The FIFA 21 release date is coming round again, if a little later than usual. A year in videogames isn’t complete without EA’s annual entries of course, but PC players hoping to get the very best in football simulation this year may come away disappointed.
It rounds off a difficult year for the game, too: Last year’s FIFA came under significant criticism, launching with a buggy career mode that wasn't fixed quickly and an online offering that's even seen esports stars knocked out of tournaments by glitches. The new FIFA Street-style Volta mode also failed to tempt players away from the Ultimate Team grind. Thankfully, we finally have a proper trailer to get excited about.
While EA is keen to show off the improvements that will come to the game as part of the next generation consoles, we know that the PC version won't share them - more on that below. How the PC edition change from last year remains unclear, then, but here's everything we do know about the different FIFA 21 pre-order editions, who the cover star could be, and when the annual update is coming.
When is the FIFA 21 release date?
The FIFA 21 release date is October 9, 2020. That said, those who've pre-ordered the Ultimate or Champions Editions can play it several days early on October 6. Then, if you’re an Origin Access Premier, you can trial it from October 1.
You may have noticed that this is all a little later than usual. New FIFAs tends to be released in late September, and the delay may be down to coronavirus-related disruption. To put any nervous fans at ease, EA released the following statement:
"We remain in constant communication with our club and league partners around the world to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the footballing landscape. We will continue to liaise with them in the coming months as they work through their plans for the upcoming season."
We finally have our first chunk of gameplay for FIFA 21, but it's not clear if what we're seeing will come to the PC version. That said, the new trailer is a useful showcase of how EA is giving players more control in the heat of a match. With new modifier buttons, you can use the sticks to set up precise passes or line up shots. You can also rewind a bad play to get a second chance at perfection.
Considering EA has made a big deal about FIFA 21's PC version not receiving the full suite of updates for the new game, it's frustrating that this trailer doesn't identify which features are coming to the current generation version that includes the PC, Xbox One, and PS4 editions.
To the surprise of no one, FIFA Ultimate Team is returning in FIFA 21 with a few new important features. The biggest thing coming is FUT co-op, which lets you team up with a friend against solo players or another duo to earn real progression for your ultimate team. FIFA 21 will also track scoring parameters more closely to buff players throughout a season.
EA dropped a new trailer for FIFA 21 that officially revealed Kylian Mbappe as 2020's cover star. The trailer was light on gameplay, but did a great job communicating this year's highlight on the life and career of Mbappe.
Watch the FIFA 21 EA Play 2020 footage
We've not received much more than a glimpse at FIFA 21 gameplay yet, but we did see some during EA’s 'Feel Next Level' trailer at this year’s EA Play Live, alongside Madden NFL 21.
EA's stranglehold on licenses is part of why players to return to the game over changing to PES. So, in terms of licenses, Konami lost them for AC and Inter Milan in July. So while it looks like that means FIFA players won't have to play as Piemonte Calcio if they want to control or battle against the likes of Ronaldo and Buffon, it hasn't been confirmed that the licenses have returned to EA. The company also secured the rights to La Liga for another decade in June.
You can get FIFA 21 on Steam
For the first time in the series' history, FIFA is available on Steam. This comes as part of a wider trend of EA listing its games for purchase on Valve's store as well as Origin in recent times, along with Madden NFL 21.
Of course, you can also pre-order FIFA 21 on Origin as ever, but EA has also confirmed there will be a Stadia version, of which the company will reveal more later this year.
FIFA 21 on PC will be the Xbox One and PS4 version
At EA Play Live 2020, EA boasted the next-generation features that would be coming to the game on PS5 and Xbox Series X. Among the changes are “blazing fast load times, deferred lighting and rendering, enhanced animation technology, off-ball humanisation, and more”.
However, PC players will have to be satisfied with the current-gen version, the same FIFA 21 that's coming to PS4 and Xbox One. It's disappointing, but it's also unclear what changes this version can expect in comparison to 20. It could be worse, though: Switch owners will get a Legacy Edition which comes with new kits, squad updates, menus, and... that's about it.
FIFA 21 price and pre-order editions
How do the editions differ? It mostly comes down to pre-order bonuses. If you pre-order the Standard Edition ($64.99/£59.99), you'll get:
- 3 Rare Gold Packs
- A Cover Star Loan Item for up to five FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) matches
- A FUT Ambassador Player Pick, letting you choose one of three player items
- A set of special edition FUT kits and stadium items
The Champions Edition ($79.99/£69.99) contains all of the above, but with 12 gold packs and a career mode bonus called 'Homegrown Talent', which automatically assigns your first career mode club a young player with champion potential.
The Ultimate Edition ($99.99/£89.99) provides 24 gold packs and a bonus 'FUT 21 Ones to Watch' item. This one is only available until August 14, so if you really need those extra packs, you've got a month to grab them.
The FIFA 21 cover art is official
The votes are in, and Paris Saint-Germain forward and World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe is the official cover star of FIFA 21. You might have noticed above that EA is taking the covers of its sports games in a new direction this year, digging deeper into the cover player with pictures from their life and career.
As far as these new covers go, FIFA 21's is still relatively traditional with a recognizable middle shot of a passionate Mbappe screaming after something (presumably) awesome happened.
Will there be crossplay in FIFA 21?
While EA has shown more of a willingness to implement crossplay with games like Apex Legends, but the company has confirmed that it remains a "long-term goal of ours", rather than a likely feature for FIFA 21. EA said "Allowing our players to play against each other on whichever platform they play EA Sports FIFA is a long-term goal of ours. At this moment we don't have any news, but we're continuing to investigate its integration and will share any updates when we have them."