It’s no secret that fans often don apparel with their favorite video game characters on it, but when it comes to sports games most fans opt to purchase apparel strictly for real-life athletes. While millions of fans continue to purchase jerseys with the name and number of their favorite players on the pitch, EA Sports is hoping FIFA 18 can start a new trend: players buying authentic jerseys for a fictional sports player.
Last year, the studio introduced fans to Alex Hunter in the then-new Journey story mode, where the talented Englishman rose to the challenges of the Premier League. In FIFA 18, he’ll be making a trek to America for Major League Soccer – where the Los Angeles Galaxy has smartly tied itself into the marketing for the popular sports franchise.
This week, the club officially announced that fans will be able to buy official jerseys for the fictional striker. Those who wish to buy into the Alex Hunter hype can pick from authentic editions of both the home and away jerseys, which sport Alex’s last name and default career number, 29. The jerseys sell at the standard price for an official kit, so gamers thinking they’ll get a discount for picking a fictional player as opposed to the likes of Jonathan dos Santos or Jermaine Jones are sadly mistaken.
Of course, it’s no coincidence that Los Angeles Galaxy and Major League Soccer are suddenly aligning themselves with FIFA 18 – aside of the fact that Alex Hunter will be trekking to an in-game rendition of the Stubhub Arena, the entire league itself is in for a pretty massive update. In the league’s previous iterations within the franchise, only some of the star US and designated players had actual face scans imported into the game, while the rest had more generic looks. EA Sports has now gone through and scanned the majority of player faces, which goes a long way in making the experience much more immersive for fans.
Many had speculated on whether EA Sports would continue the story of Alex Hunter for story-based game mode called The Journey, and the developer confirmed as such several months ago – although those who purchase the Switch edition of the game won’t get access to the popular game mode.
Astoundingly, this isn’t the first time a fictional football player has risen to prominence: a Twitter account for a Football Manager player named Ivica Strok has amassed thousands of followers, and even helped raised funds for a mental health charity. While Alex Hunter hasn’t done the same, it’ll be interesting to see how many jerseys his digital star power can sell.
FIFA 18 releases on September 29 for the Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.
Source: Los Angeles Galaxy