FIFA 19 adds the Women's World Cup
Image: Warren Smith
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the FIFA video game series. Hell, I've spent many red-eyed sessions when I should have taken slumber hours prior to seeing the alert: update complete.
Update? The Women's World Cup! Equality at our fingertips. FIFA gamers can now compete as the best women’s teams at leisure. The men have been in the series since the game’s creation; editions come-and-gone via tangible discs and last year's exclusive download, but 2019 marks a big transition where the ladies game gets its own World Cup mode.
Speaking objectively before the inevitable storm, here’s what happened. The FIFA game has added a new kick-off mode. You can now select the Women’s World Cup option, from there you will be prompted to pick a team playing the tournament, then another as your opposition.
You cannot pick one of the newly added World Cup teams via the conventional kick-off and pit them against a non-qualified women’s side which was in the game’s original default programming, pre-update. That doesn’t fly at EA Sports. Play within the guidelines, think within the box. Example: I've always dreamed I could play as Japan against Mexico but despite both teams being in the game, I can't because the latter didn't make the World Cup.
I've tried out many teams now. Personally, I'd recommend playing as either Australia, Nigeria, Japan or England. The USA makes the game a bit too easy, much like evoking god-mode on Sim City. Picking the USWNT will allow you to dominate the opposition with relative ease, whereas selecting Jamaica and the like offers more of a challenge. Overall, the game's done its job accurately to strike a realistic balance between the sides. It plays well, similar to the de facto men’s teams.
As a feminist searching for equality between the genders, I am grateful that EA and Fifa have included women in the game's latest installment. Yet, I’m still not happy. A few things concern me deeply.
First, you can only recreate the World Cup final. Playing as a women's team limits the experience to the concluding match. You don't get to enjoy the entire campaign. FIFA 18 had the full men's tournament complete with group stage. The ladies aren't afforded the same. Why? Please, EA representative or otherwise, explain why the women's edition should get less. Chromosomes define sex, not ability at football nor representation divinity on video games.
There’s also a horrid glitch to remark within the game. It feels this particular update went out to a stringent deadline, rather than quality assurance. I’ve played one match in which the commentators said nothing at all. The two sides came out. I scored. My friend scored. I scored again. I won the trophy. Nothing but complete silence from the commentary box. Maybe an intentional bug to indicate women’s football isn’t worth the effort? Probably not. Still, it's a clear blemish on the game mode.
The Chelsea/Emma Hayes situation is alarming enough. It seems success coupled with silverware is unable to make a women's CV standout over someone with a penis. The reluctance to accept females any further into football is simply bigoted, thusly wrong. The digital game is only compounding matters.
Perhaps, then, ladies should just give it all up to focus on a more female-friendly profession. Cooking? Sewing? Cleaning? I'm jesting, of course, but unfortunately, some people do hold such views.
In earnest, I appreciate the video game's effort. Taking everything at face value, it's great that the Women's World Cup final has been added. Yet, it doesn't have the same grandeur bestowed to the men in Russia 2018. The disparity is outrageous.