UFL has burst onto the scene, and with the news of EA Sports and FIFA's split, could this brand new entity seize its opportunity in the football gaming market?
LATEST - Title DELAYED
Unfortunately, but somewhat predictably, the release date for UFL has been delayed.
Announced personally by CEO Eugene Nashilov, it was clear he was disappointed the title was delayed, but clear that they wanted to deliver the best game possible.
It is apparently 80% complete and will now be released in 2023, with another update coming in December for when we can expect to see the game.
UFL will release on "all major gaming consoles" according to the developers, which was further clarified in a Tweet that said:
With regards to the platforms, we're primarily focused on bringing UFL to @PlayStation and @Xbox but PC is also a platform that we're closely considering
Inclusion on the PC is a regularly occurring question, so if the launch proves successful the game will no doubt become available on it.
For now, it looks like the release will just be on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X|S and PS5.
At the moment UFL has no official release date except that it will be with us in 2023, with its developers referring to it as "ongoing", and the only hint from the trailer being that it is "coming soon".
With the disastrous start to life that eFootball had, the game makers are taking their time to make sure it is as polished as possible before committing to a date.
The game has been in development since 2016, but included in that time has been the building of Strikerz Inc. as a company, which came into existence at the same time.
UFL has revealed some brand new gameplay for the very first time, giving a behind-the-scenes look into all of the hard work that has been sunk into the game so far.
It wasn't just gameplay on display, with a certain Cristiano Ronaldo also being confirmed as a brand new ambassador for the game.
As part of the gameplay reveal, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was revealed as the fifth official ambassador of the game.
The Manchester United forward's move to UFL comes as a shock to many as his previous and current employers are both linked with Konami's eFootball.
A brief cameo from the man himself in the gameplay reveal introduces the trailer, and we loved it.
We can't wait to see more from UFL, and to see more contribution from arguably their biggest ambassador.
Skill Moves Showcased
As time goes on, we're getting a better look at UFL's gameplay, with the developers recently taking to social media to share their processes.
Skill moves are the most recent element of the game to be showcased, with a focus on refining player movement through authentic animations.
UFL has released the second episode of their 'Insider' series, where new gameplay elements are showcased by the developers.
Goalkeepers are the main focus of episode two, with new gameplay showcased to reveal just how far the game has come.
UFL Reveal Trailer
It doesn't include any gameplay, but the cinematic trailer reveal for UFL looks absolutely stunning.
The lighting looks fantastic, and if playing the game showcases these touches it would have an edge over FIFA.
It is powered by Unreal Engine, which we have seen used in many other games including Fortnite and Gears of War.
Something also made clear from the trailer is Strikerz mantra of "Fair to Play", leaning entirely on a skill-based game as opposed to being pay-to-win.
The first player to appear as an ambassador for the game was Manchester City left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko.
With this reveal, we also got in-game footage of the player, and despite it being a work in progress, we think it looks pretty great!
Next up was Liverpool's centre-forward Robert Firmino, who received the same in-game footage player head showcase.
The third ambassador was from another Premier League heavyweight club, with Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku revealed.
For him, we got a different in-game introduction, which showcases a bit more of the player movement and how that could look for future gameplay.
Lukaku was soon followed up by another Manchester City player, as Kevin De Bruyne joins clubmate Oleksandr Zinchenko as an ambassador.
There is also another peek at some in-game footage, with Strikerz keeping up the cinematic feel of the game with their latest showing.
Until we actually see some gameplay the only things we can draw from are the ideas that Strikez Inc. are building the game around.
The main aspect they are marketing the game around is being Free to Play/Fair to Play, with skill being prioritised over a pay-to-win dynamic that many have found within FIFA.
The pitch sounds like a combination of FIFA Ultimate Team and Football Manager, with Strikerz Inc. CEO Eugene Nashilov saying:
"you will manage your club, form a roster, develop tactics and compete with other gamers in seasons to prove your skills and climb to the very top of the league. Competitive, fair gaming is at the very core of UFL’s gameplay. In this competition, your victory depends solely on your gaming skills and the choices you make."
Speculation around an offline Career Mode was quashed, with this Q&A response on Twitter:
Although a Career Mode seems unlikely, this does confirm that there will be "an offline mode that you can play with friends".
The in-game card design has also been shown, with this simplified look revealed.
We're a fan of the flag movement in the background to give the design a bit of dynamism, with the stars at the top surely referring to some kind of player skill level.
One aspect that could ruin the game before it's even released is how real to life it will feel, with a main part of this being gained through licences so users can control real-life players and teams.
Thankfully, Strikerz Inc. has teamed up with FIFPRO, the world's biggest representative organization for 65,000 professional footballers - the same organization that EA use for FIFA.
Another edge they could have over the competition is their partnership with InStat, a leader in sports performance analysis, which can give updated statistics for each player.
Unsurprisingly, West Ham was revealed as an official partner of the game, with kits and badges being available in-game.
As the team used in the trailer, it was only a matter of time before this was confirmed.
Other sides to have aligned themselves with UFL are Shakhtar Donetsk, Borussia Monchengladbach, Monaco, Besiktas, Celtic, Rangers and Hashtag United.