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FIFA 13 interview: Player Impact, First Touch, more

Wednesday, 8 August 2012 08:43 GMT By Brenna Hillier

FIFA 13 is shaping up to be a bumper release for EA Canada. Dave Cook speaks with the developer to learn more about this year’s significant changes, such as first-touch revised Player Impact and the most aggressive AI yet.

FIFA 13 – A Long Legacy

One of EA Sports’ core franchises, FIFA is popular on both sides of the Atlantic, and is a regular tournament title.

The HD console versions of FIFA 10, 11 and 12 all hold Metacritic averages in the high 80s and low 90s, and were among the best selling games of their release years.

EA Canada has implemented a significant engine overhaul for the latest in the series, including improved AI and simplified controls.

FIFA 13 arrives in the US on September 25, in Australia on September 27, and in Europe on September 28.

VG247: FIFA 13 is out next month; how confident are you that you’ve achieved everything you set out to with this instalment?

Nick Channon, producer, EA Canada: Well, we’re almost coming to the end, finally polishing the game and just ironing out all the bugs and stuff. That’s where we are, and the focus this year has been around lots of gameplay changes yet again in a number of key areas.

We’re also building on what we did last year with the Player Impact engine and the changes we made to defending – These two things have allowed us to do a number of things we hadn’t been able to do before. The defending allowed players to have a lot more time on the ball, but I think at times last year you’d look out to do a pass and your team mates would appear quite static.

So we wanted to make a lot of changes to our attacking AI and to really rework that system. You’ll now get players making a lot more runs, supporting runs in behind, supporting runs from midfield an runs out wide. We’ve reworked the way runs work in terms of – now you have the ability to do curve runs – the ability to go in behind defends, get on the back shoulder of defenders.

That’s really made a big difference to out game, and it’s a lot more fluid with our new tech. The other big changes are – if you look at Player Impact engine – that allowed us to create lots of variety all over the pitch in terms of collisions, and we wanted to bring that to all facets of our game.

VG247: In what ways will Player Impact shake up other areas of gameplay?

This was our piece of tech that helped with collisions, so we’ve done a lot of work this year with our push-pull mechanics and just how the players interact with each other to create a true battle for possession – both on and off the ball, because last year it was only on the ball.

One of the other changes – and what we feel to be one of the biggest changes we’ve ever made in FIFA – is First Touch Control, which is bringing in a system that looks at how players will actually control the ball. What it does Is, it looks at the speed of a pass, where the pass comes from, and I think we always felt that in previous FIFA games, we always had a perfect touch.

This meant that players always got the ball down completely under control, and it felt like that particularly wasn’t realistic. It also didn’t make you think like a footballer in that you get the ball down and then run around an attacker or defender which wasn’t really right.

VG247: How will First Touch make ball control and movement feel more authentic?

It adds more variety to the game, but the key is that it’s not random in any way, and that’s very, very important because we didn’t want to create something that was just randomly happening. Instead it’s re-creating how the ball would react in the real world, and making sure that we capture that within our game. It also creates lots more opportunities, as well as much more separation between the player and the ball, which really changes our game.

VG247: Unpredictability in games can also feel cheap or although the game is cheating you. Just how contextual is the mechanic and were you mindful leaving too much to chance?

Here’s Man U doing its thing.

Yeah, I think that’s something we’ve worked on a lot, and we’re actually just finishing it up just now. We want the ball to feel realistic off the foot, or off the thigh if you’re bringing it down, because it’s actually very unrealistic when the ball just sticks to your player’s foot or body.

So how do we create it so it would work in a way that felt right? If you’re pinging a ball to Messi at a short difference, he still wouldn’t take it perfectly under control. It’s about eradicating what you mentioned – a random element that feels cheap – and this is something we’ve been checking for over the past four or five months.

It really is about creating a system that delivers how a ball would react naturally off the foot. With our game it’s created – firstly – separation which allows defenders to come in with the push-pull mechanics brought in through Player Impact, and secondly, by just getting the ball out of your feet a little bit as an attacker, it gives you a few more opportunities as well to ready the ball at your feet and take a better shot.

