Female Footballers Still Sidelined In FIFA 14

Female Footballers Still Sidelined In FIFA 14

Women won’t make an appearance in FIFA 14, despite an insistent campaign of petitions to include them and a summit, last year, that left one organiser with the feeling that it was just a matter of time before women would be included in the world’s most popular video game for the world’s most popular sport.

Three weeks ago, in this interview, FIFA producer Sebastian Enrique ruled out the appearance of women in EA Sports’ upcoming football simulation by saying, “there are no plans at the moment.” Enrique said including women would require a different physics model specific to those players, plus new player modelling and even hairstyles.

I followed up with EA Canada, the studio that builds FIFA, and was told, by executive producer David Rutter, that women’s soccer would not make an appearance in FIFA this year.

It’s noteworthy still for a couple of reasons: The addition, in 2011, of women players to EA Sports’ NHL series (in their Be a Pro mode, and as an option in creating players elsewhere; two women also were included on a roster of all-time greats last year). And this year also saw, for the first time ever, the LPGA and one of its major tournaments included in a golf video game for consoles. And it’s noteworthy because women’s soccer is, as a participation and a spectator sport, more popular than women’s golf or hockey.

Fernanda Schabarum, a Brazilian living and working in South Florida, last year opened an online petition to demand women’s inclusion in FIFA. It gained enough attention that David Rutter, the series’ executive producer, met with her. “He said it’s going to happen at some point, and he hopes EA is the one to do it, and do it right,” Schabarum told Kotaku last year.

Rutter, for his part, told Kotaku the same thing at the time, but said issues of licensing, of gameplay balance and meaningful inclusion in a main game mode, and other considerations kept it from being the kind of easy add-on some assume it would be.

“Nothing has changed since our last interview,” Rutter said today. “As a team we have discussed at length the inclusion of female characters in FIFA, and whilst it’s something that remains on our list of features for consideration as part of our mission statement above, we do not have plans to put female characters into the game this year.”

On a hunch, I asked directly if female footballers would be an inclusion in the next-generation console versions of FIFA, for reasons of disc space, system power or whatever. Rutter didn’t answer that and the statement “we do not have plans to put female characters into the game this year,” would seem to be a definitive “no” considering EA Sports has said FIFA will be available on new consoles at their launch. Maybe this will change next year, but we had the same thought in the last one, too.

To contact the author of this post, write to owen@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @owengood.


  • considering each FIFA is effectively a rebalancing of the rosters…. this would be very easy to implement.

  • Wow, have to make an entirely new model for a female soccer player. Doesn’t every game ever have more than one character model? I don’t see the problem???

    • i don’t think you understand exactly what goes into a character model and how it interacts with the rest of the game, the difference between gender for practical reasons is substantially more different then say the difference between two heights.

      not to mention that doubling the character work is not something to be taken lightly, it’s like saying a rugby game should include the AFL because they both use similar balls, there’s a point where practicality needs to take hold.

      • I agree it isn’t necessarily trivial, especially if you want the physics of say the chest to look realistic. That said, it wouldn’t be a huge drama given the designers only have to come up with some human models and a basic field for the game. By all reports, a lot of the content gets reused year to year. Compared to what other developers need to deal with, a soccer game is pretty light on in the assets department.

        I don’t think it’d be hard for them to do, not trivial but it wouldn’t be that big an issue if they wanted to. There’s probably no real financial benefit to it at this moment however.

  • In 2015 is the women’s football world cup in Canada. EA is a Canadian company…is this a hint?

  • Or maybe it’s because, you know, no one gives a shit about women’s soccer?

    Are we supposed to care because of equality and all that?

  • Look, I think this is trivial! Why hasnt there been a WNBA game? ETC ETC, there is not a big demand for this feature to be included in FIFA. There are other things that EA need to fix which are more high priority then introducing female character models . Such as online gameplay, online competition, local servers and server uptime. And before I get ridiculed for my comment, I’m not misogynistic. I’m jus a gamer. If women want to be part of the FIFA series, then bring out some sort of DLC later when the game has released or even a stand alone game. They did it previously with the UEFA Champions League game…

  • I genuinely feel Kotaku is actually harming gender equality in one way by treating males like ignorami who need lectures every 5 minutes on what exactly not to say, joke about or infer around a woman in a gaming environment. Furthermore, you have potentially loaded questions like this. Do we condemn EA for what you’ve got to believe is mostly a business decision? For not sacrificing something out of the goodness of their hearts? There are a number of leagues that aren’t in FIFA and don’t require serious programming to include. They aren’t there because they aren’t popular enough and they’re trying to sell their wares to the large audience they need in order to be profitable. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a demand issue, if EA were sure this somehow underground army of women’s soccer fans would emerge to buy the game they spent a fortune on and delayed several years, i’m sure they’d do it. I’m just not sure how people pose to solve this legitimate problem of demand. People are ordering companies to some pretty destructive and nonsensical things in the name of gender equality (yes, in video games) and i just wonder when everyone found out equality would come at the destruction of the companies who make our games. (Not just EA but potentially smaller studios and publishers who had the gall to make a game with a specific demographic in mind)

    Don’t get me wrong, equality is important and i’d genuinely feel glad for the image and stake of women in the games industry to be vastly improved. The greatest problem i believe is having powerful representation at some of the bigger companies, i’m not sure how loud the voice of women are to those at the top and it’d probably do a lot of good if women were able to have a legitimate voice inside. I’m just not sure demands (above), victimisation of women (assistant in a games store dared to assume you were shopping for someone else) and demonising of men (where are the women?) are the roads to equality.

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