Fifa 23 to debut women’s club football
Electronic Arts has announced the inclusion of women's club football teams in Fifa 23 – a first for the series.
At launch, only two leagues will be included: the FA Women's Super League and the French Division 1 Féminine. However, EA says it plans to expand the roster in future. EA also revealed on Tuesday that, for the first time ever, the cover of the game will feature both a male and female player, with Chelsea's Sam Kerr joining PSG's Kylian Mbappé. Fifa 23 will also feature both the men's World Cup Qatar 2022 and the Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023.
EA first added women's football to its 325m-selling series with Fifa 16 in 2015. However, that game featured only a handful of international sides. Last year's Fifa 22 bought the roster up to 17 international squads and also allowed users to create a female player for the game's Pro Clubs mode for the first time. However, the limited provisions for the women's game have led to criticisms that the inclusion is merely a publicity endeavour.
With the rising popularity of the women's game, boosted by the current Euro 2022 tournament, the imperative is increasing. "We're committed to building an equitable experience and aspire to help grow women's football," said Fifa 23 producer, Matt Lafreniere. The company says it will reveal more about the women's club game over the coming months, including the later addition of new leagues. It has confirmed that female players have been motion captured to ensure authentic animation, and that the women's matches will benefit from the game's new Hypermotion 2 technology which applies machine learning to motion captured data to create new, realistic player movements on the fly.
Electronic Arts isn't the only publisher recognising the growing influence of women's sport. Earlier this month, 2K Games announced a new instalment of its NBA 2K sim series, NBA2k23 WNBA Edition, focused on the women's game, while Sports Interactive now includes women's leagues in its bestselling Football Manager series.
Fifa 23 will be the last title in the 30-year Fifa series developed by EA. It was revealed in May that the publisher would be losing the licence, due to disagreements over costs and exclusivity. Fifa will now be extending its video game licence to a range of different game makers. Electronic Arts, meanwhile, announced that it will be moving to a new brand, EA Sports FC, from 2023.