In light of the controversy between Russia and Ukraine, the developers at Electronic Arts have decided against the inclusion of Russian Clubs and teams into FIFA 23. EA states that they call for peace and an end to the invasion of Ukraine, and they stand with them during this trying time.
This is not the first time that EA has chosen to remove Russia's football teams and clubs from one of their games. In March of 2022, they removed all Russian organizations from both FIFA 22 and NHL 22, as a reminder that they will not tolerate Russia's current attack on the Ukrainian people. They went as far as to remove both games and virtual currency sales from Russia. In a statement issued to Eurogamer, EA said
"EA Sports stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and like so many voices across the world of football, calls for peace and an end to the invasion of Ukraine. In line with our partners at FIFA and UEFA, EA Sports will not include the Russian national team or Russian clubs in FIFA 23."
EA is far from being the only group of developers that have decided to take a stand against Russia's actions against Ukraine. Microsoft, SCS Software, and Games Workshop have all decided to halt their services and sales within the country until the violence against Ukraine ends. Developers within Ukraine have also shared their stories over the past few months, such as Frogwares.
Russia has attempted to change the situation by announcing that they want to make their own game engine in order to avoid problems like this in the future. Russian developers began talking about this game engine as they realized that their access to Unity and Unreal Engine may be revoked due to the tensions caused between Russia and several countries, including the U.S. This goal of creating a new gaming engine may never see the light of day for several reasons, mostly due to the current state of the Russian political environment and them not having any form of outside support they may need to see this through to the end.
It has also been stated that this will be the final FIFA to be published by EA, as they are ending their current partnership with FIFA after 30 long years. The developers have chosen to do a full refresh, and rebrand as EA Sports FC. EA spoke about this choice, by stating,
"Alongside our 300+ license partners across the sport, we're ready to take global football experiences to new heights, on behalf of all football fans around the world."
Though this isn't the first time a gaming company has decided to cut Russian players, clubs, and features out of their games, the impact this could have may help give some relief to Ukraine in the long run.