VG247: You mentioned that the AI will be more reactive, how does this impact on the difficulty of the game? Will attackers be hounded by more ruthless defenders for example?

It actually keeps things a lot more balanced in the way that, one of the things it does is it gives you more opportunities to score in different ways. For more casual players, at times he game had a tendency to be more predictable and there wasn’t a great variety in the ways you could score.

Whereas now, because you’ve got smarter AI runners coming through, there are more opportunities. You still have to finish and score, but it now feels like there are way more things going on in the game. For our more hardcore users, we obviously have done quite a lot of work on defending as well, to make sure the AI tracks runs by the other teams.

“I think the key is that we’re not complacent and we push that on our team all the time, but ultimately, I don’t think they want to be complacent either. FIFA is a big product and it’s important to us and obviously there is some pressure with that. There’s a big pride in making a 90-rated game, and once you’ve done that you want to keep it there.”

VG247: There are a lot of core changes to the mechanics here, and that’s always refreshing to see in a game like FIFA 13 where there are yearly instalments. That said complacency often comes when you are the best at what you do. How challenging is it now to keep innovating like you do?

I think the key is that we’re not complacent and we push that on our team all the time, but ultimately, I don’t think they want to be complacent either. FIFA is a big product and it’s important to us and obviously there is some pressure with that. There’s a big pride in making a 90-rated game, and once you’ve done that you want to keep it there.

So for us it’s completely the opposite of complacency, because that does not maintain the standards that we set. To do that we need to change out game each year with new features, and by refining it to make it better.

I think we felt coming off of last year with two fundamental changes – Impact Engine and enhanced defending – that actually set the stage to really kick on and create some real gameplay changing features that would make a huge difference in the feel of the game.

We’ve also created a new dribbling system that is very responsive, allowing you to do things that you wouldn’t have been able to in the past and again, this makes the game feel very different as well. So for us, it’s just about maintaining the standards that we’ve set while trying to make the best game that we can every year.

VG247: FIFA 13 also has a range of skill games that teach player new techniques. Is this tailored to newcomers in an attempt to keep the game as accessible to the widest audience possible? How crucial is it to keep the game open to all?

Well we’ve done Skill Games around having the Impact Engine, and our physics allows us to have objects in the world that the ball would react to. So Skill Games was driven by that technology. For us, Skill Games were two-fold: One, we brought in an interactive tutorial to teach players the new defending mechanic and the feedback we got from that was, ‘That was great, but why didn’t you teach me the fundamentals of passing and shooting?’

We thought ‘OK, this is something we need to look at’, so yes, one reason for Skill Games was to build those fundamentals, and to teach everyone all the core parts of our game. But it was also to create Skill Games that more hardcore football fans would find a real challenge as well.

Every discipline has four levels and they get progressively harder and the later ones are made specifically to be very hard. The last one is sort of a skill challenge and you basically get rated on how well you do and how high your scores is, so anyone can finish it, but it’s about getting those high scores.

VG247: Another new feature is Kinect. In what ways does it enhance the experience and why did you decide to add in a referee reaction whenever a player swears?

Don’t swear at the refs.

First of all, we wanted to add Kinect because we think it makes our game better. The core features are around voice activation, substitutions, tactics and basically using your voice to do things so you don’t have to pause the game. This is something we felt really improved our product.

The feature you’re talking about, we felt, was a fun way to use the technology and it also really plays out in career mode with a few things that we haven’t talked about yet, just in terms of how…We just thought it was a fun cool, fun thing and there will be some storylines around it within career mode and some outcomes from that as well.

VG247: FIFA 13 is getting European teams. What is your view on the success of the FIFA 12 Euro DLC, and does this mark the end of the boxed tournament release?

Talking about future things is not something I can really do, but just in terms of the Euro DLC, I think it was something that we’re very proud of. It was a big addition to our game, and it was a model that was really good to try, and I think it’s been successful. For the future we’ll have to see, but we’re very happy with how Euro turned out.

VG247: What are the biggest challenges that you face during your yearly development cycle?

