EA decided to remove FIFA's two most provocative goal celebrations, 'Shush' and 'A-OK', in their upcoming release. It comes as a part of an effort to stamp out toxicity.
“We were told by the community that there are toxic behaviours in the game," said Sam Rivera, FIFA 21's lead gameplay producer. "And we wanted to make sure we removed them."
But why these two celebrations? Well, they've both become a bit of a phenomenon. The 'Shush' celebration has been the go-to way to trigger your opponent, and it's probably the most maligned one in the game.
Meanwhile, the 'A-OK' celebration, which was coined and subsequently dropped by Deli Alli, is uncomfortably similar to a symbol used by white supremacists.
The hand sign used in the celebration has also been deemed a “sincere expression of white supremacy” by the Anti-Defamation League. Some people might not agree, but keeping it in the game isn't a good look. EA probably factored that into their decision, and they're not the only ones.
Infinity Ward decided to discreetly remove a similar gesture from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone. They never addressed it directly, but it happened as a part of a broader crackdown on racism in their game.
However, it's not all about the two celebrations. EA has made other notable changes too, ones intended to deal with those pesky time wasters. They've reduced the time that you have to celebrate.
What's more, players can no longer dawdle around for 30 seconds on free-kicks and kickoffs. FIFA 21 will have a 10-second timer on kickoffs, a 12-second timer on throw-ins, and a 15-second timer on corners, goal kicks, and penalties.
Thankfully, players will have a slightly longer 20 second timer time on free kicks, which is understandable since they take some skill and precision to execute correctly.
Generally, players seem to support the change, which makes sense since there have been multiple petitions and threads about it. Jake ‘PlanetToast’ Simpson, a professional FIFA player, also supports EA's decision.
"Removing the ‘shush’ and reducing the time from set-pieces are both small changes but in my opinion, they are both necessary," said PlanetToast. "The community has become increasingly toxic. So taking any steps to counter toxicity is welcome in my eyes.”
Regardless of how you feel about EA's decision to remove the celebrations, everyone can agree that addressing toxicity is a good thing. Hopefully, people will start focusing less on the mind games, and more on football.