UFL Gameplay Revealed, and the New Football Game Signs Up Cristiano Ronaldo

UFL, the football game looking to take on the genre dominance of FIFA, has revealed its first gameplay exclusively with IGN. The game will arrive "when it's ready" in 2022 after 6 years of development, and has made a major statement of intent by signing on superstar Cristiano Ronaldo as its cover star.

The new gameplay trailer (below) shows off its Unreal Engine looks, player likenesses, in-game menus, customisation options, and a confirmation that UFL will arrive this year for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, and PS4. The game is in it "final stage of development", so it hopefully won't be too far away.

During a reveal event, Strikerz revealed that UFL will include ranked and unranked modes, and allow for offline play, with 2v2 and 3v3 matches supported, as well as unspecified "special events". However, the game will be built primarily around a flagship mode, UFL's global online football league. Here, players will create their own team and play within "a fair, division-based matchmaking system." Divisions will be linked by promotions and seasons will take place over a full year – at the end of that year, a single player will be crowned UFL Champion.

Strikerz promises that matchmaking will be built entirely around putting players and teams together that are a match on skill, with no handicaps involved. Progressing high enough up the divisions will get you to UFL's Premier Division, which offers spots in pro tournaments among other rewards. There will be a separate team ranking too, allowing you to play competitively with friends.

A free-to-play game that developer Strikerz says will be "fair-to-play", UFL will allow players to build their own football teams from a pool of around 5,000 real-life players. While exact details haven't been revealed, it appears that the game will allow for paid and earned progression for your created team. Strikerz explained that the more you play, and the more you win, the more opportunities you'll get to strengthen your team – both by securing new players, and upgrading the ones you have.

Shots of in-game menus reveal that the game will include squad, management, and cosmetic customisation for your club. There are also mentions of a "Team Pass" (presumably a battle pass system of some kind), quests, and challenges.

Squad management looks to be familiar to those who have played FIFA's Ultimate Team mode, with teams of individually rated players being put together based on skill and chemistry ratings. Customisation of those teams includes kits, items and stadiums. It's not clear how those customisation options are earned (or paid for) at this point.

Announced at Gamescom 2021, UFL is striving to take on the two titans of the football game genre, FIFA and eFootball – and it's been snapping up club and player licenses to help make that happen.

Aside from Ronaldo, UFL has brought on Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Roberto Firmino, and Oleksandr Zinchenko as ambassadors, while West Ham United, Sporting CP, Shakhtar Donetsk, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen, Beşiktaş, Monaco, Celtic, Rangers and Hashtag FC have become partner clubs. More are set to be announced.

Speaking during a reveal event, Strikerz CEO Eugene Nashilov said that those partners would become a key part of the game: "With UFL, we’re building an ecosystem unique in sports video gaming. We are planning to hold special events featuring our ambassadors and partner clubs — a hybrid of on- and offline activities."

Joe Skrebels is IGN's Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter. Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to newstips@ign.com.

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