Well I think the biggest challenge is that it’s a year – you don’t have lots of time, and I think what the team manages to do in a year is amazing. We’ve got an incredibly dedicated team, and as I said earlier, we’re very driven to create the best game that we can every year.

It’s a short cycle and within that we like to make as many changes as we can – not just for the sake of it – but to fundamentally change our game, and I think we’ve done a great job of that his year. So that’s probably the biggest challenge we face.

In terms of ideas, we’re very much in the situation where we don’t run out of ideas – we’ve got plenty of them – and we still have many that we’d like to get to. We’ve become very successful aver the last four or five years, long may that continue, and we’d just love to keep that going.

FIFA 13 is due on PC, PlayStation 3, Vita and Xbox 360 in late September, as well as 3DS, Mac, PS2, PSP and Wii. A Wii U version is undated.

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3 Comments

  1. slayernl

    still reading but love all the flux of interview on the site from the past few days!
    Keep up the great work everyone at VG247 awesome.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @1 Thanks man, I’m a fan of interviewing so I like to do as many as possible :)

    My WWE ’13 interview is coming up tomorrow too. Watch this space!

    #2 3 years ago
  3. pleasant_cabbage

    Hope they’ve improved the online aspects this year. Doubt it though, almost always overlooked.

    I only play online and it’s an absolute chore trying to get into a team game.

    “Ok only 30 minutes of free time lets fire er up”

    *waits for almost 5 minutes for a full game to ready up*

    *watches game stall at the select a player stage because some douche goalkeeper/striker didn’t get their favourite position and decides to fart about*

    *sits looking at the player/goalkeeper bit for an age because some douche decides to freeze it for everyone*

    *finally gets into a game and watches players deliberately score own goals*

    *watches own goalkeeper whizz pass own strikers to try and score … in the first minute*

    Need much smaller ready up times, stricter auto-ban logic and generally more ways to stop people from enforcing their idiocy on others. Get to it :)

    #3 3 years ago

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  • HoloLens has “mind-blowing” potential for games, says Microsoft CEO

    Microsoft’s VR wearable HoloLens is going to be great for games, according to CEO Satya Nadella. Speaking to investors, Nadella made Microsoft’s entertainment plans for the device explicit. “It’s also getting clearer how the games people love today will evolve to mind-blowing experiences in the future when designed for the mixed reality that Windows 10 […]

  • EA Q3: Battlefield 5 still on for holiday 2016, PGA Tour 15 spring release confirmed

    EA announced its financial results for its Q3 fiscal year 2015 quarter, ended December 31, 2014, noting total net revenue $1.13 billion in total net revenue compared to $808 million year-over-year. For the nine months ending December 31, total net revenue came in at $3.3 billion. Net revenues were up 39% and net income came […]

  • Players logged 113M single-player hours in Dragon Age: Inquisition, other EA games stats

    Ahead of its Q3 2015 earnings release, Electronic Arts has released a game infographic showing some interesting stats compiled through gameplay from October – December 2014. For FIFA 15, over 3.3 billion goals were made; 73 million knockouts occurred in EA SPORTS UFC; over 10 million families were created in The Sims 4; 113 million […]

  • Hyrule Warriors has shipped 1 million units worldwide

    Koei Tecmo has announced shipments of its Wii U hack and slash action title, Hyrule Warriors, has shipped one million units worldwide. The Omega Force-developed title was released in Japan on August 14 and in the west on September 26. Two packs of DLC for the game are slated for February alongside the version 1.5.0 […]

  • Xbox Games Store discounts Never Alone, Dragon Age: Inquisition, more

    This week’s deals available through the Xbox Games Store will be valid until February 2 with titles such as Battlefield 4, Dragon Age Inquisition, Never Alone, and Titanfall discounted. Discounted titles with an asterisk are for Xbox Live Gold members only. Xbox One Just Dance 2015* – 40% Another World* – 50% Never Alone* – […]

  • Say hello to Mortal Kombat X’s latest character: Reptile

    As promised, one of two character reveals this week for Mortal Kombat X has occurred: it’s the acid-spitting Reptile. Nice! Watch the video above. Mortal Kombat X is slated for release on April 14 and will be available on PC, PS3, PS4,Bxo 360 and Xbox One. Thanks, MrTGJelly (Trent).

