Why don’t some players look like the real ones on FIFA?

The explanation lies in the three different categories of players framed by EA Sports, which often penalizes Serie A.

Have you ever wondered why not all footballers made up FIFA slavishly resemble the real ones? Of course, recreating the faces of every single athlete is a huge effort for a video game that, like EA Sports, contains dozens of leagues and thousands of players. For this reason, the creative process of the Californian house works on three different levels, illustrated in a very effective way on the official forum dedicated to the series.

FIFA Starheads –

FIFA basically divides the players who will end up in its video games from year to year into three categories. At the top of this “ranking” we find the Starhead, i.e. the players who are entered directly into the game via a scan. In these cases, an EA Sports team is received at a club’s training ground and scans the faces of all the players in the squad, often within a commercial partnership (such as the one that Roma had). Players are taken a number of photos which, over time, are applied to the face of the in-game player. The results are generally incredible, thanks to the technological efforts put in place by Electronic Arts and the power of the consoles that follow one another. A fairly obvious example is that of Leo Messi, still wearing the Barcelona shirt, at the first appearance of FIFA 21 on PS5 and Xbox Series X | S last December:

All the others –

The spectacularity of these faces often makes all the others, although they are often not bad, of a palpably lower level. In particular, the levels that follow the Starheads are two: the faces Custom, i.e. the custom ones, ei Generic, i.e. the generics. In the case of custom faces, the development team takes the time to hand-draw the face of a footballer that they think is very important but who has not been able to take photographs in person. A good example is that of Radja Nainggolan:

In that of generics, which are evidently most especially in leagues such as Serie A, the in-game face of a football player (perhaps not yet popular enough or recently made headlines, or due to some license problem) is modeled without going into too much detail. An example (and we challenge you to understand who he is, he plays for Manchester United):

Updates –

Clearly, every year the FIFA database is updated in order to introduce new faces, both for players already included in previous years and now more relevant, and for others who have jumped into the spotlight in recent times. Even the latest update, as reported by the EA itself, added in FIFA 22 a new face and has updated 31 of them, which means that, even once the game has hit the shops, the process of smoothing these details continues to go on. Often he does it with not exactly excellent results, as is frequently seen with Serie A, but he always goes on.

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