EA Sports’ flagship new game mode is back for another year and looks set to give players the chance to venture outside of the Premier League
The Journey is back for a second year on FIFA 18 as EA Sports’ flagship game mode – and so, as expected, is protagonist Alex Hunter.
Powered by the new Frostbite engine, The Journey introduced a more cinematic experience to FIFA 17 and saw players guide Hunter through his first season of professional football.
EA have stated their desire to replicate the life of a footballer in its entirety through The Journey, meaning there is plenty of off-pitch content in addition to the challenges on it.
From Hunter’s personal relationships to his performances on the pitch and public profile, there has been plenty for EA’s developers to get their teeth into over the past few months.
But what can we expect from The Journey’s second season? Here is a complete guide to what happened last year and everything we know so far about FIFA 18.
WHAT HAPPENED IN SEASON ONE?
The Journey is a story-based game mode that sees you play as young footballing hopeful Alex Hunter, the grandson of a famous player in the 1960s. A recap of ‘season one’ of the story on FIFA 17 is below – if you haven’t played it yet, spoilers follow.
After choosing your favourite Premier League team (note: this is not necessarily the first team you have to join), it begins with a brief introduction to Hunter’s life as a child, playing youth football on Clapham Common, before skipping a few years ahead to exit trials that give prospects released by their clubs a chance to impress scouts from other sides.
Hunter and his friend Gareth Walker have apparently been released and are taking part in these trials. You choose whether you want to be a right winger, left winger, attacking midfielder or striker and are then tasked with meeting certain performance requirements during the practise sessions and matches.
If you do, you will be approached by an agent and can take your pick of the Premier League’s 20 clubs. If not, you’ll have to start again. Regardless of the club you choose, you will have Walker as a team-mate but while bigger clubs offer more money and fame, the smaller sides will give you more playing time.
Some cut-scenes follow as you bed in to your new club before you go on tour to the United States for pre-season. While there, you’ll get the chance to play in two games in Seattle and Vancouver as a substitute, with a list of objectives laid out by your manager.
Out on loan
Regardless of which team you picked and how well you perform in pre-season and on the training ground, Walker will be trusted with more minutes to begin with and your problems will then be compounded by the signing of Harry Kane (or Angel Di Maria, if you’re playing for Tottenham, Chelsea or Arsenal).
That means it’s time to go out on loan to the Championship, and you’ll have your pick of the recently relegated clubs – Norwich City, Aston Villa and Newcastle United. Whichever one you pick, Danny Williams – initially built up as an enemy who taunted you at the exit trials because he already had a contract – will be your new team-mate.
You’ll gradually befriend Williams, though, and get until the January transfer window to work on your skills in training, earn a place in the team, start scoring goals and see your attributes and profile rise. Meanwhile, Walker – once your best friend – is getting far too big for his boots and sowing the seeds of a rivalry.
Back in the big time
Walker’s transformation into the baddie of the story is complete when he makes a January move to whoever your club’s rivals are, affording you the chance to return from your loan and stake a claim for a first-team place.
You’ll get the chance to beat Walker in a Premier League match before the end of the campaign, resulting in him showing some remorse outside the stadium for the way he has behaved – until he finds out you’re now friends with Williams, upon which he storms off again.
Things start moving on for Hunter as you make your name in the Premier League – you’ll move in to a fancy new apartment and, when your Twitter following has grown sufficiently, sign a first sponsorship deal with Adidas.
Depending on your club, you could be taking a run at the league title at this point and you’ll definitely be approaching the FA Cup final, which provides a big finale to the season against your rivals and Walker.
The FA Cup final
Here it is. Walker, predictably, will get all up in your grill in the tunnel before kick-off, provoking varying levels of handbags depending on which response to his taunts you choose.
You’re then tasked with going and sticking it to him on the pitch. If you do, you’ll go and offer Walker a hand and pick him up off the turf from his disappointment. If you don’t, he’ll do the same for you but then bounce off to continue celebrating.
Regardless of the result, you’ll be greeted by your estranged father outside Wembley, who is suddenly taking an interest in the life of his soon-to-be-millionaire son. Hunter brushes him off and walks on.
One final cut-scene wraps things up. With Williams, your mother, grandad and agent all present, Hunter receives a call from his coach and is told to switch on the TV to find out he is set to be called up to the England squad.
Season two of The Journey will kick off from there. Upon completing the FIFA 17 story, you earn Alex Hunter in Ultimate Team form to add to your online lineups.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT SEASON TWO?
EA have, as you’d expect, been saying little about what season two of The Journey will entail while leaving a trail of clues behind them, most notably in a teaser trailer released to build excitement around FIFA 18. Here’s what we’ve made out so far…
A world-record transfer?
The teaser trailer is centred around whether or not Hunter will join a new club ahead of season two, with one newspaper clipping suggesting a “world-record move” is on the cards. The clip sees a number of well-known players and personalities, including Pep Guardiola, Kevin De Bruyne and Dele Alli, offer their thoughts on the young prodigy’s future.
How exactly the transition from FIFA 17 to FIFA 18 will work remains to be seen; it would be pretty cool if the new game can port all your existing data across and pick up where you left off, but that is yet to be confirmed.
Foreign leagues to be playable?
In season one of The Journey you could only play in the Premier League, but that looks set to change for season two. The teaser trailer features newspaper headlines in Gazzetta dello Sport and rumour-mongering on German television, and a mock screenshot of a trending topic on Twitter suggests Hunter “may leave the Premier League”.
We know for sure that Real Madrid are playable, because a glimpse of one particular scene in the trailer features Hunter in a Real Madrid kit on a television in the background.
Beyond that, it looks pretty likely that at least some clubs from the Bundesliga and Serie A will be potential destinations for those wishing to leave England as players from those leagues – Thomas Muller and Leonardo Bonucci – talk Hunter up in the trailer in addition to the aforementioned media references.
It’s also worth noting that the Twitter account that has been created for Hunter is following Ligue 1, too.
Will Alex get a girlfriend?
EA are keeping their lips sealed on this, but the teaser trailer seems to suggest there may be a woman entering Alex’s life in season two…
A customisable Alex Hunter?
This one is confirmed by EA; while Hunter will continue to act as the story’s protagonist for all players of The Journey, he will be much more customisable in season two. That means haircuts, tattoos and probably more meaningful dialogue and personality traits.
We will update this article with new details related to The Journey as they emerge.
WILL RONALDO BE IN SEASON TWO?
Yes, he will. After real-life Ronaldo praises Hunter amid the swirling transfer rumours, we get just the slightest glimpse of the Real Madrid star in virtual form towards the end of the trailer.
That’s not a big surprise; EA were always likely to be desperate to get Ronaldo into The Journey having secured him as this year’s cover star. It looks as if you’ll get a chance to be his team-mate, too – though EA were probably hoping the transfer frenzy would not engulf the new centrepiece of their game!
WHEN CAN I PLAY IT?
FIFA 18 is released worldwide on Friday, September 29, but there are a couple of ways to get your hands on the game earlier than that. Click here for our complete guide to this year’s release and more details where that’s concerned.