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FIFA 17 cover star announced - release date, news, everything you need to know

Expert Reviews Staff
22 Jul 2016
FIFA 17
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Everything you need to know about this year's FIFA 17 release with new information following E3 2016

For fans of the English Premier League, it's been a rather topsy-turvy time with Leicester City winning the English Premier League in what can only be described as a fairytale season. While no-one could have predicted Leicester's victory, the one football-related thing we can all predict is another FIFA football title from Electronic Arts. During Electronic Arts' earnings call recently, CEO Andrew Wilson made reference to the ever-popular football title, stating that FIFA 17 will bring with it a "major leap forward in personalisation, immersion and competition".

FIFA 17 cover star officially announced

Finally, the FIFA 17 cover star has officially been announced, following a two-week contest to determine the winner. After a total of 3.1 million votes cast, Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus will appear on the front cover of the game, scheduled to release on 29th September. 

The highly-decorated winger was named Footballer of the Year in Germany in 2012, and has a total of 29 appearances with the German National Team. Reus was also named captain of Dortmund not too long ago, and will be wearing the captain’s armband in the coming season. Unfortunately, Reus didn't appear in the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament, after suffering a groin injury.

After the announcement, Marco Reus said: “I’m honored to join a very distinguished group of footballers to appear on the cover of FIFA. Most of all I am humbled that the fans have chosen me, and I will strive to make them proud with my performance on the pitch.”

The 27-year-old beat three other FIFA 17 ambassadors in the competition, where fans could vote once a day for who they wanted to star on the cover. James Rodriguez of Real Madrid C.F, Anthony Martial of Manchester United, Eden Hazard of Chelsea FC unfortunately weren't picked this year.

Current FIFA Ballon d'Or winner, Lionel Messi, was last year's cover star alongside a player representative of the domestic league for the country of release. In the case of the UK, this was Liverpool's Jordan Henderson.

E3 trailer - new gameplay details and features announced

We've finally got some proper confirmation of what new features we can expect to see in Fifa 17, most notably, an interesting new singleplayer campaign element. Titled, The Journey, players will be able to take control of Alex Hunter, following a story of a footballer's claim to fame. You'll be able to pick your football club and carve a career in the beautiful game with full off-pitch cutscenes and career progression.

FIFA 17 also features team managers for the first time, with Jose Mourinho coming on stage to talk about his video game counterpart. Other managers so far mentioned to feature in the game include Arsene Wenger of Arsenal and Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham Hotspurs. Including real life managers could potentially introduce some new problems for FIFA 17, however, as unlike players, managers aren't restricted by 'transfer windows'. If anything, the constant sacking and hiring of managers throughout the season is just as compelling a story as the football on the pitch, so it will be interesting to see if FIFA 17 gets updated with managers moving teams.

There are plenty of new gameplay features too, with new penalties and throw-ins, with new physical interactivity technology that's said to give you more control on the pitch. Free kicks are having a much needed revamp, too. You'll now be able to re-position the player striking the ball, opening up your options for taking Payet-esque screamers. By moving the player around you'll have the option to strike the ball in different ways, such as with more curl or even with the outside of the boot to really give the opposing goalkeeper something to think about.

We now have confirmation that the Frostbite will be the engine used, too. Thanks to the new trailers, we can clearly see that Frostbite is up-front and centre, with EA already promoting its new engine. As you can see from the video below, the trailer reveals a little bit of the game, detailing what you can expect to do once the game releases. The Frostbite engine has been said to bolster the levels of realism and presentation of the game, helping to more faithfully recreate the spectacle of the beautiful game. We can expect more information as the game nears its release in September and, as usual, there should be a demo release beforehand to look forward to, too.

Release date

Thanks to the reveal trailer we also know when the game will be available: September 29th, 2016. That's a little later than we originally expected, with the initial launch expected to be a week or so earlier. Still, that's only a month after the start of the Premier League, so you'll be able to pick the game up and play through your team's season in almost real time.

What's new

Aside from the obvious team updates, what can we expect from this year's FIFA 17 release? Early signs are pointing that there might be more teams being introduced through the addition of more leagues. A dark horse could be the Chinese Super League being included due to all of the high-profile players being lured to the far east thanks to massive contracts. Last year's FIFA 16 also introduced women's national teams for the first time and we would bet that more national teams are added as the selection was rather limited.

FIFA team of the season

Not a lot else is known as to what features or balancing will be conducted for FIFA 17. EA's title has had somewhat of a 'tick-tock' approach to how it handles and nullifies the influence of pace each year, with some years faster players providing a distinct advantage to other years when their influence is intentionally reduced. We can at least expect some new animations and skills being introduced as we have seen in every release previously. Hopefully, we see some improvements to player AI, as well.

EA will host its EA Play event close to E3 where everyone is expecting to see FIFA 17 in action for the first time so we'll be sure to update with more details.

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