No VAR or Empty Stadiums in FIFA 21Platforms: All | Sony PlayStation 4 | Sony PlayStation 5 | Microsoft Xbox One | Microsoft Xbox Series X | Nintendo Switch
EA have confirmed that this years iteration of the successful football series will not feature the divisive VAR (video assistant referee) or the empty stadiums we've seen since football restarted post lockdown. The addition of VAR in the English Premier League has been divisive, with players and managers regularly finding issue with decisions made by VAR or in many cases, a lack of intervention from VAR being a prickly issue. Fans have regularly lamented VAR on social media too and it seems a review is likely in the short break between the seasons about how the system operates.
Lead gameplay producer Sam Rivera confirmed that, regarding VAR "the answer is no. In a videogame, what it would be adding to the experience isn’t very important at this time – the system knows if a challenge is a foul or not, so we decided to focus on areas which we consider higher priority. That doesn’t mean it won’t arrive in the future, but there are no plans to include it in FIFA 21.”
Since football started around in the world a couple of months ago, many of us will have been accustomed to empty crowds and being able to hear the players communicate on the pitch. EA have confirmed that the series will not implement crowd-less stadiums just yet.
Line producer Ionel Stanescu stated that "we want to make sure that we express football in its best, and purest, form. For us that means crowds in the stadium, because that’s what the sport is all about. To that end you will still get the full-on broadcast experience of a regular football match. Full-on crowds, authentic atmosphere and so on.”
Despite not reflecting some of the recent changes in the professional game, FIFA 21 will have some new additions for players to look forward to and get to grips with. From new whipped crosses inspired by Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold to being able to super cancel almost any animation be that shooting, dribbling or passing, FIFA 21 should improve on last year's edition, while also bringing a comfort of familiarity that we need in this abnormal year.