FIFA 18 may be coming to the Nintendo Switch when it launches come September 29, but it won’t necessarily be the fully featured soccer game fans might be expecting. While the game’s major selling point, Ultimate Team, will be included, other important features, like the Journey story mode, won’t be. And EA was also unwilling to put the development time into making FIFA 18 on the Switch run using the modern Frostbite engine that the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game use. That leaves many Switch owners asking one question: Why?
Speaking with Eurogamer, EA Bucharest Producer Andrei Lăzărescu talked about the Nintendo Switch version of FIFA 18 and provided some perspective into its development.
“Every time we only have a year to do the game. You have to be very careful about the choices that we make and the features that we want to put in, because the date will not change. The date will not change in any way.”
It’s framed in the awareness that the Nintendo Switch’s initial success was not a sure thing, on top of third-parties historically struggling to succeed on Nintendo platforms. Basically, Nintendo platforms are risky for third parties whether the console is selling well or not.
Being an annual franchise with only a year between games, developed for untested and unproven hardware with a lot of risks, that FIFA 18 is arriving at all on the platform is a meaningful endeavor. FIFA 18 on Switch is what EA is capable of doing in a year given the current situation. Lăzărescu describes the game a foundation for the franchise looking towards the future. Launching FIFA 18 on the Nintendo Switch will tell the publisher everything it needs to know in terms of moving into the next iteration of the game.
The interview brings up the FIFA franchise on the PS Vita, which started similarly stunted and was never ultimately built in the years that followed. This lack of iteration is attributed to the PS Vita being a bit of a flop, according to Lăzărescu. The implication being that if the Switch is successful and FIFA 18 is successful on the Switch then there’s promise for the franchise’s future. Does that mean bringing Journey to Switch in FIFA 19? Or adapting the Frostbite engine to the Switch hardware? Lăzărescu seems to believe the Switch is more likely to take the FIFA franchise in a different direction, a more “social” direction, but acknowledges that anything is possible.
FIFA 18 releases on September 29 for the Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.