There is plenty about EA Sports’ flagship football game that can frustrate fans, but does it have the sport’s newest divisive technology?
FIFA 20 is EA Sports’ latest offering in their massively popular football video game series and it is unrivalled when it comes to recreating the reality of the sport.
From mimicking players’ physical appearances and stadium atmospheres, to fine-tuning the in-game physics when it comes to movement – particularly that of the ball – EA Sports’ FIFA games have few rivals.
But what about VAR? Does the most controversial technological inclusion in football feature in FIFA 20?
Goal brings you everything you need to know…
Does FIFA 20 have VAR?
VAR is not a feature in FIFA 20 despite its rollout across the top competitions in the world, such as the World Cup, Premier League and the Bundesliga.
The question of whether EA Sports would include VAR in its popular football games has persisted since the launch of FIFA 19, but it has not been included in any titles yet.
If VAR was to be included in FIFA, it would be strictly aesthetic, considering that the AI (artificial intelligence) of the computer officials when it comes to decisions such as offside is practically flawless.
As EA Sports’ creative director for FIFA, Matt Prior has suggested, there is no real need to include VAR in the game as there is no chance of an offside goal being given or a legitimate penalty not being awarded.
“We technically have VAR in the game because we know the pinpoint location of everything,” Prior said in an interview with Eurogamer ahead of the launch of FIFA 19.
FIFA 20, which was released in September 2019, followed the same path as its predecessor by leaving VAR out of the game altogether.
Will VAR be included in the next FIFA game?
It is likely that EA Sports will include VAR in FIFA 21 considering how central the technology has become to the game, for better or worse.
FIFA’s creative director Matt Prior has previously expressed an openness to the idea of including VAR in future titles, citing the need for “authenticity” in their product.
He told Eurogamer: “If it becomes part of the footballing fabric to the point where it feels weird that it isn’t in a regular game, even if we don’t need it, then it’s something we can look at introducing.”
The number of competitions across the world now actively using VAR has grown significantly and it can be reasonably argued that it has become “part of the footballing fabric”.
It remains to be seen how VAR would be incorporated into FIFA games, but one possibility is the insertion of occasional cut-off scenes or short delays during games after goals to allow a ‘decision’ to be made.
Of course, if the real-world response is anything to go by, that sort of pursuit of authenticity may not be to the liking of some VAR-skeptic FIFA aficionados.
What is VAR?
VAR, meaning Video Assistant Referee, is a match official (or team of officials) who monitors and reviews decisions made by the referee in a football match in order to ensure the correct decision has been reached.
It exists to deal with contentious decisions relating to ‘game-changing incidents such as goals, the awarding of penalties, the issuing of red cards and of mistaken identity’.
Initially trialled in 2017, VAR officially became part of FIFA’s Laws of the Game in 2018 and has since been embedded within a host of the most prestigious competitions in world football.