The Premier League is set to return on 17 June after a long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. During that time, I, like countless others, have been putting a lot of time into FIFA 20. As sad as it sounds, I’ve been really enjoying it as a way of getting my football fix. However, the virtual game and the beautiful game are set for a huge mashup as EA Sports – developers of the FIFA series – will be providing crowd noises for the upcoming Premier League matches alongside La Liga in Spain.
This is arguably a strong move for the leagues. In the early stages of the Bundesliga’s comeback there was silence but for the shouting of the players and the thuds of the ball moving around the pitch. The lack of noise from the stands was quite unnerving and you sort of felt like you were watching a Sunday league game. Since then the league have been using recordings from earlier games in the season, which has resulted in a much better viewing experience.
Additionally, this is huge news for sports games in general. The fact that video games are now so realistic that their audio is being used in real fixtures is pretty impressive! We can only hope that when the Premier League returns the on-pitch quality from the pros is better than the gameplay in FIFA 20. Many pro players have called this years edition of the game the worst ever. Even the best FIFA player in the world “Tekkz” said: “because the game is so unrewarding, anyone can win, guys who aren’t good can win on FIFA 20”. The game currently has a user score of 1.1 on Metacritic, meaning that while its audio is certainly top notch its gameplay isn’t.
However, as can be expected you cannot get anything done in the Premier League without Sky Sports- who invented football back in 1992- getting involved. Fans watching the games live on Sky will now have the option to choose which chant they hear at certain points in the game. It’s a pity we can’t have this kind of customisation in FIFA as then I wouldn’t have to listen to Lee Dixon explain that the 4-4-2 was Arsene Wenger’s preferred formation during his time at Arsenal for the sixth time that day.
Still, this partnership between EA, the Premier League and La Liga is an inventive solution at a time where we need them. This move also goes to show that even if EA can’t get their gameplay right, their sound effects are spot on.
Last modified: 23rd June 2020