The FIFA series started modestly but quickly set the standard for other sports video games, gaining recognition from fans worldwide. Want to see how that happened?

Let’s take a little trip to the past to discover the origins of one of the best football series ever. Exploring the improvements of each game encourages us to find out how this initially simple game became so massive. And with the release of the new EA Sports FC 24 (FIFA 24), we may be able to predict in which direction this football franchise will grow after the dramatic EA and FIFA breakup. Let’s begin!

The Genesis: FIFA 93-99

  • FIFA International Soccer (1993): The Start

The first FIFA game ever features fictional players and 76 national teams. But don’t let the seemingly simple graphics fool you. The game already provided dynamic character animations, realistic crowd behavior, and beautifully comprehensive team customization.

  • FIFA 95: Rapid Evolution

This installation did not introduce many changes except for clubs from various European, USA, and Brazil leagues. It also received minor graphics improvements, better AI, a new difficulty level, and intuitive controls. Slight modifications before the rise of a real game-changer!

  • FIFA 96: Enhanced Graphics Realism

Introducing 3D graphics and real-life players, FIFA 96 set the trend for all following installations. Transfers finally became possible, so players could freely create their ultimate dream teams. But that’s not all, as it was the first FIFA game featuring commentary by John Motson – for a genuinely realistic soccer experience!

  • FIFA 97: Featuring Indoor Mode

It was the first game to provide an indoor mode and 3D polygonal players instead of 2D sprites. It featured three extra modes – league competitions, friendly matches, and a thrilling world championship tournament. John Motson received the company of Andy Gray and Des Lynman, so the commentary became fiercer than ever. The title also developed customization options so players could freely tailor the rules to their needs.

  • FIFA 98: Road to World Cup

This game saw EA having fun with some extras, like the punchy Song 2 by Blur in the intro and overall faster gameplay. As the last representative of the 16-bit titles, it featured 173 national teams and an impressive 189 clubs from 11 leagues. But 1997 became the time of another game’s triumph – International Superstar Soccer (later known as Pro Evolution Soccer), which made the entire FIFA series a worthy and dangerous opponent.

  • FIFA 99: The Era of Club Football

The game didn’t really introduce any groundbreaking changes. Among the new features, you could find different player heights, facial animations, and the lack of indoor mode. Instead, we received the European Dream League mode featuring 20 teams fighting for ultimate victory. Nothing special, so no wonder ISS was this year’s fan-favorite.

The 2000s Decade: FIFA 2000-2009

  • FIFA 2000: Major League Soccer Debut

The title did not receive particularly enthusiastic reviews due to too few improvements compared to previous installations. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t any. FIFA 2000 introduced Major League Soccer, new player animations, better physics, and the ability to play consecutive seasons. But the real highlight of this game is the introduction of classic teams, including 1990s AC Milan, 1960s Manchester United, and the 1954 Hungarian team. Not radical, but positively intriguing!

  • FIFA 2001: Breakthrough in Graphics

Fans enthusiastic about better changes welcomed this title with great joy, as it provided several solutions remaining with us today. EA decided to introduce unique player faces, new leagues, a new graphics engine, better-looking kits, and a power bar for shooting. It was the first game featuring online play!

  • FIFA 2002: World Cup Power Bars

FIFA 2002 presented minor changes, like precise shooting and passing power bars or dribbling modifications. Players could choose from 28 leagues and over 80 national teams, but this was the last FIFA title featuring a Japanese club. Fun fact – it initiated the card reward system licensed by Panini!

  • FIFA 2003: Club Championship Mode

And it’s finally time for some crucial changes! The 2003 game is all about a faithful atmosphere. The audience received better reactions, the soundtrack became customizable, and the stadiums were detailed. The game introduced better ball physics, Freestyle Control, realistic animations, and TV-like break repeats enriched with detailed analysis of the most memorable moments. It all looked great in the new Club Championship Mode, representing the real-life Champions League.

