What Will Happen With FIFA 19 and Cristiano Ronaldo?
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After signing for Juventus following almost a decade of breaking records and smuggling socks at Real Madrid, many in the footballing world were happy for Cristiano Ronaldo. His teammates and fans have been flocking to congratulate him with the latter jokingly applying black lines to their Madrid shirts to show allegiance to Juventus instead.
However, not everyone is going to be happy with the move. Alongside Manchester United fans whose hopes of the longest loan in football history coming to an end, EA Sports have something of a dilemma on their hands. Ronaldo adorns the cover of the game in his Madrid shirt and also play a big part in The Journey — as a Madrid player.
Now, this might not seem like a big problem in a patch-friendly industry, where updates can seemingly easily be rolled out to iron out the kinks and errors. Really, at this point in FIFA’s history, they could probably just charge for a player update each year rather than releasing a new game. It’s basically what they’re doing anyway.
However, it’s not that simple in this case. Ronaldo is nowhere near as big or as impressive a player as Tony Hibbert, but he certainly is a star with the ego to match. Using his image costs the big bucks, which is probably a large part of why it took EA Sports so long to have him adorn the cover of a FIFA game with him making his debut for FIFA 18. Ronaldo had previously been the cover star of many PES games with Messi gracing FIFA instead before the Argentinian flip-flopped between the two.
Re-shooting the cover will go a way towards fixing things, but it will hit EA in the pocket, as well as cause something of a headache with the technicalities around licensing the Juventus shirt. As FIFA is a franchise that basically prints money for EA, they will probably find all the coins and notes they need under their couch. It’s with the narrative of The Journey that things get really complex.
In The Journey, you take Alex Hunter on a, erm, journey from struggling trialist to superstar before somehow guiding him to the MLS and then back to relevancy. FIFA 19 is supposed to be the culmination of Hunter’s story with him reaching the very top at Real Madrid and becoming friendly with Ronaldo. How will EA get around that? No disrespect to Juventus, but there’s only one Real Madrid — swapping the teams around won’t put across Alex reaching the zenith nearly as well.
Of course this isn’t the first time a megastar has swapped teams and caused havoc with a video game. Neymar was initially on the cover of PES 2018 for Barcelona before his transfer to PSG saw him getting quickly scrubbed out. However, seeing as how he wasn’t the focal point of the cover and instead shared the limelight with his teammates, it’s not quite the same.
It will be interesting to see where EA Sports go from here before FIFA 19 releases in September for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
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