Soon, you will be able to watch pop star Dua Lipa go toe-to-toe with the top footballers; at least virtually. According to a datamine of the FIFA 21’s latest update, Dua Lipa will be added to the video game as a playable character.
In a bid to freshen up their long-running series and increase crossover appeal, developers EA Sports added two-time world champion boxer Anthony Joshua and recording artist DJ Diplo when FIFA 21 released last month. And they seem to have double-downed on bringing non-footballing names to the game.
Noted dataminer Blade Johnson went through FIFA 21’s code and uploaded the PDFs confirming the appearance of Dua Lipa, as well as numerous other celebrities, as playable characters. ‘Love Is Religion’ — a track from the Grammy-winner’s ‘Club Future Nostalgia’ — is already featured on the game’s soundtrack.
— Dua Lipa News (@dlipanews) November 12, 2020
The 25-year-old performed at the opening ceremony of UEFA Champions League final two years ago and is also a favourite of England and Tottenham striker Harry Kane. After scoring a hat-trick against Panama at the 2018 World Cup, Kane was asked to pick a song to play on a Brazilian programme. His response: “I’ll go ‘One Kiss’ by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa.” 📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram
Other notable additions?
The other noteworthy addition to the game is David Beckham, who will be the cover athlete for the first time since FIFA 98.
While Beckham’s return was first revealed in the aforementioned datamine, the former Manchester United star confirmed it on his Instagram.
“23 years later…so proud to be back on the cover…” he wrote.
According to reports, three different likenesses of Beckham will be added to the game: rated 87, 89 and 92, charting the 45-year-old’s long career.
Who all are getting to the game?
Lipa and Beckham will be joined by Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton. In real life, the 35-year-old played association football along with school schoolmate and eventual England international Ashley Young.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo will be the second F1 driver to be added to the game, while NBA will be represented by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid. Other incoming celebrities include DJ Snake, surfer Gabriel Medina, footvolley champ Natalia Guitler, YouTuber Fred and the NFL Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson.
Where do the celebrities ‘play’?
It’s not clear whether playable celebrities will be added to the game’s Volta mode — a 5v5, futsal inspired option — or regular career mode and FIFA Ultimate Team. Joshua and Diplo, along with legends such as Eric Cantona and Kaka, were playable exclusively in Volta.
But several YouTubers who received an advance update have uploaded videos where Dua Lipa can be seen playing as a striker for teams such as Liverpool and Real Madrid along with the real-world squads.
How has the FIFA community reacted?
Largely with indifference, as it’s not a make-or-break update for regular players. However, some fans have criticised developers EA Sports’ decision to give Dua Lipa and other celebs detailed facescans and photorealistic likenesses, while younger footballers like Manchester United upstart Mason Greenwood sport inaccurate, seemingly-random faces. Greenwood scored 17 goals for Manchester United last season as the team finished third in the Premier League.
Dua Lipa facescanned into Fifa 21 while Mason Greenwood still looks like this…
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) November 12, 2020
Others have compared Lipa’s addition to the lack of women footballers in the game. While EA introduced playable women footballers in FIFA 16, there haven’t been a lot of updates in the five years since. Only marquee names have received facescans, and one can only play international matches and women’s club football has been absent.
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