EA has launched a fresh bid to tackle toxicity in its FIFA games - and in doing so has pulled one its most annoying celebrations for FIFA 21.
EA Sports has confirmed it has pulled the Shush and A-OK celebrations from the game - and warned more changes are to come.
Celebrations are one of the chief ways of annoying your opponent in FIFA. Your opponent is forced to watch them - and they can be pretty grating after rage-inducing goals are scored. The Shush celebration in particular is infamous within the community, as it is done while the scoring player is running. Players sometimes use running celebrations to extend the celebration time as they jog up and down the pitch - a frustrating time-wasting tactic.
Here's how the Shush celebration looks in FIFA 20:
As for the A-OK celebration, this is in fact Dele Alli's famous "challenge" celebration, which went viral in 2018 after the Spurs midfielder did it after scoring a goal. It looks a bit like an OK sign with the "o" held over the player's eye (it went viral because people couldn't work out how to do it). Here's how it looks in FIFA 20:
This challenge celebration will go down as a one-season wonder, as it was added for FIFA 20 and won't be in FIFA 21. It's not known within the FIFA community for being particularly toxic, so I'm not sure exactly why this one was pulled. I asked EA for comment ahead of this story's publication but it hasn't offered an explanation.
It's worth noting, however, that in July Infinity Ward quietly removed the OK gesture from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone, likely due to its status as a hate symbol.
Other infamous FIFA celebrations not mentioned by EA Sports as being pulled from the game include the dab (pretty outdated at this point), and the Cristiano Ronaldo calm down celebration, which is the last thing you want to see when you've just conceded a last minute winner. I hate the waddle, too. I really hate the waddle. EA said it's planning to make more changes "in this area", so perhaps more celebrations will be binned before FIFA 21 comes out.
Meanwhile, EA has removed the walk back cinematic after a goal in online matches. This is welcome, as it's boring to watch and doesn't serve any purpose. EA said it's also reduced the length of goal celebrations.
Outside of celebrations, EA has tweaked the game to reduce other toxic time-wasting behaviour. In FIFA 20, players are able to time-waste for up to 30 seconds during set-pieces, such as kick-off and throw-ins.
For FIFA 21, EA has reduced the amount of time you can wait for various set-pieces. For example, kick-off is now 10 seconds. A throw-in is now 12 seconds. A goal kick is 15 seconds, as is a corner kick and a penalty kick. A free kick gives you 20 seconds.
FIFA 21 will also auto-skip some animation sequences when the ball goes out of play in online matches. For example, when a player goes to fetch the ball for a throw-in, or when the keeper slowly walks to put the ball down for a goal kick.
Associated with this, FIFA 21 has reworked logic to improve detection of when the half and end of a match should finish.
In a recent virtual preview with press attended by Eurogamer, lead gameplay producer Sam Rivera said these toxicity changes should help improve the flow of the average FIFA match played online.
"We were told by the community that there's toxic behaviours in the game and we wanted to make sure we removed them," Rivera said. "So we removed some of the celebrations that people thought were not the best idea to have in the game.
"The flow is shorter, which is to try to keep you playing most of the time instead of just waiting. All together the intention there is just to keep you playing instead of doing other things that may not be necessary in the game."
While celebrations are being removed for FIFA 21 to combat toxicity, the game is getting a few new ones - and I'm pretty sure one of these will be considered the ultimate troll: Kylian Mbappé's cry-baby celebration.
Thoughts on Kylian Mbappé's latest celebration? ?? pic.twitter.com/rv6KpDjYJz— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 28, 2019