FIFA 19's demo start time, team list and date and the FIFA 19 release date itself have been announced, and they're pretty much what we've all come to expect.
We'll cover those below, but you can also expect a big rundown of all the nitty gritty details of FIFA 19 that have changed for this year's version of the game - stuff like the new shooting mechanics, new types of first touch animations, and more, for those who like a proper deep dive before they get their hands on the real thing!
On this page:
FIFA 19 demo start time, team list, and release date
FIFA 19 has a firm release date, and it's once again a week in late September. This time around, FIFA 19 will release on September 28th 2018.
FIFA 19 demo date and start time expectations
There's also, finally, a firm date for the FIFA 19 demo - in fact it's out now! The FIFA 19 demo released on Thursday 13th September at 3pm UK time (BST). It's free to download and keep, so crack on!
FIFA 19 demo team list
There's always a limited number of teams to select in FIFA demos, and FIFA 19 follows the usual trend of top sides from across Europe. Here's the rundown:
- Real Madrid
- Manchester United
- Manchester City
- Bayern Munich
- Atletico Madrid
- Borussia Dortmund
- Tottenham Hotspur
For more on what you can expect in FIFA 19 proper though, read on for our detailed breakdown in the sections below.
FIFA 19 new Kick Off Mode changes
There's another pretty whopping range of changes coming to FIFA 19 this year, with three real headliners: the new "Active Touch System" for how you control the ball, a new Timed Finishing system for how you take your shots, and a new Kick Off mode that brings a massive (and long overdue) quality-of-life improvement over the original. Let's run through them.
New Kick Off Mode explained
Kick Off is still Kick Off, but now there are a range of improvements coming to make it a bit more flexible and enjoyable for regular players. Here's a quick list of what's new:
- You can now play the Champions League final if you want - still with teams of your choice, but with the commentary, setting and all the usual pazzazz of the final itself (they're making the most of that license). You can also play the Europa League, FA Cup and other finals, too.
- House Rules mode now lets you customise the rules - this actually contains several game modes in itself. Survival Mode is the strange new addition that sees you lose a player from the pitch every time you score a goal, with the first to five goals winning. You can turn off the ref in "No Rules", get double points for scoring from outside the box in "Long Range", only score with headers or volleys in... Headers and Volleys, or set a condition for the game ending when someone reaches a set number of goals in "First to..." mode.
- Best of Series lets you play a series with a set number of games, with the winner determined by games won in the series (so best of three, best of five etc.).
- Home and Away lets you play a two-legged match, with Away Goals counting as a rule.
- Stats are now tracked - a great new addition for regular couch co-op players (like us here at Eurogamer), stat tracking means that everything from Possession to Fouls is tracked along the way in your history of games against a given opponent. So you can bin that scrap of paper you kept score on every year and bore right down to Goal Difference in deciding who the better player really is.
- Stat tracking is done via a new Kick-Off Name that you set up the first time you do it - it works slightly differently on different platforms (basically, on PC and Xbox One you need to be Friends with someone to track your head to head stats, whereas on PS4 it looks like you don't). You can then sign into this name wherever you are, although it's not clear if it works cross-platform or if that just means you can sign into your Kick-Off Name on your mate's PS4 as well as your own, for instance.
On the topic of stat-tracking, here's a quick list of all the stats that it tracks, because it's pretty cool!
- Wins / Losses / Draws
- Win Percentage
- Goals Scored / Conceded / Goal Difference
- Goals Scored from Inside / Outside the box / Penalties / Free Kicks
- Goal Net Heatmap (so where in the goal you scored)
- Shots / On Target / On Target Percentage
- Average Possession / Possession in Areas of the Pitch
- Average Pass Completion
- Past 5 match results
- Most Two-Legged / Best of 3 / Best of 5 wins
- Fastest Goal Scored
- Biggest Win
For more on FIFA 19, we have pages on the FIFA 19 demo, new features and everything we know, the list of all FIFA 19 FUT Icons coming to the game, a list of the best FIFA 19 players in the top 100 FIFA player ratings list, plus dedicated, in-depth explainers on FIFA 19 Chemistry and Chemistry Styles, too.
