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The big FIFA 20 interview

There’s quite a bit more to Volta Football, FIFA 20’s new street-style small-sided mode, than we’ve been shown so far.

After EA’s initial reveal on Saturday, I sat down with Matt Prior, FIFA 20’s Creative Director at EA Sports, as well as Lead Producer Sam Rivera, lead Volta Producer Jeff Antwi, and Executive Producer Aaron McHardy, for a more in-depth look at both Volta mode and the 11-versus-11 sides of the game. There was also the chance to put some question to them about both – and plenty inbetween, including FIFA’s business model, the persistence (and EA Sports’ defence) of pay-to-win mechanics and loot boxes in Ultimate Team, and why it takes a full year for what feel like pretty critical updates to the flow of the game.

But first! Before all that, the things we actually learned about Volta mode and those eleven aside updates themselves.


Volta, I’m told, is “additive”. By that EA Sports means that developers haven’t been taken off any other parts of the game to make it. More people have been brought in and Volta goes on top of everything else in FIFA like some kind of nice street-cherry on the footballing cake (apart from the Nintendo Switch cake, that is, which is now a “Legacy” title and shall remain Volta-less).

Only Volta’s kind of a cake of it’s own (and that is as far as I’ll be stretching the cake metaphor for it). You can play 3v3 with no goalkeepers, 3v3 with them, 4v4, or 5v5 with regulation futsal rules as an option, too. The teams are mixed between male and female players – the first time in the game’s history, and something the team is keen to emphasise as it’s “most diverse” mode yet (Prior mentioned the team have always been keen on bringing more women into the game but have been hamstrung by the actual regulations of football itself).

Volta’s also split into two distinct sub-modes, too. There’s the Kick Off Volta mode that’ll let you use real-world players in mini versions of their teams – play with Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale, Luca Modric and Sergio Ramos in 3v3 Rush, for instance, in a derby against Atltico – but that’s pretty much that.

In the World mode, however, things are quite a bit more substantive. You create one player, your own avatar, at the start. They can again be male or female, with all kinds of options for their appearance from tattoos to clothes and footwear (unlocked with in-game currency or through completing challenges – more on that below). You then set up your home pitch, where you choose a set team size and pitch type.

This seems like one of the most interesting parts of Volta so far – how you set up your home pitch is a strategic decision. In World mode you’ll play a kind of FUT Rivals-style League and in that League you’ll play home and away matches against other players online. Your home match will be on your pitch, with your custom logo on it and your rules. The away match will be on theirs. So you could set yours up to be a 3v3 Rush game with no ‘keepers, and no walls on the cage (meaning no using-the-wall-to-pass-to-yourself moves). And then you’d go away to the opponents and play five-a-side regulation game of futsal, walls and all.

The players on your team obviously play into that too – you’ll want to try and set yourself up for a specific type of player to specialise in your home game, probably, and the way you do so sounds like this other big, interesting part of Volta. When you beat an opponent, you get to ‘steal’ one of their players (including their own avatar player if you fancy it), creating a copy and adding it to your squad for you to use.

What you want be able to do, however, is play Volta mode with more than one friend. You can do couch co-op with a pal who’s next to you in person, but an EA spokesperson confirmed that that’s your lot – or at least it is for now, as there’s every chance Volta “will evolve over time”.