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Looking Back at Journey Mode: EA SPORTS FIFA’s Long Shot

The world of video games has witnessed a remarkable evolution over the years, with technological advancements enabling developers to create immersive and engaging experiences that transcend traditional forms of entertainment.

One such evolution has been the integration of narrative-driven modes within sports simulation games. Among these, “The Journey” in the FIFA franchise stands as a pioneering example, revolutionizing how players engage with the virtual world of soccer.

A New Era of Storytelling in Sports Games

Traditionally, sports simulation games like FIFA focused primarily on delivering realistic gameplay experiences, letting players assume the roles of their favorite athletes or teams on the digital field.

However, with the introduction of “Journey Mode,” the landscape of sports gaming changed forever. This new narrative-driven game mode offered players an immersive storytelling experience intertwined with the familiar mechanics of soccer gameplay.

Introduced in FIFA 17, “The Journey” allowed players to step into the shoes of Alex Hunter, a young and aspiring footballer trying to make his mark in the competitive world of professional soccer.

The mode was divided into chapters, each representing a crucial phase in Alex’s journey, both on and off the field. From his early days as a talented but unproven prospect to his rise to stardom, players were able to shape Alex’s destiny through their decisions and performance on the pitch.

Interactive Storytelling

What set “The Journey” apart was its interactive storytelling approach. Players didn’t just control the gameplay; they also influenced the narrative trajectory through dialogue choices and critical decisions.

These choices affected not only Alex’s relationships with teammates, coaches, and friends but also his professional opportunities and personal life. This interactive element blurred the lines between traditional video games and interactive cinema, creating a unique fusion that resonated with both gamers and soccer enthusiasts.

The emotional depth of the story was further enhanced by the inclusion of cinematic cutscenes featuring high-quality graphics and lifelike animations.

These cutscenes allowed players to connect with the characters on a more personal level, evoking a sense of empathy and investment in Alex’s journey. The mode wasn’t just about winning matches; it was about the emotional rollercoaster that comes with pursuing a dream against all odds.

Celebrities and Realism

Adding a layer of authenticity to “Journey Mode,” FIFA enlisted real-world football personalities to make appearances in the narrative. Players encountered established footballers, managers, and pundits, blurring the line between the virtual and real soccer world.

This integration not only added credibility to the story but also provided a unique sense of immersion, as players interacted with both fictional and real characters throughout Alex’s journey.

Evolution and Legacy

As the years went by, the FIFA franchise continued to refine and expand “Journey Mode.” Subsequent iterations introduced new characters, storylines, and gameplay mechanics, ensuring that the experience remained fresh and engaging.

While the mode faced criticism for occasionally straying into melodramatic territory, it undeniably pushed the boundaries of what a sports simulation game could offer in terms of narrative depth.

However, all good things must come to an end. The final chapter of Alex Hunter’s story was told in FIFA 19, as EA Sports decided to retire the character and shift their focus towards other modes and innovations.

The legacy of “Journey Mode,” however, remains firmly intact. It not only opened the door for similar narrative-driven modes in other sports games but also showcased the potential for emotional storytelling in genres beyond traditional role-playing games.


“The Journey” is a testament to the gaming industry’s capacity for innovation and evolution. The introduction of narrative-driven elements within the context of a sports simulation game marked a turning point in how players engage with virtual sports.

Through the lens of Alex Hunter’s journey, players experienced the highs and lows of a footballer’s life, making decisions that influenced not only the outcome of matches but also the course of personal relationships and professional opportunities.

“The Journey” mode stands as a milestone that bridged the gap between interactive storytelling and sports simulation, leaving a lasting impact on the gaming landscape.

About Christian Silvestri

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Content Writer for FIFA Infinity. Passionate about football, FIFA and AC Milan!

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