FIFA 20 Gameplay: Gamescom, features, new gameplay, improved finishing, 1v1s, set piece refresh, strafe dribbling, controlled tackling & more

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Gamescom brings us all new footage of the upcoming FIFA 20 that is releasing September 24th, and highlights why this years gameplay will be so much better than FIFA 19.

FIFA 19's biggest downfall was the gameplay, after many patch updates over the course of last season, EA will look to avoid such problems with their upcoming FIFA 20 title.

With PES 2020 gameplay looking to be the most realistic football game of all time, EA need to step-up and compete with Konami their bitter rivals.


For FIFA 20, the developers need to get it a lot closer to the real thing when the game is released, with still back post crosses heavily overpowered and defending from the kick-off bizarrely difficult. FIFA 19’s sales were 35% lower than FIFA 18 in its first week, and this is likely to worsen for FIFA 20.

Well, there is hope. Even before the big E3 reveal, it was released in The Pitch Notes what the areas of focus were for FIFA 20. More realistic finishing, improved defending, a passing overhaul, more difficult chained skill moved and goalkeeper movement being reduced were all mentioned, marking a fantastic start for the FIFA 20 cycle.

Table of Contents

Of course, the addition of Volta Football, the new street-style format, will add a host of new gameplay features, like knocking the ball of the wall, and you can imagine some of the core elements for the 5-a-side game will translate into 11-a-side out on the pitch.

RealSport looks at what we can expect from FIFA 20 this year.

New gameplay video

We finally see insane videos to the features we heard about earlier in the summer. Read on below to hear about these in more detail.

FIFA 20 have been releasing their information via The Pitch Notes - click here to read more.


Strafe Dribbling

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The introduction of Volta Football means there will be an emphasis on close control, and this has been added in the form of the strafe dribbling mechanic. This enables the attacker to move with more agility than ever to lure your opponent in before beating them with speed or skill.


Strafe dribbling is just one component of what EA have labelled as Decisive Moments. With these new attacking skills, controlled tackling will bolster the defence, providing more intelligent tackling which increases the chance of winning the ball back. For instance, the defender directing the tackle towards a teammate to ensure they regain the ball.

L1/LB for Strafe Dribble

L1+R1/LB+RB for Strafe Dribble (lock face angle)

There is now also Natural Player Motion creating sharper movement and more intelligent positioning, with AI players moving in a more natural and composed fashion and potentially opening up space for their teammates.

Timed finishing

Timed finishing is as brilliant as it is frustrating. We all love to see a ball fly into the top corner from 25 yards, but when it happens again and again, the magic is lost. It has now been adjusted, with Composed finishing ensuring one-on-ones are easier, and volleyed efforts are more difficult.

Death by first-time finesse on FIFA 19 

New shot trajectories will see shots dip, fade and swerve to add even more realism, as part of the new ball physics for FIFA 20. Football Informed Motion introduces more authentic ball spins and bounces, which will also play in a big role in all the different venues available in Volta as well.


Goalkeeper movement

Goalkeeper movement is another aspect that has faced much criticism, with it being highly unrealistic. Have you ever seen a goalkeeper run across his goal as the striker shoots to gather the ball in his arms? This is now being reduced, as well as the superhuman reactions from one-on-ones.

Free kicks and penalties

Free kicks are incredibly difficult to score on FIFA 19, and penalties have been even more of a lottery than they are in real life. A new set piece refresh will show a circular target of where shot is going, providing a clearer indication of where you are aiming.

The new Free Kick System is divided into five aspects: Aim, Position, Power, Spin and Timing.

  • Aim: The first step was the new aiming mechanic. The aim now works with a reticle displayed on the goal, and players can use their pad to choose where to aim their free kick.
  • Position: Instead of stepping slowly around the ball and moving to different start positions, pressing the Right-Stick to the left or right will now move the player between pre-defined positions (Wide, Normal, Straight). Each position gives a certain bonus to your shot, with Wide giving an increased amount of spin and Straight providing an increase in spin for outside of the foot shots. Normal is a balance between both.
  • Power: With shot elevation being determined by the aiming reticle, shot power now determines the shot trajectory. A low power shot will be more akin to a finesse shot (loopy), while a high power shot will be more driven and direct. Aiming towards the bottom of the net will also prioritise driven shots, allowing players to shoot under the wall.
  • Spin: After powering your shot, and during the run up before contact, players can apply spin to the ball. To apply different spins, you need to perform gestures using the Right-Stick as displayed below. The speed and accuracy of the gesture will determine how much spin is added to the ball. 


  • Timing: players can also use the Timed Finishing mechanic in the new Free Kick system, allowing you to attempt to press the button right at the moment of the contact of the shot. If successful, this will reduce the amount of error, and increase the amount of spin applied to the shot. If not successful, it will dramatically increase the amount of error applied to the shot.

Penalty Kicks have also been improved, using the same Aim, Power and Timing mechanics as Free Kicks. The big difference is that there is no adjustment to the starting position and no spin control on the Right-Stick. Unlike Free Kicks however, players can continue to change the aim of the kick throughout the run up, allowing for last second adjustments.

Besides what was mentioned above, we improved all animations for kicks and shots for both Free Kicks and Penalties, added a few new Star-players run ups and animations, while also removing the wall creep mechanic, which had been previously requested from feedback sessions with the community. These changes are meant to create more rewarding and authentic Set Pieces in FIFA.



