FIFA 16 will feature female soccer players on its covers, EA has announced. The publisher announced that the game would include playable women’s teams back in May just in time for the Women’s World Cup. Now, it’s confirmed that the covers of FIFA 16 will feature a female player based on region. In North America, the US version will feature Alex Morgan while the Canadian covers will see Christine Sinclair. Both versions will also feature Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
“This year’s World Cup showcased the unbelievable talent and skill in women’s soccer,” Christine Sinclair said in a statement. She’s referring to the final of the Women’s World Cup, which saw the US and Japanese teams face off. It drew a US audience of 24.4 million viewers. “I’m thrilled that EA Sports is celebrating female athletes in FIFA 16,” Sinclair said.
David Rutter, FIFA series head, said the reason for women not being included in the previous games came down to technology. “We needed to have tools and technology in place that could differentiate between men and women.”
Following the US women’s team victory in the Wold Cup, fans created a petition on change.org to see EA feature members of the women’s team on the cover of FIFA 16. It seems the fan demand for female players won EA over.
“As soon as we knew Women’s National Teams were joining FIFA 16, we immediately recognized that Christine and Alex would be the perfect cover athletes based on their accomplishments and what they represent for their respective countries and the sport of women’s soccer,” senior manager of North America marketing for EA Sports, David Pekush, said.
EA also allowed fans to vote on which male and female players they wanted to see in the regional editions. Different regions will feature their own, local players on their covers. For example, the Australian version will see Steph Catley next to Messi.
Although the inclusion of female teams in the 22nd FIFA game is a positive step (and one that took a ridiculously long time), the number of female players in the game will be quite limited. There will only be 12 female teams to choose from in FIFA 16 as opposed to the hundreds of male teams. It’s hoped the inclusion of female players will expand with future editions of the game.