EA Sports is doubling down on their decision to introduce co-ed teams in FC 24‘s Ultimate Team Mode, with plans of implementing new software that will tackle online behavior that they deem as “toxic.”
Not long after announcing the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 update for FIFA 2023, EA Sports revealed FC 24 is fully integrating female players with similar attributes assigned to male players in Ultimate Team mode, which can result in exact same outcomes on the virtual pitch — despite the majority of FC 24‘s female players being shorter and lighter than their male counterparts.
During an interview with IGN, Executive Producer at Electronic Arts John Shepherd and Senior Producer Samuel Rivera addressed the backlash, dismissing fan complaints about the game’s push for co-ed teams.
“It’s something we really thought deeply about,” Shepherd acknowledged. “We feel we can play a really important role in the growth of that sport in introducing it to all of our fans. We just have this conviction that we believe we want to unite the world around football.”
“Ultimate Team is a great place for that,” he added. “It is a mode where you can build your fantasy team with different nationalities, different leagues, different clubs. And so it felt like a great spot to be able to do that.”
Shepherd then noted, “We have a vision of connecting not just the 150 million fans we have now, but a billion fans. We want this game and this brand, this club, this ecosystem, to welcome everybody. In terms of our decision around how we’re integrating women’s football into Ultimate Team, we feel really strongly about that.”
“There are other modes of play, such as Kick Off, where it’s more about that club playing together against another club,” he further explained. “But Ultimate Team to us is a mode where you can have a mix of players and you can build the best team. And we think that’s going to be great for football, and we think that’s going to be great for our fans and our future fans. That’s what I would say.”
Rivera went on to add that FC 24‘s Ultimate Team Mode should be considered a “fantasy mode,” as it gives video game players to create hypothetical teams with athletes that would play together in real life.
“Ultimate Team is a fantasy mode. You don’t see Mbappe playing with all the Icons. It’s Ultimate Team — fantasy football is what’s happening there,” Rivera declared. “It’s not just about being tall and being strong. The core of the message here is: if everything is equal they play the same way.”
Shepherd then touched on “online toxicity,” explaining how the developers at Electronic Arts are tackling this particular topic to give players a “safe environment.”
“It’s something we take really seriously,” Shepherd said. “It’s an ongoing thing. It’s a constant effort. We have a team within EA that is fully-focused on toxicity and understanding what’s happening in the game. We are moving to some newer systems even for this next game, where we’re using some new services to help us monitor names.”
“It gets really complex,” he noted. “Because people are able to get around different systems, we have to update and adjust those systems. We’re moving to some new tech in our backend on the server to help us with that.”
He added, “But that’s just one thing of many. It’s a group of people constantly looking at the toxicity in the game and understanding how we can make sure it is a safe environment for everybody. But it’s one of those things that’s going to take constant effort for us to continue to focus on.”
EA Sports FC 24 launches on September 29, 2023.