Controlled Tackling 

 A revamped system that favors manual tackling by making sure that the defender trying to tackle does so in a favourable context to your team on the vast majority of occasions. Defenders will be more successful in recovering possession by tackling the ball towards a teammate to keep the ball in play after a tackle. To reward manual defending, this system also minimises the frequency of attackers keeping possession of the ball after a successful tackle, by placing more emphasis on the strength of the defender and improving the stumbles caused by tackles.        

O / B to Stand Tackle or Hold O / B for Hard Tackles

This system will be less apparent when using slide tackles, since they trigger as soon as the button is pressed.

Akin to real football, once in a while the ball will bounce back to the attacker, however the frequency of this will be reduced.

Agile Jockey: A refresh of the manual Jockey system, making it more agile and responsive when defending. This mechanic will allow user-controlled defenders to better cut off passing lanes or block a shot. The goal of the new jockey system is to encourage players to use manual defending and accurately predict what their opponent will do.

L2/LT for Slow Jockey

L2/LT + R2/RT for Fast Jockey



One of the main aspects of FIFA 20 gameplay that they wanted to emphasize is within one-on-one situations. In real-life football, some of the most exciting moments derive from these types of situations, and we wanted to shine a spotlight on them.

Due to the re-architecture of our Positioning system, players should find themselves in one-on-one battles, all over the pitch, more often in FIFA 20. Both the dribbler and the defender will have more time and space to read the play and show their skills than ever before - be it a winger trying to break through the defense, or a holding midfielder closing down a deadly striker - these are some of the moments that can define the advantage in a balanced match.

Additionally, our goal for FIFA 20 is to provide gameplay that allows you to read and predict, rather than a game where you only react to your opponent. Strategy and overall understanding of football are key.

To create these moments, the team focused on four main aspects: spacing, movement, game flow and tools.

  • Spacing and movement: The team made a big restructure of the AI positioning system, emphasizing user controlled actions. Players on the pitch should behave more realistically than ever, keeping the space and reacting with the urgency needed for each situation. To improve unnecessary player movements and hectic feeling of the game, players will now try to keep their formation and position, anticipating the opponent’s next move instead of just going towards them. At the same time, players will still make runs and offer support when the opportunity arises.
  • Game Flow: The focus was on building a slower and more composed game off the ball, while keeping it very responsive and agile on the ball. Players will have more time to read situations and plan their next steps putting emphasis on more tactical defending, but at the same time, players will be more responsive and faster than before allowing for explosive runs and breakaways.
  • Tools: Achieving a one-on-one situation was the first step, the next step was to provide both sides with tools to resolve these plays. Some of these new tools are;
    • Lofted Ground Pass: X+X / A + A
    • Lofted Ground Through Pass: △+△ / Y + Y
    • Driven Lobbed Through Pass: L1 +R1 + △ / LB + RB + Y
    • Slow Dribble: L2 + R2 + LS / LT + RT + LS
    • Set Up Touch: R1 + RS Direction (Hold) / RB + RS Direction (Hold)
    • Strafe Dribble: L1 +LS / LB + LS
    • Strafe Dribble (lock face angle): L1 + R1 + LS / LB + RB + LS
    • Goalkeeper Cross Intercept: △ / Y + △ / Y (Hold)


Other Improvements 

  • Referees in play: Referees are now ‘permeable’ and should not collide with the ball or players, preventing them from influencing the play in any way.
  • Improved Blocks: Improvements to reduce the amount of missed blocks and added new animations.
  • Lofted Passes: New ‘dinked pass’ when pressing the pass (ground or through) button twice - as mentioned in our first article.
  • Ball Relative Switching: New Switching option when using the Right-Stick to switch. Players can change their settings to perform Ball Relative switches instead of the classic Player Relative switches. This helps players that use the ball as a visual reference when switching.
  • Removed “No Touch Dribble”: Avoid conflicts with other mechanics and creates space for the new Set Up Touch. This was another topic widely requested during our feedback sessions with the community.
  • Early Lock to Pass Receiver: New controller settings option for Passing to allow locking to a Receiver early vs late (default). Locking early allows players to change the left stick direction after the pass animation starts without changing where the pass goes. Locking late allows players to change their mind as late as possible, close to the moment when the ball is kicked.
  • Kick-Off Emotions: Improved functionality and animations, players are able to perform an emotion during any Kick-Off. Each direction performs a specific emotion:
    • Angry towards Opponent/Team = RS Up/Down
    • Happy towards Opponent/Team = RS Left/Right
  • 50/50 Tackles: Addressed issues with 50/50 tackles, especially with them being triggered in dribbling situations, giving extra advantage to the dribbler when being tackled.
  • Pass Block Assistance: Turning off the “Pass Block Assistance” setting will now only affect the User Controlled player and not the AI controlled players, to allow users more control for auto blocks. Another topic that was requested by players during our feedback sessions.
  • New Skill Moves: Lateral Heel to Heel, Feint and Exit, Drag to Drag, and Flair Roulette are new skill moves. Heel Chop Turn and Drag Back Sombrero are new combo skills.
  • New Celebrations and Animations that serve both to updating our library of real-life moments and refreshing the overall visual quality of the game, while aiming for a better depiction of moves and reactions of players.


For more FIFA 20 news, head to our absolutely everything piece here.