  • FIFA 2004: Introduction of Off-the-Ball

Want to know what happened to career mode? This game was the first to introduce the manager’s career! The title encourages to show off management skills and lead the team through all stages of its development. It also offers a unique Off the Ball mode where players can control two soccer stars simultaneously. There are also changes to the overall atmosphere, like better AI, precise animations, and kits taking damage after a brutal match.

  • FIFA 05: Total Club Championship

To beat Pro Evolution Soccer 3, EA had to introduce several significant changes, like better graphics, an engaging soundtrack, and a career mode expanded to 15 seasons. There was also dynamic weather, first-touch mechanics, and the first appearance of the FIFA Shop offering various goods in exchange for points.

  • FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup

Slightly inspired by the Pro Evolution Soccer controls, the new FIFA became a real revolution, correcting many mistakes from previous years. The creators discarded the Off the Ball mode, expanded the multiplayer, introduced team chemistry, added soccer legends, and switched the commentator to Andy Gray. Career mode and graphics also changed, providing an in-depth experience and options for customizing the entire experience.

  • FIFA 07: Xbox 360 Debut

A realistic experience became crucial, delivering collision physics, better AI, greater ball control, and improved goalkeeper behavior. The audience began to react naturally, and fans could play real-life matches against other players in the unique EA Sports Interactive Leagues while following real news at the same time. After all, this was the first FIFA to offer an exclusive engine on Xbox 360!

  • FIFA 08: Be a Pro Mode

It’s time for some new features – Be a Pro mode! Finally, we could control one player instead of the entire team to show off our skills in a specific position. Goalkeepers have new moves, players have some real-life behavior, and the pace of the game is a bit slower – just right for those who prefer realistic solutions.

  • FIFA 09: Ultimate Team Emergence

Individual player statistics became important. The game introduced better collision physics, four seasons in the Be a Pro mode, and surprisingly accurate artificial intelligence algorithms. It was also the time of the vital FIFA Ultimate debut, treasured to this day. But in FIFA 09, it was only available as a paid expansion.

Transitioning to Reality: FIFA 10-19

  • FIFA 10: 360-Degree Player Control

The beginning of a new decade sees the series finally stop struggling with the issues experienced in the previous ten years. It’s a time of rapid evolution with 360-degree player control, an even better Manager mode, the revolutionary Virtual Pro, customizable tactics, realistic transfers, and the introduction of an anti-cheat approach in multiplayer.

  • FIFA 11: Personality Pro Passing

EA finally decided to take care of its PC fans by providing better visuals using solutions from the previous installation. Manager Mode and Be a Pro became one, allowing playing as a manager, player, or both for 15 exciting seasons. We could also play as a goalkeeper!

  • FIFA 12: Impact Engine

A new year means a new engine – the Impact Engine, boosting collision physics and damage effects. The defense picked a tactical approach, the players got new cool animations, and dribbling became precise. And if all this wasn’t enough, UEFA Euro 2012 DLC made the game even bigger!

  • FIFA 13: Complete Dribbling Attacking AI

Although this game didn’t garner as many enthusiastic reviews as its 2012 version, it still delivered some noticeable modifications. So this year, we could enjoy the introduction of Attacking Intelligence, Tactical Free Kicks, Skill Games mode, and referee improvements.

  • FIFA 14: Pure Shot Real Ball Physics

The following year saw EA considering improving human responses. That is how we got team members enhanced intelligence, stress factor, realistic crowd, and an absolutely epic atmosphere. The ball physics was better, and multiplayer could enjoy the new EA Sports Football Club. And thanks to the new EA Sports Ignite engine for consoles, fans could admire the grass details and changing weather conditions to their hearts’ content.

  • FIFA 15: Emotion Intensity

Ignite Engine took great care of making the visual experience in this installation unforgettable – also on PC! The game finally started looking like a TV broadcast rather than a bunch of simple pixels. The defense focused on cooperation, and the partnership with the Premier League guaranteed new features ensuring intense sports emotions.

  • FIFA 16: Introduction of Women’s Teams

The most massive change in this title is the inclusion of women’s national soccer teams from Brazil, Canada, China, and more – 12 squads in total! Ultimate mode became Ultimate Team Draft, introducing a simplified team creation process. The career mode received a new feature – pre-season matches for designing better tactics. It all looks great with 25 fresh player animations!

