systems, including Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One on October 9, 2020.
Pick up either the Champion or Ultimate Edition, however, and you'll be able to play three days earlier from October 6, 2020. EA Play subscribers – that's EA's monthly subscription service – are also able to get early access, too, from as early as October 1.
Of course, the footie franchise is also coming to next-gen consoles – PS5 and Xbox Series X – but a precise release date has yet to be confirmed. Players who pick the game up on current-gen systems will be able to get an upgrade to next-gen for no additional cost, though, thanks to the publishers Dual Entitlement program.
"For FIFA 21, we’re partnering with Sony and Microsoft to offer you a Dual Entitlement - meaning that you won’t need to buy FIFA 21 twice to upgrade your copy of the game from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5, or Xbox One to Xbox Series X," EA says, adding: "discless consoles require a digital entitlement to upgrade."
And yes, your progress will also carry over onto your next-gen console, too. However, it's important to note that you can only update from whatever version you have - physical or digital – so if you have a digital edition, you won't be able to swap it for a physical version or vice-versa.
Don't forget that FIFA 21 is also coming to PC via Steam, too, as well as EA's own PC client, Origin.

FIFA 21 and cross-play

Though EA has stated that "allowing our players to play against each other on whichever platform they play EA Sports FIFA is a long-term goal of ours", sadly, there's still no concrete news about this just yet.
The developer does, however, want you to know that it's "continuing to investigate its integration and will share any updates when we have them". So watch this space, eh?

FIFA 21 editions and what's included in them

We are the champions, my friend...
FIFA 21 champion edition
There will be three different editions of FIFA 21 available at launch: FIFA 21 Standard Edition, FIFA 21 Champion's Edition, and FIFA 21 Ultimate Edition. Here's what you get with each one:
FIFA 21 Standard Edition
  • Up to 3 FUT 21 Rare Gold Packs (1 per week for 3 weeks)
  • 1 Cover Star Loan FUT Item (for 5 FUT matches)
  • 1 FUT Ambassador Loan Player Pick Item (Choose 1 of 3 player items for 3 FUT matches)
  • Special Edition FUT kits and stadium items
FIFA 21 Champion's Edition
  • 3 days Early Access (play from October 6)
  • Up to 12 FUT 21 Rare Gold Packs (1 per week for 12 weeks)
  • 1 Cover Star Loan FUT Item (for 5 FUT matches)
  • Career Mode Homegrown Talent (local youth prospect with world-class potential)
  • 1 FUT Ambassador Loan Player Pick Item (Choose 1 of 3 player items for 3 FUT matches)
  • Special Edition FUT kits and stadium items
FIFA 21 Ultimate Edition (pre-orders after August 14)
  • 3 days Early Access (play from October 6)
  • Career Mode Homegrown Talent (local youth prospect with world-class potential)
  • Up to 24 FUT 21 Rare Gold Packs (2 per week for 12 weeks)
  • 1 Cover Star Loan FUT Item for 5 FUT matches
  • 1 FUT Ambassador Loan Player Pick Item (Choose 1 of 3 player items for 3 FUT matches)
  • Special Edition FUT kits and stadium items

Official FIFA 21 trailers

FIFA 21 Top 100 rankings

Which one's your favourite?
A glimpse of a FIFA 21 FUT screen... are you excited?
The Top 100 Ratings are now live. While the top spots are unlikely to generate much surprise amongst fans – Messi's still top with an overall score of 93, while Ronaldo takes second place with 92 – Neymar has dropped to fifth place behind Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne respectively. Wales and Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, however, has dropped out of the Top 100 entirely. Ouch.
If you're pondering the best picks for FIFA 21, here are Redbull's recommendations for the best forwards, the best goalkeepers, and the best midfielders in the game today.

FIFA 21 new features

Cech is retired now, but rejoins the game as an icon
Cech is retired now, but rejoins the game as an icon
Every year EA has to walk the difficult line between offering the sublime gameplay we expect with exciting new features, and FIFA 21 is no different.
FIFA 21 introduces a new Agile Dribbling system that, "gives you the means to unleash your creativity in 1-on-1 situations. Use fast footwork, more responsive close control, and new skill moves like the ball roll fake to explode past defenders".
Positioning has also been improved for the latest iteration. "In FIFA 21, increased positional awareness elevates footballers’ in-game intelligence to put them in the right place at the right time," says EA. "See world-class forwards hold their runs in line with the last defender, creative playmakers find space to play through balls, and midfielders shut off passing lanes as players better live up to their real-world understanding of space and time on the pitch."
Players can also expect more creative runs, a natural collision system and, "updates to the fundamentals of football" including passing, blocking, responsiveness, and manual headers.
While EA has been coy about the details of the next-gen editions, it has said that, "faster load times get you in the game quicker than ever" and you'll be able to, "get to the kick-off in seconds".
The developer also shared a little information about haptic feedback – a fancy term for the rumbles and shakes you feel in your controller.
"Sense the impact of shots, passes, catches, kicks, tackles, and hits with immersive controller haptics," EA says. "A new DualSense controller on PlayStation 5 with rich and responsive haptic feedback deepens the gameplay experience letting you feel the rhythm of the game in your hands."
Players on next-gen systems can also expect better lighting and rendering for, "authentic new environments" and, "reimagined player bodies" as, "next-gen technology creates deeper definition in player physiques, while dynamic light accentuates details such as faces, hair, kits, and uniforms" for a, "whole new level of realism".
There will also be new, "contextual player, bench, and fan reactions" that let you, "feel the explosive passion of a last-minute winner or a game-clinching touchdown" with, "'unprecedented' pre-game cinematics".

Career mode changes to FIFA 21 you need to know

Play, sim, or quick sim? The choice is yours
FIFA 21's Career Mode offers three different match day modes
Career Mode is getting a much-needed rework in FIFA 21, and players will be able to jump in – and out – of simulated games to manually play at any point – perfect to change tactics mid-match and secure that last-minute crucial win.
You will also be able to switch your team around as your players mature and learn new skills, permitting them to play other positions with the improved growth system.
"New position training lets you turn marauding right backs into right wingers, goal-scoring midfielders into false 9s, and more, while new development plans let you focus your squad’s development in the areas you want to match your team’s style of play," EA says.
FIFA 21 also introduces Match Sharpness. A new attribute that can be boosted via a new Active Training System, this indicates how likely your players are to perform in the most crucial moments during the course of a game and gives you the ability to, "set up group training sessions to improve the likelihood of your strikers putting big chances away, or of defenders making the key tackles that make the difference between winning and losing".
Liverpool in FIFA 21
Liverpool in FIFA 21
There's also changes to schedule planning with a new activity management system that lets you decide, "to train and when to rest during the week as you balance your players’ sharpness with morale and fitness to keep your team firing on all cylinders".
You should also expect enhanced opposition AI that gives your non-human opponents, "more intelligence in both defence and attack".
"New systems create more informed AI decision-making in marking, tackling, passing and dribbling to present you with more challenges during each match, keeping your Career fresh from game to game," EA teases.
As for transfers? "Enhanced transfer realism provides both human and AI-controlled teams with new ways to sign players,' EA explains. "Make Loan to Buy offers with future transfer fees to secure new talent for your team, and respond to AI manager-initiated player swap proposals as you look to bolster your squad each transfer window."
The latest instalment of EA's fan-favourite football series will release on Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One on October 9, 2020.