With its FIFA license scheduled to expire this year, you could perhaps forgive EA Sports for phoning in FIFA 23 while it turns its attention to the all-new EA Sports FC. That absolutely won’t be the case, however, as the publisher aims to make this year’s game its biggest and best ever. With two officially licensed World Cups scheduled during the release’s lifecycle – the men’s one in Qatar and the women’s one in Australia and New Zealand – the juggernaut wants to go out with a bang.

Football is bigger than it’s ever been, and during a presentation attended by Push Square the publisher admitted that it knows its game “needs to be special” – more so than ever before. While we’re not allowed to delve into all of the specifics just yet, we can confirm that new-gen consoles like PS5 will benefit from an evolution of the technology introduced in FIFA 22: HyperMotion 2. This will once again use a combination of advanced motion capture and machine learning to make the gameplay feel more realistic than ever, adding over 6,000 animations to the release.

Perhaps most importantly of all, the publisher wants the game to be the most inclusive it’s ever made. This means that, for the first time, it’ll be introducing crossplay across all of its one-versus-one gameplay modes – dramatically expanding the pool of players you’ll be able to compete with, and removing age-old barriers regarding which console you play on. For the first time ever, you’ll be able to take on friends on Xbox and PC. There’ll be no crossplay between new-gen and last-gen consoles, however, due to the gameplay differences.

Speaking of gameplay, there are a number of key improvements. The aforementioned machine learning powered by HyperMotion 2 brings new authenticity, including a dribbling system that feels more tactile and less like players are on ice. Similarly, jockeying in defence has been re-written to account for the refined control forwards have – and to help counteract a new shot mechanic, which allows you to perform powerful strikes at the risk of getting dispossessed. Pace has also been refined, introducing new archetypes which account for each player’s acceleration attributes and strides.

EA Sports is also massively expanding upon the women’s game. While past entries have only allowed internationals, both the French Division 1 Féminine and English Women’s Super League and its various teams are finally coming to the series – as reflected by Sam Kerr on the cover. These additions will be powered by their own, bespoke set of HyperMotion 2 animations, as for the first time EA Sports has captured data for both men’s and women’s matches. And, if you’re new to the series, the game will feature an entirely new coaching mode that will help teach you how to play. Details on this are light for the time being, but it seems like a necessary and noteworthy inclusion.

Other improvements – and there’s a lot to dig into in the lead up to the game’s 30th September launch – include new augmented reality broadcast replays, which feel weirdly NFL-inspired but add impact to key gameplay moments. The publisher’s also completely overhauled the turf, with the grass carving up over the course of 90 minutes.

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There are alterations to Pro Clubs and VOLTA as well, including new minigames in the latter, but more will be revealed in due course. Similarly, the Player Career campaign is getting new wrinkles which will allow you to determine your personality both on and off the field – again, look for more information on that in the future. And when it comes to FIFA Ultimate Team, there are some pretty major shake-ups to the way Chemistry works to pay attention to.

All of that, including information on the two World Cup modes, will come in due time – but it’s really important to underline how seriously EA Sports is taking this year’s game. Rather than toss in the towel as it looks towards a future under a new name, the publisher is adamant this will be the “most ambitious” FIFA game it’s ever made. Stay tuned as we dig into more details about what HyperMotion 2 means, and the various other innovations the soccer sim is bringing to the field.

In the meantime, know that the game will release on PS5 and PS4 from 30th September, with Ultimate Edition owners getting early access from 27th September.

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