This one is for those of us who are not only footy fans, but also video game fans. The FIFA series, for a few years running now, has been the preeminent game series where soccer is concerned. In fact, they're the only actual play-by-play soccer game that featured MLS teams at all, let alone all of them, something EA Sports has done in the past.
Unfortunately for FIFA 12 is doesn't seem like that is the case. For whatever reason, EA Sports, according to an interview (below), has decided not to put all MLS teams in the game. Instead, for fans of those not represented teams, you can create your own custom team using their team creation editor.
This is entirely unacceptable and, if true, will certainly keep me from buying the game as I have every game in the series prior. I know it's easy for EA Sports to simply tell fans to add in their own teams, but they shouldn't have to. These are legitimate teams playing in a legitimate league, not some back alley game of kickball. EA Sports is even a sponsor for the Vancouver Whitecaps (who will be in the game) you'd think that'd buy the league a few minutes of face time to actually get every team in the game.
Update after the jump, short end of it is that EA confirmed all 2011 MLS teams will be in FIFA 12.
(interview video after the jump)
You might be wondering what the big deal is considering you can add em in yourself anyway, but we don't know to what extent custom made teams will even be able to interact with other legitimate teams in the game. Will a custom made team be able to play in a league, or are they relegated to one-off games? Will they get roster updates? Can you play with them online? Will you be able to import exact kits/crests/graphics? I doubt it.
I guess the worst part of this isn't even for hardcore fans of the game, but for the marketing of the league to casual or non fans. Believe it or not but the FIFA video game are instrumental in getting fans accustom to the players of the league, the teams, and the players. To not include certain teams is omitting a huge swath of players from ever being in the game.
So, no. I will not be buying the next FIFA 12 game. It's a bummer as I was really looking forward to it, but if not every single MLS team is represented then I'm not even going to bother. It's worth nobody's time if they're just going to deliver a half-assed product. I'm not here to organize a boycott, but I hope that other MLS fans do the same until FIFA or MLS work out a deal to put all MLS teams in the game.
Oh and just to rub it in, the EA Sports director added this quote in the interview:
"North America is a very big deal as far as [soccer's] concerned."
Apparently not big enough to warrant all the teams though.
UPDATE: Others have chimed in that he could just be talking about the omission of the Montreal Impact since the will not be in MLS until 2012. I hope they're right, but it seems like a pretty grievous error to make in an interview to consider Montreal an MLS team when they aren't one as of now. We'll see...
UPDATE 2: EA Sports has issued a statement via their Twitter account that confirmed that every MLS team playing THIS season will be in the game:
There seems to be a bit of confusion around FIFA 12 and MLS. To clarify: All teams featured in this year's MLS season WILL be in the game.
So that clears that up. It was a false alarm with some odd choice of words in an interview. Good news for all of us!