  • Twisted fairy tale Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries hits Steam Early Access

    Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries, the successful Kickstarter from GRIN Studios, has launched on Steam Early Access. The PC title is described as a “cinematic fable featuring a vengeful Red Riding Hood,” who armed with an axe sets out on a quest to avenge the murder of her parents. Gameplay features action-platforming, combo-based hack ‘n […]

  • Dead or Alive 5: Last Round delayed to late March on Steam

    Koei Tecmo has announced it is delaying the PC release of Dead or Alive 5: Last Round to March. According to an updated listing on Steam (thanks, AGB), the fighter was delayed “in order to provide you with the best experience possible.” To apologize for the delay, Team Ninja will offer the Halloween 2013 Set, […]

  • Dragon’s Dogma Online will be F2P “no plans” for western release

    Dragon’s Dogma Online will be a free-to-play title for PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. Set for release this year, Dragon’s Dogma Online has a lobby which will support up to 100 players, is open-world, and the executive producer is Hiroyuki Kobayashi. Players can form groups with up to four players or pawns while raids […]

  • Watch this release video for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel DLC Lady Hammerlock

    The Lady Hammerlock DLC for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel releases today on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and coinciding with the release is the launch trailer. In the Lady Hammerlock DLC, players are introduced and will be able to step into the shoes of Sir Hammerlock’s sister, Lady Aurelia the Baroness. The DLC will run […]

  • Free DLC for Tales of Zestiria takes place after main storyline

    Free DLC will be released in Japan for Tales of Zestiria, and while Bandai Namco has yet to state whether it will be released westward with the core game this summer, it’s an interesting slice of content. According to information from Jump posted by Siliconera, the DLC Alisha After Episode: What Is Reflected In The […]

  • This video of a Paris flat looks the real deal, but it’s all Unreal Engine 4

    I’m not entirely sure when, or how, this fella managed to sneak into my secret flat in Paris and film it, but since it’s out there I may as well share it with you. All joking aside, this video is rather amazing. It provides a virtual tour of a flat located in Paris; however, it’s […]

  • The Witness passes key development milestone, still no release date

    The Witness has seemingly come back from the dead. Creator Jonathan Blow has posted an update on the game’s development. Surely you still remember The Witness? Jonathan Blow’s follow-up to Braid, which was shown during the PlayStation 4 reveal event all the way back in February 2013? Well, today we got our first development update […]

  • You can now take selfies in World of Warcraft

    The latest patch to World of Warcraft has added a S.E.L.F.I.E. Camera to the game. And it does exactly what it sounds like it does. Patch 6.1 is currently being deployed to World of Warcraft’s Public Test Realms (PTR). There’s a massive list of patch notes, but the most pressing one, other than Twitter integration, […]

  • Hellblade: early gameplay and prototype footage revealed

    The latest developer diary for Hellblade is here with a look at some early gameplay prototypes and a peek at some polished areas. Hellblade developer Ninja Theory has revealed even more details of how game development works behind the scenes. The eighth part of this ongoing diary shows early gameplay footage along with some intriguing […]

  • Resident Evil Revelations 2: Raid mode offline-only on launch, more details

    Capcom has revealed a tonne of new details about Raid mode in Resident Evil: Revelations 2. Capcom has confirmed that Raid mode will launch with the first episode of Revelations 2 in February. You will be playing it offline only though, either solo or in split-screen co-op. As for the online portion, Capcom promised it […]

  • Watch the first 20 minutes of Life is Strange

    The first 20 minutes of Life is Strange have been posted online for anyone to watch. The opening 20 minutes of Life is Strange set the stage for what kind of game it is. The kind that you’ll probably like if you’re a fan of Telltale games. The video is courtesy of consolewarsofficial and you […]

  • Don’t blame Ubisoft for cancelling keys – blame the culture of overpriced games

    Publishers need to drop PC games prices in order to stem the flourishing grey market, says Matt Martin. “How are you going to sell me Far Cry 4 for £45 when I can pick up Far Cry, Far Cry 2, Far Cry 3, Far Cry: Blood Dragon and extra DLC for just £30?” Some players […]

  • Dragon’s Dogma Online is real, full reveal in this week’s Famitsu

    What’s been heavily-rumoured to be the next instalment in the Dragon’s Dogma franchise, Dragon’s Dogma Online, will be fully revealed this week. According to a recent post by Famitsu, the magazine’s upcoming weekly issue, which releases January 29, will contain a massive feature on Dragon’s Dogma Online. The magazine will dedicate 18 pages to all […]

  • Valve responds to recent Counter-Strike match-fixing scandal, bans offenders

    Valve has investigated the recent case of match-fixing involving two teams in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive professional scene and decided to ban those involved from future tournaments. Recent allegations involving match-fixing between iBUYPOWER and NetcodeGuides.com – two of the professional teams that played in Cevo Season 5 – came to light. Valve has took notice […]

  • Having issues playing Grim Fandango Remastered on PS4? Sony is offering help

    Sony has offered a few steps to help those who are having issues with their pre-loaded PS4 installs of Grim Fandango Remastered. A few reports have started to appear online from users who’ve pre-ordered and pre-loaded Grim Fandango Remastered on their PS4 consoles. Sony has since posted a support thread on the official forums, to […]

  • Get Dragon Age: Inquisition for $36 and more in EA’s Xbox One sale

    Many EA digital games are being offered at considerable discounts on Xbox One right now. The latest EA sale is pretty good, offering sales on many AAA titles. It’s only available on Xbox One, with extra savings for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. The list below covers prices for Gold Subscribers. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare […]

  • Grim Fandango Remastered reviews round-up, all the scores

    Grim Fandango Remastered is a classic game brought into the new generation, so it’s time for everyone to know how great it is. The reviews for Grim Fandango Remastered have started popping up and as per usual, we’ve collected a few of them below. Grim Fandango Remastered is, as the name suggests, a remastered version […]

  • The Witcher 3: latest build is 1080p on PS4, 900p on Xbox One

    The recent preview build of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was running at full-HD resolution on PlayStation 4 and 900p on Xbox One. German website Gamestar attended the recent preview event for The Witcher 3 and examined the three versions that were on offer, PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Here’s the quote, courtesy of Google […]

  • Joystiq is likely to close – rumour

    AOL is rumoured to be closing its video game site, Joystiq. Re/code is reporting that AOL is likely to close its video game site Joystiq soon, according to “various sources.” The move is part of a company-wide restructuring that will affect Joystiq and other “under-performing content properties.” Joystiq is one of the most renowned sites […]

  • The Last of Us movie will be “pretty faithful” to the game

    The Last of Us will bring many of the same elements to the big screen as the small one, according to writer Neil Druckmann. Although The Last of Us will have to be adapted in various ways to make the transition from lengthy interactive adventure to cinema-friendly story arc, Druckmann is hoping to keep the […]

  • Microsoft is fixing Xbox One’s slow controllers

    Xbox One control pads have many charms, but quick start up is not one of them. The Xbox One controller currently takes up to five seconds to connect to your console after switching on, which is an eternity for someone with an attention span as short as mine. Luckily, Microsoft is working to fix this […]

  • Lucius 2 releases on Friday the 13th (of course)

    Lucius 2 has a really fitting release date. Lucius developer Shiver Games has produced a follow-up to the dark tale of an evil child, and it’s coming your way on February 13 – which just so happens to be a Friday. Lucius 2: The Prophecy will set you back $20, and release through Steam. As […]

  • Saints Row 4: Re-Elected PS4 recalled in Australia, incorrect content to blame

    Saints Row 4: Re-Elected has been recalled in Australia due to a mysterious manufacturing issue. An Australian PR representative said that the retail PS4 version of Saints Row 4: Re-Elected has “a serious manufacturing issue” and has been recalled nation-wide. Here’s what we were told (emphasis mine): “A manufacturing issue has caused an incorrectly classified […]

