History, heritage and culture of BC Musqueam presented in FIFA 23

The hit EA Sports FIFA video game has literally gone back to its roots with its reboot.

Developed primarily at EA Vancouver, FIFA 23 honors the history, heritage and culture of the Musqueam Indian Band by incorporating artwork and assets from Musqueam artists into its new edition.

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Vancouver lies on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

There are more than 1,300 members of the Musqueam Band. About half live in a small portion of its ancestral territory known as Musqueam Reserve, just south of Marine Drive in Vancouver.

Many others live throughout the Musqueam Territory, now called Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Delta, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, and New Westminster.

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Musqueam boss Wayne Sparrow was blown away when he saw the results of the collaboration with EA Sports.

“Great. I’m really proud of our artists, our community,” he said in an interview. “To be presented like this is just incredible. For me it’s a big step towards reconciliation.”

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The work of 10 local artists is featured in the game

“When I watched it, I got a little emotional,” Sparrow said.

“All the hard work that our ancestors did in the past to be recognized in our area, some of the struggles they fought with the boarding schools, the rights of the indigenous people that are included in the UNDRIP[UnitedNationsDeclarationontherightsofindigenouspeoples)andsoon

“The only thing that upsets me is that I wish those who fought hard for us, who left us, aren’t here to see what their hard work has become. Because it’s not necessarily today’s leadership. It’s all those previous leaders who laid that foundation for us.”

FIFA 23 players have the opportunity to play on a fictionalized representation of the real-life Musqueam football field.

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A legacy of the 2010 Olympics, the band’s sports facility, completed in 2015, consists of two large soccer fields and a clubhouse.

Musqueam Field is included in the game as a playable field in Volta Football mode, a variant of street football.

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Players can unlock Volta Football attire and FIFA Ultimate Team jerseys designed by Musqueam artists, along with FUT Stadium customization items featuring a variety of Musqueam themes and patterns.

While EA Sports’ Madden NFL franchise has worked with Indigenous artists in the past, the developer says this is a first-of-its-kind collaboration for the FIFA title, “as we strive to better connect with local communities where our studios are located and our games are produced.”

“We are honored to work with Musqueam artists, athletes and leaders to help share their deep and meaningful history and culture with the millions of FIFA fans around the world,” said Nicholas Lammie, Director of Brand Marketing at EA Sports FIFA made a statement.

The artwork was reviewed by a committee of representatives nominated by the Musqueam Indian Band, EA Sports and Monday Creative, a Vancouver-based marketing firm.

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The collaboration also includes EA Sports helping Musqueam in its own field by developing jerseys for Musqueam football players that bring the in-game outfits to life. It also provides upgrades to the Musqueam field, including improved storage and equipment management facilities, new gates and nets, and bespoke tents to protect against inclement weather.

Musqueam football teams regularly play in tournaments across BC

“It’s a big sport here in Musqueam,” Sparrow said.

Musqueam Artists featured in the game include Kelly Cannell, Chase Gray, Deanna Point, Krista Point, Aleen Sparrow, Brent Sparrow, Debra Sparrow, Kamryn Sparrow, Robyn Sparrow, and Cole Sparrow-Crawford.

FIFA 23, also worked on by EA Romania, will be available worldwide on September 30th for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X 5/8S, PC, Stadia, PS4 and Xbox One. FIFA 23 Ultimate Edition Early Access begins September 27th.

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This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 24, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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