Move over, fellas.
Women have joined EA Sports’ popular soccer video game, making their debut this September in FIFA 2016. Twelve women’s national teams, including the United States, will now be included in the game.
“When I started playing soccer I never thought that I’d be on the national team, let alone to be asked and have the opportunity to be in a video game,” said U.S. forward Abby Wambach, who was “imaged” for the game along with some of her teammates.
The announcement comes as the United States and most of the other national teams in the game prepare for the Women’s World Cup in Canada.
In addition to the U.S., the other teams represented are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Sweden. The women’s teams compete exclusively against each other in the game.
Teammates Wambach, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia, earlier this year for a motion capture session. Canadian players also contributed.
EA Sports also sent its mobile head-scanning unit to tournaments and matches worldwide to capture players’ faces and hairstyles.
The idea was to make the players and their movements as authentic to the women’s game as possible.
“I think it’s important for people to understand the women’s version is not going to be a dumbed-down version, it’s going to be legit and the way we play,” Wambach said. “That’s what I’m most excited about.”
Canadian defender Kadeisha Buchanan took to Twitter: “This is super sick. Never would have thought in my life this would happen. Love it.”
David Rutter, vice president and general manager of EA Sports FIFA, said the technology progressed to a point where the game could add women “properly, rather than just pretending.”
“Absolutely the time is right. The game’s fantastic, the graphics are great, the consoles are awesome – and right on our doorstep here in Vancouver we have the Women’s World Cup,” Rutter said. “It would be wrong of us not to do it.”
Wambach said EA Sports’ addition of women signifies another important advance for soccer.
“I think that for me what this shows is not only is the game making progress, but in the bigger picture, women are covering ground and they are making strides in terms of equality,” Wambach said. “That’s so massive.”
EA Sports is a digital interactive entertainment company based in Redwood City, Calif. It is known for its video games, including Madden NFL and NBA Live.