As an organisation, FIFA may currently be revealing itself to be just about the most corrupt, and least transparent on the planet – and one that is run by a bunch of old boys. But at least the video game is forward thinking with developer EA Sports announcing that 12 international women’s football teams will feature on its next incarnation, FIFA 16 (but no female club teams – yet).
Since the sports game was first released in1993 only men’s teams have featured. However, that’s all set to change. “To be one of the first female players included is something we’ll always be able to look back on,” Steph Houghton, England women’s captain told the BBC.
“Hopefully it will help raise the profile of the women’s game even further,” the 27-year-old Manchester City defender – pictured below in virtual form – added.
Houghton will lead her country to the summer World Cup, beginning 6 June in Canada, with England to meet Colombia, France and Mexico in their group. “Quite a few of us in the team play Fifa so I’m sure there will be a bit of banter about our ratings and a few extra competitive games while we’re away in Canada. I’m looking forward to scoring as myself for the first time,” Houghton told the BBC.
FIFA 16 designers have used American striker Abby Wambach – the top international goalscorer of all time with 170, according to the national team’s website – to record the typical movements of a female footballer and players have been headscanned in order to create a life-like look ahead of the September release.
David Rutter, head of the FIFA series, toldThe Guardian that the feature has been in the works for some time, but that the developer waited until it could be done properly. “We needed to have tools and technology in place that could differentiate between men and women,” he explained. “Plus, we had to factor in the time and effort required for traveling around the world to scan faces and heads, record motion capture, etc. It’s been on the to-do list for a while.”
As for the game, Rutter added that female club teams, such as Manchester City or Arsenal, could be incorporated in the future, but for now he’s just happy that international women’s teams have been added. “It’s a big relief for everyone.”
Available on PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 & PlayStation 3, FIFA 16 will be on sale from September 22nd 2015. For more information visit EA Sports.
You can see the trailer for FIFA 16 below: