When the uncanny valley attacks no one is safe. After battling for years to get equal representation in video game FIFA, the National Women’s Soccer League was finally added recently, and it's not a good look. Pro women's football players discovered their digital doubles are anything but realistic.
Years ago I visited EA's Canadian studio that makes the FIFA games and discovered the team had one artist whose only job was to track and model David Beckham's changing hairstyles, if only Janine Beckie, Caprice Dydasco and Sydney Leroux were so lucky. The character models for the women's pro footballers featured in the game are hysterically horrible, despite FIFA on PS5 being visually fantastic.
Don't take my word for it, check out the reactions of the actual footballers in question, with Angel City FC player Sydney Leroux writing on Twitter "You are going to scare my children" while Portland Thorn's Janine Beckie wrote sarcastically, "Found my long lost twin! Fraternal obviously."
You are going to scare my children. pic.twitter.com/LkxwQg37EFMarch 22, 2023
The character women's footballer models in FIFA 23 don't simply look terrible but there appears to have been very little effort put into ensuring they resemble their real life counterparts. This steps over from being merely funny and into being dangerously offensive, as some characters seem to have changed completely.
Caprice Dydasco, who plays for Houston Dash, picked up on how her in-game model has lighter skin than she does. Writing on Twitter Dydasco commented, "I’m grateful EA Sports is finally including the NWSL but this does not represent me”. As reported in a great feature for The Atlantic, Dydasco identifies as mostly Asian. Oh dear, EA.
I’m grateful EA Sports is finally including the NWSL but this does not represent me. @EASPORTSFIFA pic.twitter.com/SgrFkoCYy1March 22, 2023
Angel City FC player Sydney Leroux saw the funnier side to the debacle and took to Twitter with team mates to seek out and critique their likenesses. One example was of San Diego Wave keeper Kailen Sheridan, writing on Twitter: "I know you expect women to just be thankful and grateful that you’ve given us a little sliver of publicity but please stop wasting our time. Some of us are bald."
The player also asked, "Can someone please tell me why Jess Fishlock has a 5 o'clock shadow?" after finding a comically bad image of the professional footballer who plays for OL Reign.
This isn't the first time a video game has clashed with reality, I remember when the people in Gran Turismo 7 completely and utterly terrified everybody. Maybe you can do better? Why not take a look at the new features of Unity or read our Unreal Engine 5 review, pick up a drawing tablet and begin creating your own game. It can't be any worse than EA's latest FIFA 23 update.