EA’s FIFA title for the Nintendo Switch will be FIFA 18, EA’s chief competition officer Peter Moore has confirmed.
Speaking to GameReactor at a FIFA event in Paris this weekend, Moore said that the custom-built Switch title will indeed be the next entry in EA’s long-running football franchise rather than a bespoke spin-off or a port of an older FIFA title.
"Well, as we have said, we are custom-building a FIFA version for the Nintendo Switch," Moore said. "It will beFIFA 18, and it will obviously be later this year whenFIFA 18comes out."
When probed about whether it will be a slimmed down version of the game or comparable with its inevitable PS4 and Xbox One counterparts, however, Moore simply said: "What you have will be a custom built version for the Nintendo Switch from the FIFA development team in Vancouver."
With FIFA 17 having moved to EA’s Frostbite engine last year, it’s unlikely the Switch version will end up running the same version of the game as other platforms. Instead, it’s probably more likely it will use EA’s older Ignite engine, which was used in FIFA 16 as well as (initially) in its FIFA Mobile app.
That said, in a recent Q&A from 2016, EA revealed that the team had had to revert FIFA Mobile to its older FUT15 engine due to storage and compatibility issues. This may not be a problem for the Switch, which is much more powerful than your average phone GPU, but when asked why the graphics looked so different in comparison to previous games, EA replied:
"Our decision to upgrade the gameplay engine last season was not particularly well received by our players. Although the graphics were beautiful, the game did not run on many devices, took up a huge amount of space on player’s devices that did run the game, and suffered performance issues during the on-pitch action.
"For all those reasons, we decided to return to the same gameplay engine that powered our most popular FIFA mobile game ever – theFUT15engine. We spent all year building on this foundation with AI improvements, adding G4 Star Heads, improving controls and much more. The result is a fantastic game engine that loads quickly, runs smoothly on devices as old as the iPhone 4s and Samsung S3, doesn’t abuse your battery, and installs over the air at under 100MB."
With this in mind, the "custom-built version" of FIFA 18 for Switch may well end up using the FUT15 Engine instead, but we’ll have to wait until closer to launch to see what EA’s exact plans are.
EA’s FIFA titles normally release in September, so expect an autumn release for the Switch version FIFA 18 alongside the PS4, Xbox One and PC versions.