Once every four years the FIFA World Cup gathers the world’s best football teams for the world’s biggest football competition. As is its wont, EA releases its game version of the tournament simultaneously, attempting to bribe those who’ve already bought the yearly version to part with more cash.
It’s 2010, England are about to try to become Champions of the World in South Africa and EA’s now touting FIFA World Cup 2010 for an April 30 release. Should you spend?
We asked producer Simon Humber.
Interview by Joe Anderson
VG247: I’m a Scotsman, so you probably know my thoughts, but do you think England have a chance of winning the World Cup?
Simon Humber: No chance.
Also, I’m sure everyone would like to know your thoughts on the England’s tricky left and right back positions?
Simon Humber: Well, Johnson’s back now on the left, and on the right Ashley will be fit, otherwise we are struggling big time.
So. Your game. Can you tell me what was behind the decision to create a new title specifically for the World Cup, rather than just providing a new downloadable package for the occasion?
Simon Humber: As you are limited with what you can do with downloadable content you would not be able to deliver a World Cup experience; it just wouldn’t be possible. Realistically, doing it that way you’d end up with a World Cup of 32 teams playing at Stanford Bridge in the snow. It just wouldn’t be the full experience.
The World Cup is the biggest sports event in the World. Qualification happens from the six confederation cups and 199 teams entered in to the main tournament from qualification, so it just wouldn’t be possible to capture this experience in download form, even if we wanted to.
How long was FIFA World Cup 2010 in development for?
Simon Humber: The game was in development for 12 months.
And how many clubs and players are included in the game?
Simon Humber: There are 199 International teams and around 6,000 players.
Are all the World Cup stadia included? Are there any other World Cup extras available to be unlocked?
Simon Humber: All of the stadia from the World Cup are included and are all unlocked from the start, including the Amsterdam Arena. There are no unlockable items such as kits, although we do have other unlockables which we’re keeping secret for now.
Can you tell me about the main differences between FIFA 10 and FIFA World Cup in terms of gameplay?
Simon Humber: Brand new features include the two button controls, known as the Dad Pad. This allows the game to be more accessible to those who would not normally play, by basically assigning all of the main controls to two buttons. Obviously, this is a lot less daunting for those playing for the first time.
The Dad Pad really is a way of getting people to try the game, especially those who enjoy the World Cup or for those who never played previously because they just found FIFA to be too complex. It’s like riding a bike, really; you start with the stabilizers, and then once you get used to it you take them off.
Another new feature is the penalty kicks. The first addition to these is the Composure Test, which is represented by a bar that increases or decreases in size depending on the situation. Therefore, a penalty being taken in the Final is going to be a lot harder than one taken in the first round. Once you have passed the Composure Test you’ll be required to choose the power of your kick, and at the same time position your shot with the analogue stick.
You can also do tricks, such as sending the keeper the wrong way with a stutter shot. As the goalkeeper you can move on the line in an attempt to put opposing players off their shots.
When playing new FIFA games most people seem not to notice the new features straight away; is that the case here?
Simon Humber: I don’t think anyone will appreciate the changes that have been made until they play for themselves. As you know, we showed you a few videos earlier to explain the differences that are not easily seen, however a lot of the changes are hard to notice immediately.
The best way for anyone to notice the difference between the two games would be to play FIFA World Cup and then go back to FIFA 10. I’m sure you’d notice them straight away if you did this.
Why would you encourage people to buy FIFA World Cup when they already own FIFA 10?
Simon Humber: Because FIFA World Cup is better than FIFA 10.
Each product we release is the best product. We don’t intend to release a product that is worse than the previous one. We have enhanced gameplay greatly. We have added numerous modes, and we have tailored our game around international football generally with two new online modes, the online World Cup and the online league add-on. Even when the World Cup is over this will add a competitive edge that hardcore gamers will love.
We also have the Story of Qualifying, The Story of the Finals and the scenarios which can be played during the World Cup.
Another main difference is that the game looks amazing. It is so much more vibrant, colourful and good-looking.
What about FIFA 11? Are you going to include any of the features mentioned today in the next main game?
Simon Humber: I can’t comment on FIFA 11 unfortunately. You’ll have to wait for more information on that.
We all know about the David Beckham injury situation, so will he be included in the game?
Simon Humber: Beckham is included. He was part of qualifying and therefore will be in the squad as default. When we get to May and we update the squads to include the 23 selected for South Africa, he will be dropped to the reserves. He will still be useable.
Finally are you considering supporting PlayStation Move or Natal in the future?
Simon Humber: Whenever any of these peripherals come out we think about what it could add to the football experience. I think the hard thing in respect of Sony’s device, which has comparisons to the Nintendo Wii device, is that the type of football you can provide for this isn’t particularly authentic. As you can see from our Wii version, the game is a lot arcadeier, with the big gestures and actions. I think there is a different experience there waiting to be uncovered, perhaps, but personally I think it is hard to integrate that into our football game.
What you could do potentially is add mini games with penalties and the like, but other than that I’m not sure what else you could do.