FIFA 21 drops two goal celebrations to curb player toxicity

FIFA 21 will lose two goal celebration animations — the “Shush” and “A-OK” movies — in a bid to curb toxic player behavior, EA Sports developers told press at a July preview event.

Eurogamer reported on Wednesday that the two celebrations are gone, and more may be pulled before FIFA 21 launches in October. In online matches, players who have given up a goal are forced to watch the celebration; the “Shush” celebration was aggravating as it was performed with a running player, which goal-scorers would use to prolong the moment and antagonize their opponents.

The “A-OK” celebration was introduced in FIFA 20 and is a straight lift of Dele Alli’s “Challenge” post-goal pose, which went viral after the Spurs midfielder scored in a 2018 victory over Newcastle. That involves raising an OK gesture to one’s eye and peering through the O.

But a 4Chan troll campaign begun in 2017 has succeeded at getting the common gesture to be used and recognized as a racist hand signal, and to get others in trouble for using it inoffensively. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s developers pulled an OK gesture earlier this summer for the same reason.

Sam Rivera, FIFA 21’s lead gameplay developer, told Eurogamer the EA Vancouver team was responding to community feedback about the celebrations. “We were told by the community that there’s toxic behaviors in the game and we wanted to make sure we removed them,” he said.

FIFA 21 will also implement other measures to curb toxic time-wasting behavior. Players up to FIFA 20 could waste as many as 30 seconds before a throw-in; now they have 12 seconds to get the ball in play. Kick-offs are down from 30 seconds to 10, and goal, corner, and penalty kicks have 15 seconds to get moving. Free kicks allow 20 seconds to get set up.

FIFA 21 launches Oct. 9 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One, with versions for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X to follow.

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