FIFA 17’s Aaron McHardy on The Journey, FIFA 17’s new single player story mode

by on June 12, 2016

Chances are that the thing that left you with the most questions after the FIFA 17 reveal at EA Play was The Journey. Described as a new single player story mode, The Journey sees you guide Alex Hunter through a top flight career with a structured narrative and even lets you take part in conversations with multiple chat options. I played a little bit of the new mode last week, and after that got to sit down with FIFA 17 producer Aaron McHardy to try and find out some more information about FIFA’s newest mode.

So why did you decide to do The Journey, and why are you doing it this year?

I think the driving force behind The Journey is that we can do it now, and I think a lot of that is because of the move to the Frostbite engine. One of the things that the Frostbite engine gives us, is the opportunity to rapidly create content like the environments and the other side of the world of football that we are adding into The Journey. To create all that without the Frostbite engine it would have taken and ages and we wouldn’t have done it in the time that we have to make a new game.

One thing I think a lot of people will want to know is about the narrative itself. Is it linear and will it be the same every time you play it or is there branching paths?

There is a main story line to The Journey, but we definitely want it to be varied. One of our core things is connectivity, we want to make sure that you connect with it and that the whole story is yours. So we made a lot of dynamic content that tells the story around the story, then we built the whole social media feature that tells the story around the story around the story, so we wanted to make sure that everything you do in the game matters. As you see in the demonstration the game tracks all your performance on the pitch and how you do elsewhere and all that is linked to the story and how the overall story is represented.


We got to try out a post match interview and noticed that some answers came across as a bit rude and arrogant. Does this mean that you can turn Alex into a heel; to use a wrestling term?

First off we try and not have outright rude answers, but yeah there is going to be varying degrees of personality to each of the options. There is an effect on relationships, on scenes that you see, ultimately your answers will effect the scenes you see in The Journey. So as you know you are playing as Alex Hunter, but you mould him into the type of person you want him to be. That happens through your decisions in the cinematics, you will be able to become a more fiery off the cuff type person in those interviews if you choose. But then the manager might give you a talking to, or you can be a bit more level headed if you wanted to and that is going to effect a lot of things. That’s gonna affect the fans appreciation of you and their following of you and it will affect your manager’s opinion of you and it ultimately affects your playing time, so they are serious decisions that you have to make. But ultimately the story content that you do see, does change on what personality you have so you actions do change what goes on.

Is this a mode people will play exclusively, like Ultimate Team or is it more of a quick in and out, once and done type thing?

We are not talking about length today, as you can understand we have a long way to go yet. First of all The Journey is a very robust offering in terms of a mode, it is the biggest mode we have added since we brought Ultimate Team to the table, but we do think that people, when they come into The Journey, they will come in and experience it all. We are using The Journey for newcomers to the franchise as well as onboard players, so we think they will come in play The Journey and we will be able to teach them through The Journey how to become better FIFA players. That doesn’t means that all new players will only play The Journey but what I do mean is that when you get to the end of The Journey, we want you to leave being a better FIFA player than when you started, so that when you do go to Ultimate Team or you go to career mode or other areas of the game you will be more proficient. So I don’t think people will come to The Journey and never play anything else, I imagine people will play The Journey experience and then move onto other modes in the game and have as much fun as they can.


The sceptics amongst us would say that this is just a glorified version of the old Be a Pro career mode, just with added cut scenes and a proper story. Is that the case?

It’s totally different to that, and we still have career mode in the game so career mode exists alongside The Journey. The Journey is a very emotional experience that we are telling from a perspective that we have never been able to do before. We can pull back the curtains on a different area of football and show people, so it is very different to the career mode. Career mode will exist in the game and there are some exciting announcements coming for career mode, but unfortunately I can’t tell you about them today. We are investing in both these areas for FIFA 17 because they are both excellent and both different. We know our fans and we know that they all like different things so we know both will be appreciated in their own ways.