The player faces in EA Sports FC 24 will be “amazing”, EA has insists, after the cover of the game was widely ridiculed on social media.
This week EA pulled back the curtain on FC 24, its first post-FIFA football game, and in doing some revealed the cover of the Ultimate Edition. This cover, which is a sort of football version of the cover of The Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, includes a number of players, active and retired, standing together for a club photo.
The group photo shows legends including Pelé, Zinedine Zidane, and David Beckham alongside current stars such as Erling Haaland, Jude Bellingham, and Sam Kerr. It didn’t take long for the memes to come flooding in, with the virtual faces for Bukayo Saka, Andrea Pirlo, and Ronaldinho in particular singled out for looking the least like their real-life counterparts, or just unintentionally hilarious. Some thought the players looked so bad, they were more like characters from The Sims than photorealistic footballers.
The faces caused some FIFA fans to express concern about the visuals of the game itself, but EA has said they are not representative of what players can expect to see on the virtual pitch.
In an interview with IGN, John Shepherd VP, executive producer at EA, hinted at the licensing nightmare EA Sports faced putting the cover together, with multiple approvals making things even trickier to manage than normal.
“The amount of licenses we have in this game and doing something like that, even to begin with, to have that many players on a cover, is no easy feat,” Shepherd said. “And the amount of approvals you then need to work through is also highly complex. I don’t want to dwell on that, but a big part of it is working through all of those pieces.
“The key thing is, and I think it’s really important, is we’re doing so much to improve player likeness. Our visuals are going to be amazing. We see the feedback. We also see tremendous positive feedback as well about that cover and what it represents, and also what it means for FC going forward.”
Interestingly, the FC 24 reveal trailer, which culminates in the group photo used for the Ultimate Edition cover, does not include Italian legend Andrea Pirlo, nor is he included in the group photo that kicks off the FC 24 gameplay trailer released July 13. This suggests Pirlo was a last-minute addition to the Ultimate Edition cover, which may explain why he looks so… lost. Perhaps Pirlo really did turn up late.
Here's everything EA has revealed about FC 24 so far. It's also worth noting the Nintendo Switch version uses the Frostbite engine for the first time.