The Journey, a story mode first introduced in FIFA 17, was one of EA Sports’ most notable additions to the FIFA franchise. The Journey Triology allowed players to step into the shoes of Alex Hunter, a young fictional English footballer and make decisions both on and off the field that would assist him in becoming the next football star. EA Sports certainly put together a tale that is both renowned and splendid in The Journey series, entwining a cinematic narrative for their then principal game mode. However, while the game mode had much to offer, it wasn’t without its flaws, which made Hunter’s trilogy feel insufficient.
The Journey may have failed to capture the re-imagination of FIFA fans and ended in FIFA 19. However, it still has plenty to offer in other existing game modes in EA Sports FIFA, especially Career Mode, features like press conferences and customization among others were first introduced in the Journey before being integrated into Career Mode
Today, we take a look at more features from the Journey we would like to see added in FIFA 22 Career Mode, a simple “copy and paste” shouldn’t hurt right?
1. Exit Trials
The early stages in Part 1 of FIFA 17: The Journey see Alex Hunter completing a six-stage academy “Exit Trial”, before signing a pro contract with one of the 20 teams involved in the Premier League. Now for those who may not know, Exit Trials is where youth players released by academies get their final chance to impress scouts in the hope of keeping their football dream alive. The primary goal of Exit Trials is to excavate a hidden gem that may have been overlooked by their pro club. Players like Jamie Vardy and Chris Smalling were unearthed via Exit Trials. Therefore, should this feature be integrated into Career Mode, it would convey the following:
• Every club will have a Fully set-up Youth Academy
• In-depth Scout Reports, e.g Scouts could uncover players ability and potential via reports and you’d then have to rely on their analysis and player performance feedback to decide on who to sign
• Scout and sign youth players from other academies
• A complementary feature for the above would be Youth League
2. A rewarding progression system
The Journey featured a unique progression system, connected with the very deep and rich story tied to player choices and diligence. The system was intended to add fun and increase immersion by tying players’ actions directly to their progression in amongst other things, stats and abilities. For instance, if you won the pre-season tournament with Alex Hunter, you gained +10k followers on social media. A rewarding progression system in Career Mode would allow you to be rewarded for your hard work and landmarks.
Reaching milestones like 20M followers on social media will unlock items such as hairstyles and suits. While winning prestigious competitions like UEFA Champions League would allow the club to obtain sponsorships. Social media would be a great addition to Career Mode as well, for example, fans can express their distrust in the manager and players or even offer transfer suggestions. All of which were in The Journey.
3. More Interactive Cutscenes
The Journey is a cinematic world mainly informed and influenced by real players, personalities, locations and events. It is the cutscenes in The Journey that bring the story’s emotional connections closest to reality. Although cutscenes may ultimately become tedious, they can help Career Mode in delivering a dramatic and thrilling experience. Interactive Cutscenes in Career Mode can take place in the form of the following:
• Team Talks
• Key decisions: During your career, managers may be confronted with important irreversible decisions that can determine the fate of certain players and the board e.g. A player that historically forced a transfer refuses to return and play for the club again
• Player Unveilings for top stars
• Ceremonies, e.g. Farewells, Player and Manager of the Year Award should have cutscenes. Reward me for playing 15 seasons with a Farewell Ceremony rather than an email EA.
The Journey as a base for #FIFA21 Career Mode #9
More Interactive Cutscenes
– Team Talks
– Huge Player signings, Awards etc should have Full cutscenes
– Small player problems should be dealt via text messages but big problems/key decisions via cutscenes
– Tricky Response System pic.twitter.com/MlNvOxu2Yc
— Career Mode Insider | Johan Morer (@CareerModeInsid) June 22, 2020
One of the stalest areas in Career Mode at the moment is lack of storylines during the season. Previously, players used to at least request to leave because they are homesick or want to play for a bigger club. Presently, however, there isn’t much interaction and connection between players and the manager. Players should behave more like real people and this is an area The Journey portrayed exceptionally well. Now, I’m not asking for EA to make Career Mode a cinematic and narrative tale but to implement the mechanisms that made relationships in The Journey to develop more natural. See the following:
• Partnerships: if you filled the partnership gauge, it triggered cutscenes displaying a positive relationship between players and the coach. However, if you formed a poor partnership, it triggered cutscenes showing heated conversations. Therefore creating a rivalry between them.
• Mentoring: Building a relationship with some of the key players in the squad, not only fueled player growth but also unlocked challenges.
• Personality: Performing well with players like Danny Williams, a Showman triggered cutscenes of him flirting with other clubs or telling teammates he deserves better when the team is underperforming
5. Revive Player Career Mode
Player Career Mode is by far the most neglected mode in EA Sports FIFA. It hasn’t been touched in over 8 years and continues to be riddled with a myriad of bugs. FIFA 21 Player Career Mode is no different, I’ve been playing the mode for five seasons now and I’m yet to receive any offers. An 85 rated Winger topping the charts season after season, is that normal? The Journey on the other hand remains a perfect example of how Player Career Mode should be. Everything that made The Journey great can therefore easily revive the harshly neglected Player Career Mode. While Alex Hunter was able to start as a Substitute, in player career mode, you either start or entirely miss the match. With that said, below are some of the features from The Journey we would like to see added into Player Career Mode:
• Start as a Sub
• Chat options with the manager
• Hire and interact with your agent
• Customization, e.g tattoos
• Press Conferences
• Manager Rating
• Player Personality
• And so much more
The Journey as a base for #FIFA21 Career Mode #8
Every feature that made The Journey great can easily revive the harshly neglected & broken Player Career Mode
– Press Conferences
– Customisation ex Tattoos
– Manager Rating
– Ability to start as a Substitute
– And many more pic.twitter.com/l6apsiAlOZ
— Career Mode Insider | Johan Morer (@CareerModeInsid) June 13, 2020
The Journey may be over for Alex Hunter and co. However, the journey for the core parts that made the mode standout don’t have to. EA can incorporate them into Career Mode. Therefore, offering a degree of novelty that could breathe new life into both Manager and Player Career Mode.