With the 2022 FIFA World Cup only a few weeks away, we finally got details about the content coming to FIFA 23 in a couple of days. In my past coverage of the game, I was certain there would be some FUT-related content and a very basic World Cup Tournament. For the most part, I was correct. Because of that, what we’re getting sounds pretty underwhelming.

A pretty bare-bones tournament

In their four-minute video, most of it is spent highlighting the tournament experience you can have in FIFA 23. Yes, you can play the complete tournament from start to finish. You can even replay past matches replicating the actual line-ups from each day of the tournament. Although it’s limited in actual appeal, it might be fun to replay a match if it turned out to be a memorable one.

There is a custom tournament option, but it sounds like it’s fairly limited in scope. The video states we’ll be able to swap in up to 15 teams that didn’t qualify for the World Cup. Unfortunately, they don’t make any mention if you can create a whole new tournament with different groups. Of the 15 countries available to swap, we only know of four for sure: Romania, Ireland, Ukraine, and Hungary. All four didn’t even reach the playoff round of qualification, so I’m guessing the other 11 teams aren’t that note-worthy. As it stands, I don’t know if I should expect too much more.

If you were hoping for a deep online experience, you will be disappointed at what’s available. Online tournament play is limited to the knockout stage, with no option to play the entire tournament, like the group stage, with friends. You can play single matches, but that’s it. I don’t understand how they didn’t try to implement an online tournament mode, which would have been so cool from an eSports perspective.

Mateo Kovacic of Croatia celebrating a goal

The atmosphere is lacking

When it comes to matching the atmosphere of the FIFA World Cup, I think FIFA 23 will disappoint. Regardless of them saying this would be an “immersive World Cup experience”, it certainly doesn’t sound that way. For starters, they are only including two of the eight stadiums hosting matches. Thankfully, one of them is the site of the final, we don’t know what the other stadium is.

Then there’s the stadium atmosphere. They showcase a few of their partner nations, including Spain, the United States, and Canada, but other than showing fans celebrating outside the stadium and a few stadium shots, it doesn’t seem this goes any further than that. They mentioned updated commentary, but again, we only got a 1-second sound bite that failed to impress. I’m curious if the new dialog is just some generic stuff that works for all participants.

They do mention authentic line-ups, but I’m worried this won’t hold at launch. The World Cup 2018 content update lacked correct squads until after the tournament began, so I suspect that will be the same here. Squads aren’t finalized until Nov 13 with this mode launching on the 9th.

The Belgium National Team walking onto the pitch

Even less FUT content than I thought

For the last two tournaments, Ultimate Team featured a separate World Cup mode. It wasn’t anything remarkable, but it gave FUT something new and different at the tail-end of the FUT calendar. Since this tournament is happening early in the FIFA 23 lifecycle, they decided against a separate mode and just incorporated World Cup content into FUT 23.

The content we are getting feels pretty limited. They showcase some new stadium items you can obtain, including new national team kits. We get some National Team player items, but there is no mention if that also means players from clubs not in FUT are also coming. There was also no direct mention of Man of the Match or Team of the Tournament-type items. I suspect we will get something along those lines, but I’m not sure why they didn’t try to showcase that in some form to build excitement.

The ability to build squads incorporating a confederation in past WC FUT modes was always a lot of fun, even if limited in the grand scope. For the time being, it doesn’t appear we’ll be able to do that. Also, they don’t highlight how country player items will work with FUT 23’s new chemistry system. It feels like the FUT content was not fully baked and only the most dedicated will enjoy what’s available.

Pedri, Vinicius, Van Dijk, and Davies in their national team kits for FIFA 23

Not worth the wait

I close out my FIFA 23 review stating that I would probably wait to play more of the game once the World Cup update hit. As it stands, I don’t feel like the free content update is enough to bring me back. I’m having so much more fun playing other games right now. It’s disappointing that this update feels so bare, and it worries me that the Women’s update next summer will be an even greater disappointment.