  • FIFA 17: The Journey Mode

The Frostbite 3 engine (known from the Battlefield game series) began a new era in FIFA history, as the game runs on it to this day. FUT mode received weekly FUT Champions, but this was still not the most crucial change in this title. It was The Journey mode, featuring young Alex Hunter climbing the ladder of an epic Premier League career. Incredibly fresh idea!

  • FIFA 18: World Cup Update

The new game introduces Real Players Motion technology developed with the help of Cristiano Ronaldo himself – now players move exactly as in real life. The Journey mode received another chapter, and the career mode included fierce negotiations involving clever artificial intelligence.

  • FIFA 19: UEFA Champions League License

The Journey mode finally had its final chapter – The Journey: Champions. We also received mechanics improvements like Dynamic Tactics and Active Touch System. But the most exciting change was EA obtaining the Champions League and Europa League license. Historic breakthrough!

Current Age: FIFA 20 and Beyond

  • FIFA 20: VOLTA Football

In response to fan requests, EA finally introduced Volta mode – street soccer competitions available in 3v3, 4v4, and 5v5. Or in story mode! Career mode received immersive post-match interviews, press conferences, and a better focus on maintaining proper team morale – the job became challenging!

  • FIFA 21: Enhanced AI and Player Movement

By introducing two new AI systems, FIFA considerably improved player movement. So from now on, Positioning Personality is responsible for leaving players in specific positions, and Creative Runs influence the attack. Volta mode received a story campaign continuation, and Volta Squads debuted for playing with friends.

  • FIFA 22: HyperMotion Technology

While many thought FIFA couldn’t look more realistic, it did. Thanks to HyperMotion Technology, the title introduced over 4,000 new animations, improved player artificial intelligence, and greater ball control. Everything just got intense – including creating your club from scratch.


The last title developed under the EA and FIFA partnership brought the game cover with a female Chelsea FC player – Sam Kerr. We could play the FIFA Women’s Cup 2023! But that’s not all, as this installation also included FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, career mode as one of 350 famous managers, crossplay, and FUT Moments. Thanks to HyperMontion 2, the grass became lush green, and machine learning skyrocketed the soccer experience to a new level of realistic fun.

  • EA Sports FC 2024

This new chapter in the history of the FIFA franchise means a realistic pace, hybrid squads, and engaging cutscenes. FUT experienced quite a massive change – Ultimate Team Evolution for improving chosen players regardless of their achievements.

What about animations? It’s a fantastic masterpiece by HyperMotion V with volumetric data from over 180 matches to make them look even better than on TV.

Special Editions and Spin-offs

  • FIFA World Cup Series

In addition to the main games in the series, EA made sure players could experience memorable sports emotions in seven extra FIFA World Cup editions. Games in this category offered championships in France, South Korea, Germany, South Africa, Brazil, Russia, and Qatar.

  • FIFA Street: A Unique Take on Soccer

Before Volta Mode became a thing, there was a spin-off containing four separate games – FIFA Street. It represents a more casual approach to matches, focusing on completing various tricks and visiting faraway corners of the world.

  • FIFA Mobile: Soccer for Everyone, Everywhere

It is another spin-off released on iOS and Android in 2016. As you can guess, the mechanics are less complicated but equal in terms of addictive gameplay modes and satisfying visuals. The title offers classic features like manager mode, competition with other players, and VS Attack.

The Future of FIFA

Let’s accept that our beloved FIFA is changing its name to EA Sports FC – probably forever. After Electronic Arts and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association split, the former secures existing licenses to develop familiar game mechanics in the upcoming years. And let us tell you, the future looks interesting! Gianni Infantino from FIFA has already announced a new game under the classic FIFA name, which will be released annually.

Pro Evolution Soccer returns as eFootball with no significant successes on the horizon. And there is EA Sports, which finally has a chance to beat all the competition using its experience and market knowledge. Whatever happens, someone will return from this battle with a shield or on it.