EA Sports hasn't been shy about putting the biggest stars in soccer on the cover of its FIFA video game series more than once. In fact, it typically tends to give its cover athletes extended runs in the role.
Over the past decade, Lionel Messi (FIFA 13, 14, 15 and 16) and Cristiano Ronaldo (FIFA 18 and 19) have both been on the cover multiple times. Before them, Ronaldinho and Wayne Rooney were both frequently on the front of the popular video game.
Now, Kylian Mbappe can be added to that list. After appearing on the cover of FIFA 21 (his first time doing so), the Paris Saint-Germain forward will again be on the front of FIFA 22 (which is fully released on Oct. 1), and he'll be appearing on both the standard and ultimate editions of the game.
It isn't yet clear if there will be regional covers of the game, which EA Sports has occasionally done in the past, but Mbappe will be on the front of many copies of the game, including one that he recently tweeted:
This is an exciting year for the FIFA series as it marks the first time the game will be available to play on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. And that also means there will be some substantial gameplay improvements that could take the franchise to another level.
FIFA 22 is introducing HyperMotion, which EA Sports describes as a "groundbreaking" new gameplay technology. It will be included in every mode of the game, meaning the matches you play will look and feel more realistic than ever before.
For years, FIFA has already had great gameplay. But with HyperMotion and several other additions (such as true ball physics, explosive sprint and new attacking tactics), this year's game may provide the best virtual soccer experience yet.
EA Sports has broken down the rest of its new features on its site, a list that includes an overhauled Career mode, improvements to Volta Football, redesigned aspects of Ultimate Team and more.
One of the biggest additions to the Career mode is the ability to create your own club. Players will be able to customize the name and nickname, the league it plays in, kits, crests, stadium and more. Every little detail can be personalized before you take your team out on the pitch for the first time.
It's still too early to know if all the new features will live up to the hype and how the next-generation consoles will improve the FIFA experience. But we'll soon start to find out, as EA Play early access began on Wednesday and those who preordered the Ultimate Edition can start playing Monday.
But if the gameplay and features turn out to be as impressive as advertised, FIFA 22 could turn out to be one of the best games in the series. And it could have gamers locked in for the next year.