G.W. Graham grad Chase Gray has made a major contribution to the most popular sports video game in the world.
This year’s edition of the FIFA soccer game (FIFA 23) was released Friday (Sept. 30), coinciding with Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The game includes Indigenous art as unlockable content. When players use FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) mode, they will be able to outfit their squad in a road kit designed by Gray, who also designed the FUT goalkeeper kit.
Gray, who graduated from GWG in 2012 and is a member of the Musqueam Indian Band, was one of 10 artists brought in by Vancouver-based EA Sports.
FIFA 2022 sold nearly 2.5 million copies worldwide, so Gray’s artwork is going to be seen by a lot of people.
”They (EA) asked Musqueam artists to submit artwork, and then decided to include everybody who submitted, to show the diversity of Musqueam,” Gray said. “I’m excited that 2.5 million people have the opportunity to learn about Musqueam.”
The full list of Musqueam artists contributing to FIFA 23 includes Gray, Cannell, Deanna Point, Krista Point, Aleen Sparrow, Brent Sparrow, Debra Sparrow, Kamryn Sparrow, Roby Sparrow and Cole Sparrow-Crawford.
The kit Gray created is green with yellow trim. The jersey includes the word ‘xʷməθkʷəy̓əm’ across the chest, which means Musqueam (People of the məθkʷəy̓ plant) in the traditional hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language.
Above the word on the left is the Musqueam Indian Band crest and below is a frog done in the Coast Salish style.
“On the reserve there’s tons of frogs and I love the time of the year when they start to sing,” Gray said. “You can tell winter is over when they start to sing.”
Kelly Cannell designed the home kit, and FIFA players will also have access to the Volta Football pitch, patterned after the real life Musqueam Sports Field and packed with Indigenous images like carvings, weavings and a longhouse.
“Through this special collaboration with EA Sports, Musqueam is showcasing not only our unique and distinctive culture, but our thriving soccer community and love of the sport – something we share with many First Nations in this region,” said Musqueam Indian Band Chief Wayne Sparrow in an EA Sports news release. “When Indigenous athletes and gamers see an Indigenous field and kits in FIFA 23, we hope it brings immense joy and pride, while sparking countless new ideas for collaborations between First Nations and the sports and video game industries.”
“We are honoured to work with xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) artists, athletes, and community leaders to help share their deep and meaningful history and culture with the millions of FIFA fans across the world,” added Nicholas Lammie, Director of Brand Marketing at EA SPORTS FIFA. “This collaboration was so important to our EA Vancouver Studio Team and we’re incredibly excited to bring it to life in FIFA Ultimate Team and Volta Football.”
– FIFA 23 isn’t the only big project Gray has worked on lately.
When the Vancouver Canucks stepped onto the ice for warmup before a Thursday night (Sept. 29) preseason game against Seattle, they wore orange jerseys with a logo Gray designed. The National Hockey League team has been selling limited edition t-shirts with the logo, with proceeds going to the Orange Shirt Society.
Each shirt costs $30 and they’re available online at vanbase.ca/collections/orange-shirt-day-2022