On September 23 in North America (September 26 in Europe and September 25 in Espana) FIFA 15 will be released for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The series is easily among the most popular in the world.
Because of how important superstars are to respective regions, the FIFA series has long produced multiple covers with local stars sharing the spotlight with the player who receives top billing. For the last three versions, counting the upcoming release, Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi is the face of the franchise.
In North America, Seattle Sounders and Team USA star Clint Dempsey shares the cover with Messi.
Here's a look at two of the other alternate covers.
There isn't another sport with as much widespread appeal as world football, and thus having a representative from the region on the cover is most impacting in the FIFA series.
FIFA 14 was the first version of the series on the new consoles (Xbox One and PS4), and while the game looked solid and played well, it wasn't one of the best next-generation releases.
It was clear the development team needed a little more time to make the series stand out on the new systems. Strides have been made as it relates to graphics. That's evident in the video below that features next-gen goalkeepers.
Gameplay improvements to the engine were apparent with FIFA World Cup. While the game didn't appear on the PS4 or Xbox One, lead producer for the FIFA series Matt Prior talked to me about using feedback from FIFA 14 in FIFA WC.
He also mentioned that changes in that release would progress into FIFA 15. It would seem that the developers were aiming to make a smarter game.
With the technology involved in facial renders becoming so advanced, it's standard to not only accurately replicate the faces of players, but to also capture their emotions during the action.
In a sport with as many dramatic moments as soccer, this improvement should be interesting. The FIFA series already had pretty decent commentary, but taking it to the next level and making it more relevant to the action on the pitch is always a good thing.
In the career mode, scouting should be just as important as skills on the sticks. That's the aspect of the mode that sets it apart from others. This year's game also promises to make working the transfer market and finding young talent more intuitive.
Barring some unforeseen server issues, it should be one heck of a virtual soccer season.
Follow Brian Mazique, the Sports Video Game Journalist.
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