They're in the game: Women’s football finally makes it into FIFA

EA Sports has announced it is introducing female players for the first time in its upcoming release ‘FIFA 16’

EA's FIFA series may have made great strides in realism in the past few years, but there has been one glaring omission: there has been no representation for women's teams. This is all set to change with the release of FIFA 16, with developer EA Games confirming that 12 women's national football teams will feature in the new game.

Due for release at the end of September, women’s teams from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and the United States will make their debut.

The teams are mainly top FIFA teams (Mexico is the lowest ranked in the list at 25th place as of March 27th) and can be played in a number of game modes such as offline tournaments, online friendly matches and Kick Off.

“Bringing some of the best women’s players and teams in the world to our franchise is a massive event for EA Sports, and we are equally excited about bringing millions of fans a new way to play,” said David Rutter, vice president and general manager for EA Sports FIFA.


“We’re making sure fans get an authentic experience when playing with Women’s National Teams thanks to our innovative player capture and reference tools, as well as the sophisticated gameplay platform which we will continue to innovate on in FIFA 16.”

Motion capture
To get more realistic movement, EA brought in a few experts, namely Sydney Leroux, Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe from the US women's team, and did some motion capture to accurately represent walks, runs, horizontal movements and more. A mobile scanning unit, meanwhile, toured events and tournaments to scan the players to make sure the models were as realistic as possible.

“I honestly can’t believe all of the science and technology behind the game itself, let alone getting us into the motion capture suits and eventually into the game,” said Wambach.

“We’re all excited to see ourselves in the game, but even more excited to see the reaction from all of the fans, including the fans of our team that maybe wouldn’t be expecting something like this from EA Sports.”

Fifa 16 is out in September, and will be available for PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist