Exclusive Interview: FUTWIZ on FIFA 18, Americas, and More

We had the chance to sit down and talk with Dan from FUTWIZ on FIFA 18 and the FIFA Esports scene recently at FIWC London. Here’s some of his thoughts on the upcoming game and the what went down at the grand finals in London.

FUTWIZ on FIFA 18 and Esports

What are your plans to grow FUTWIZ as a member of the Esports community in FIFA?

“We’ve currently got 3 players from the UK and 3 players from Australia as well. We’ll see how the events go, maybe we’ll look to add few new players from each region, particularly the Americas as it’s somewhere where we currently don’t have any representation. It’d be nice to have a core of players who can come together at regionals and practice with each other and help each other succeed.

I think we’re headed in that direction with our UK and Rest of the World teams, so it would be fantastic to grow and see it play out throughout FIFA 18. You know, we had some players who came very close to making this grand final, unfortunately we don’t have any players at this event (FIWC17) because they didn’t qualify after getting to the regional finals. In addition we’re also looking at bringing additional partners on board, we announced GFUEL as our first partner this which is huge for FIFA Esports – these are big brands that are synonymous with Esports getting involved with FIFA. ”

How do you think that icons will change the game?

“I think it will make things more consistent against platforms. At the moment there’s a difference on the Playstation as you don’t have players like Gullit and Viera but having this consistent across all consoles means squads may be a lot more uniform across the board at each tournament. With the icons stories, different ratings and the incredible looking prime versions and it’ll hopefully make it a lot more varied as the year goes on, it’s really exciting!”

Everyone seems to be incredibly optimistic about FIFA as an Esport. With the important changes coming to make it more uniform in FIFA18, EA has taken an important step to creating the conditions which are necessary for a popular Esport.

Cross-platform balancing, team balancing and probably another increase in prize pool are all important. It is logical after the success of this years event that the prize pool will go up again for next year.

As we see more football teams signing players there is also a lot of potential for growth in practically all aspects of the game. It will be exciting to see how much the game grows from now and FIWC18.

Are you planning on signing any NA players after they’ve put in such strong performances at this tournament?

“I don’t think it’s a secret that we’d love to have representation across all regions! For now I think we’ll wait to see what happens in the opening months of FIFA 18 unless something comes up of course! There is a lot of talent in the region, as we’ve seen this week at the FIWC Grand Final – not many people gave the likes of Joey, FilthyP94 and Aman a chance but they all progressed from very difficult groups and really showed what the region is capable of.”

This is the question on many clubs’ minds. It’s important that some of the American clubs get involved with Esports and FILTHYP94 mentioned that he would like his home club Toronto to get involved.

Europeans have reacted much more quickly and France has even started an entire Esports league already. What we’re yet to see are clubs like LA Galaxy and many other NA clubs signing big NA players in FIFA.

Ultimately, it’s down to the clubs to decide what they want to do but it’s a potentially missed opportunity should they not take a look at FIWC17 and think about signing some NA players who put in strong performances.

An example is FILTHYP94, who is currently unsigned. Although after his strong performances in the tournament it wouldn’t be surprising for him to get picked up very soon. Whether it’s by another European club or by an NA club remains to be seen.

filthyp94 pumped

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 16: Philip “FilthyP94” Balkhe of Canada celebrates scoring a goal during day one of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2017 on August 16, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Hoskins – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Is the gap between NA and EU closing?

“I think the main thing that Europe has over other regions is that there’s more of a Esports structure in Europe. I think they [AMERICA] have had less of an opportunity to play in live events in previous years and the majority of the players don’t have the LAN experience that many of the Europeans have.

For the many of the Americas and the Rest of the World players this is their first World finals, and this could well be the first time they’ve played European players on FUT because of the lag. I think for a lot of the NA players this is just the beginning, much like the Rest of the World players this is the first chance they’ve really had to play on the biggest stage and there’s a lot of talent out there that often doesn’t get enough credit.”

Football has never been the biggest sport in NA but this has changed over the recent years. With some of the biggest names in Europe signing for clubs like LA Galaxy after their prime (David Beckham etc), the popularity of the sport has spread.

Football is becoming more of a recognised sport across the region and as such it’s beginning to catch up with Europe. This is also the case with FIFA. Germany, which has traditionally been a strong team in FIFA, showed up strong at FIWC17.

With 3 Germans in the divisional finals and 1 in the grand final, many people said that the Germans were looking exceptional. The North Americans had 3 players in the quarter-finals and one in the divisional semi-finals at this definitely shows that the gap has closed significantly since the last FIWC.

Thanks for time FUTIWZ. You can check them out here.