Other FIFA 19 gameplay changes like Timed Finishing, Active Touch System and more
As we mentioned just above, the Active Touch System and Timed Finishing are two of the other major changes to gameplay that we'll see in FIFA 19, as well as a new "Dynamic Tactics" system that we'll hopefully see more of as well, too.
Active Touch System explained
One of our resident FIFA experts Wesley Yin-Poole tried his hand at FIFA 19 and described the Active Touch System as FIFA essentially having "new animations for pretty much everything". Basically, as well as looking pretty, a change to the way your first touch is animated means that you have much more control over the ball itself.
You can now spin the ball on your first touch, use diving headers for passing, use a disguised first touch, Toni Kroos style, to send players the wrong way, and even flick the ball up with your first touch - great for that Headers and Volleys mode in Kick Off...
Basically, there's a much wider range of contextual animations and deliberate first touch uses that are coming to FIFA 19 so, if you master them, you should have far more control over the game.
Timed Finishing explained
Last year's FIFA brought in the 'double tap' shot, where you hold down the Shoot button to power up a shot and then, if you want to, tap it again to turn it into a low drilled shot.
That, frankly, became pretty overpowered once people got used to it, and so the new Timed Finishing mechanic looks like a way to combine that specific shot type with a general approach to shooting. Now, you shoot the same as normal but a well-timed second tap of the Shoot button will basically add a boost of power and accuracy to a shot. Mistime it, and the shot will actually be a little worse.
Think of it like reloading in Gears of War: you can do it normally - and normal shots should work just as well as usual - but if you want to gamble you can go for that sweet-spot timing of a second tap and get the glory (and presumed increase in chance of scoring, obviously) if it goes well. The "bar" for juding timing is visible with the FIFA Trainer switched on, and with it off you'll just see a green glow around the triangular selected player icon if you pull it off successfully.
Dynamic Tactics explained
This is basically a tuning to the way pre-match preparation works. Like Quick Subs in the previous FIFA, in FIFA 19 you can now set a few pre-assigned tactics in advance, that you can switch to in the middle of a match using the D-Pad on your controller.
It's great for the real tinkerers out there, and likewise a sligtly more simplified display of your tactical setup will hopefully make it more accessible for those who usually shy away from all the suit-and-tie manager stuff in average games.
According to EA Sports this will also feel more impactful in the game itself, and your team "will execute your approach in an obvious manner" on the pitch. They've apparently been "balanced perfectly so that every approach has an effective counter-tactic" and so identifying what tactic your opponent's using and what one works well against it will become a crucial skill. I like the sound of that in theory but... we'll wait and see how it works out in practice!
FUT Division Rivals and changes to Ultimate Team explained
Ultimate Team remains largely the same again here in FIFA 19, but there's one pretty notable change: Divisions Rivals.
This mode essentially replaces Online Seasons in Ultimate Team. It's not enormously different, but the main thing to note is that you'll now be placed - after some placement matches - in a Division according to your Skill Rating. Essentially, MMR (Match Making Rating - a staple of competitive gaming) is coming to FIFA 19, and once you reach a certain score you'll get bumped up or down a division.
You also now earn rewards for your performance in Divisions Rivals each week, as you get a rank - from 1 to 5 - at the end of each week for how well you've done. It's not clear how that's evaluated, or how many games you'll have to actually play to do well, but if you hit the higher ranks you'll get some pretty decent rewards, like Premium Player Packs.
Finally, you also earn points for your performance in Divisions Rivals, and when you have enough you can choose to spend those on access to that week's Weekend League (the hardcore, 40-game mode played out over just one weekend). The good news is you can now effectively 'bank' those points and spend them when you know you'll have the whole weekend free from responsibilities, like feeding and washing yourself.
Finally, if you're a real FUTHead you can peruse our gallery and table of all currently-announced FIFA 19 FUT Icons and their respective stats, ahead of the game's launch. Enjoy!