After an absence of eight years, Australian football legend Harry Kewell has returned to the FIFA franchise after being granted a rare “heroes” card in the new FIFA 23 game.
Kewell has been dubbed “The Wizard of Aus” as part of the FUT23 card release. It is a particularly unique aspect of FIFA 23 as the cards are being released as part of a collaboration between EA sports and US company Marvel Entertainment.
Paying tribute to football legends
The first set of FUT23 cards dropped with legends such as South Korean and ex-Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung and ex-Manchester City star Yaya Touré. The latest release of FUT23 cards sees Kewell join his former Liverpool teammates Peter Crouch and Dutch winger Dirk Kuyt alongside French stars Jean-Pierre Papin and Sidney Govou.
Kewell played in the English Premier League for a total of 12 years, starting with Leeds United in 1996 before moving to Liverpool in a £5 million deal in 2003. At Liverpool, he enjoyed the most successful stage of his career, winning the UEFA Champions League in 2005 and the FA Cup in 2006.
Kewell represented the Socceroos on 58 occasions, scoring 17 goals. He featured at the World Cup in 1998, 2006 and 2010. The 43-year-old is now first-team coach at Scottish Premiership club Celtic.
The latest FIFA innovations
The upcoming FIFA game is highly anticipated amongst football fans with a series of new innovations including Hypermotion 2 technology which promises players ultra-realistic gameplay. EA SPORTS has also employed motion capture data from two actual 90-minute games and five training drills in order to create high-quality animations which are true to life. Other innovations include a new dribbling system powered by machine learning and new acceleration mechanics to achieve variety in the movement of players and gameplay, so players can move with explosive acceleration or change pace at a controlled level.
The Career Mode will include new features, including the chance to take control of English club Chelsea F.C. Women, along with innovations such as player personality, playable highlights and transfer analysis. Another feature will be free updates which will enable players to take part in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
The most successful sports game franchise
The FIFA franchise launched in 1993 and over a period of almost 30 years the video game has achieved the accolade of being the sports game franchise with the highest sales globally. By 2021, the game had recorded over 325 million sales. FIFA 23 will be the final game release as part of the EA Sports partnership with FIFA, the international governing body of football, with the US game developer deciding to go it alone with future games released as EA Sports FC. However, fans of the game franchise should not be concerned, real players will continue to be an integral part of any future games with licencing agreements in place to ensure that players, tournaments and leagues around the world will remain in place.
The game is also one of the most popular titles in esports, with global leagues such as the FIFAe World Cup and the FIFAe Nations Cup proving extremely popular amongst fans of the game. One of the most famous players is 20-year-old Englishman Donovan “Tekkz” Hunt, who has been dubbed the Messi of FIFAe. With live streams of FIFA esports tournaments proving to be so popular, it is no surprise to see a number of bookmakers in Australia and beyond offering odds on FIFA matches along with a wide range of other esports tournaments such as CS:GO. It is quite something to see esports listed among other popular betting markets like horse racing or rugby.
FIFA 23 is one of the most eagerly awaited game releases in the franchise, with a series of innovations and new features adding an extra element of realistic gameplay. The release of FUT23 cards gives fans the opportunity to pay tribute to past legends and add them to their own team.