  • The Whispered World follow up now coming to PS4, too

    Deadalic’s gorgeous-looking adventure Silence has been confirmed for a fourth platform. Originally announced for Mac and PC with an Xbox One port one revealed at a later date, Silence is now on its way to PS4 as well. All versions are due later this year. Silence is Deadalic’s first multi-platform release and in my mind […]

  • Mythbusters to tackle DOOM this weekend

    DOOM is the subject of the next episode of Mythbusters. Having been airing for over ten years now, Mythbusters has pretty much run out of myths to bust, which is why we find ourselves in 2015 with an episode dedicating to answering the question “could DOOM be real?” Bethesda has rveealed that the January 31 […]

  • Destiny hosting a Bungie Bounty – go go go

    Destiny players have a chance to take down Bungie employees in return for one of the most exclusive vanity items in the game. Destiny’s Bungie Bounties usually feature guests from the community, and today’s event is no exception. Joining Bungie community manager David “Deej” Dague are several members of Bungie.org, the developer’s most staunch fan […]

  • Elite: Dangerous developer issues lay-offs

    Elite: Dangerous team Frontier Developments has had to let staff go. At least 15 staff have been laid off from the developer’s Halifax studio. According to an investor update, this decision will allow Frontier to focus its efforts at its primary studio in Cambridge, England. “With its business emphasis now on two major self-published franchises, […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition tavern songs free for a limited time

    Dragon Age: Inquisition tunes can be yours for the bargain price of zero cashmoney. The tavern songs from Dragon Age: Inquisition will be made available for purchase from various digital distributors sometime after February 9. Until then, though, you can have them for free – including their sheet music. To take advantage of this generous […]

  • Even the Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 teaser is frightening

    Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 is probably going to be just as tense and uncomfortable as its two prequels. This teaser for Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 is the first we’ve heard of the project since creator Scott Cawthon confirmed it is in the works. The third entry in the series is now up on […]

  • 6.6 million Xbox consoles shipped last quarter

    Xbox One and Xbox 360 console sales were strong last quarter, although Microsoft isn’t talking hard numbers yet. Microsoft shipped 6.6 million Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles to retailers in the quarter ending December 31, the company revealed in its latest financial briefing. This figure wasn’t broken down by platform, and Microsoft didn’t supply […]

  • Homeworld Remastered Collection: five minutes of b-roll footage

    We may not have proper, uncut gameplay footage of the Homeworld Remastered Collection, but we have the next best thing. Homeworld Remastered Collection was confirmed to release on February 25. Gearbox has only showed a trailer, but no extended gameplay demos. There was however a b-roll video showing at PAX South, and we’ve embedded it […]

  • Grim Fandango Remastered looks sharp in these new screens

    Grim Fandango will come back from the dead with the Remastered edition, and it’s looking great. Grim Fandango Remastered has a few new screens available to prove that even old games can look stunning with the right remaster, especially ones with an already well-defined art style. Have a look at them below and get excited. […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: beta weapons, maps, modes, progression system and more

    The Battlefield Hardline beta will include a third new map and a new game mode, on top of what’s already announced. You may remember last week DICE started a community mission for all Battlefield 4 players. The goal was to reach 2 billion points playing Rush mode. That goal has been achieved and as a […]

  • Dying Light launch trailer is one last display of its forte

    The launch trailer for Dying Light is here one day ahead of the game’s release. Techland and Warner Bros. have put out the launch trailer for Dying Light. The trailer is a short reminder of the game’s main selling points: free-running, weapon crafting, drop-kicking zombies. Reviews should start to come out tomorrow for the game […]

  • Watch The Witcher 3 developers stream new gameplay on Twitch

    The Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt RED is hosting a Twitch live-stream to show off brand new gameplay footage and answer some fan questions. The live-stream will start at 7:00pm GMT, 2:00pm EST, 11:00am PST. It will show off plenty of new footage, some of which was shown only to the press so far. The […]

  • Finally, some screens for Final Fantasy 15

    Patience is a virtue and we finally have our hands on a few gameplay screens from Final Fantasy 15. There’s not a lot of them, but they show the impressive lighting and they’re all gameplay as far as I can tell, so take a look. There is no release date for Final Fantasy 15 as […]