EA's released a Q&A explaining FIFA 09 Clubs, the game's new online mode. Basically:
FIFA 09 Clubs is a mode designed for PLAYSTATION 3 and XBOX 360 that enables gamers to form or join user-controlled ‘clubs’. These clubs are ranked within divisions based on total points. Clubs will be relegated and promoted within divisions based on their points. If a club has more points than the second best club in their division and more points than the last club in the division above, they will move up a division and send the last placed squad down a division.
Game's out on October 3.
Q: What is FIFA 09 Clubs?
A: FIFA 09 Clubs is a mode designed for PLAYSTATION 3 and XBOX 360 that enables gamers to form or join user-controlled ‘clubs’. These clubs are ranked within divisions based on total points. Clubs will be relegated and promoted within divisions based on their points. If a club has more points than the second best club in their division and more points than the last club in the division above, they will move up a division and send the last placed squad down a division.
Q: How will the best club be determined?
A: The best club will be the one with the most points. They will hold the Division 1 - Rank 1 position.
Q: How many players can you recruit to your club?
A: FIFA 09 Clubs supports up to 50 players in each club. However, only ten players can play for the team during a match.
Q: Who selects the team each game?
A: The Club Manager can change the club’s team at any point. The team selected will not impact the playing field, since all teams and their players will be set to the same attribute levels. The outcome of the match will be based on the performance of the players on your team.
Q: Will FIFA Clubs support substitutes?
A: The Captain can make substitutes as would be done in a normal match, but only the club members that started the match can play. So if the captain does a sub, the real world player will switch to that virtual player.
Q: What happens to players who aren’t selected for the first team or the substitute’s bench? Do they watch the match in spectator mode?
A: Instead of limiting matches based on the availability of a few club members, a club can play a match as long as 3 members are present. A club can be playing several matches at once based on how many members are available. There is no club spectator mode in FIFA 09.
Q: Can consumers join more than one club?
A: No you can only be in one club at a time.
Q: Who’s going to want to play left-back?
A: There are a lot of people who appreciate the importance of defense on a football team as well as midfield and attack. We hope that the kind of guys who are very good on defense and very disciplined on defense will become a commodity that teams will want to play with and suddenly they will become very valuable. We envision a landscape where teams try to recruit the best players at each position to build their teams into the best in the world. If you want a good buzz in a 10 vs. 10 match you might not necessarily be involved in the action all of the time but for the shorter moments that a real footballer would be in a football match it takes on a whole different level of stress and excitement. When you get your touches at left back, for example, you know you can’t fail because you will be letting down nine human players on your team if you make a mistake. Every interaction takes on an exponentially greater significance. Instead of thinking as an individual you have to play and react as a team.
Q: What happens if you have less than 10 players?
A: The CPU will control players if you have less than 10 players. If you have less than 10 players, say 7, than each user can choose the option of being fixed to a position or being able to switch between their position and the 3 CPU controlled positions. The key is you have to make this decision before the game and choose to be able to swap between your player and CPU controlled players when you are setting up the game. So some users may choose to remain fixed to their player the entire game while others may choose to be able to swap between their player and the CPU controlled players.
Q: What happens if you disconnect during a game?
A: If a user on your team quits mid-game or you disconnect than the CPU takes over that player. If you drop to less than 3 players in a match, the match will be forfeit.
Q) If you get disconnected – can you rejoin your team after being reconnected?
No, there is no way to join a match that is already in progress. If you become disconnected then the CPU will take control of your player.
Q: Will there be a fixed schedule? How will consumers schedule a game?
A: No, there is no fixed schedule. Matches can be held at any time. When there are enough players ready to play (minimum of 3) then they will be matched up against another club for competitive play.
Q: Is there a tool for scheduling matches?
A: No see above.
Q: How long is the FIFA Clubs season?
A: The season begins as soon as FIFA 09 hits shelves and ends after the FIFA 10 game releases Please check that this is correct and we will support FIFA09 club up until FIFA10 launches.
Q: How can you recruit players to your club?
A: Managers can scout players based on position, rating, wins, losses and games played. Other detailed information can be reviewed such as shots on goal, passing, tackles, cards, fouls and offsides. When a manager sees a player that fits his or her requirements, they can invite them to join their club.
Q: What stats will you keep?
A: Clubs will track stats for Wins, Losses, Ties and Total Points. Total points is the most important stat for your club.
Q: How have you improved the online play?
A: The framework we established with FIFA 08 Be A Pro: Online Team Play (5 vs 5) is sound and supports 10 vs. 10. The challenge for us is to make sure those rare occasions where the game might go out of sync are eradicated. When you have one console versus one console it happens infrequently. When you have 5 versus 5 the frequency is suddenly significantly more because now you have 10 consoles rather than two. When you look at 20 consoles connected online to each other suddenly the stability of the game and the rareness of the occasions when the game goes out of sync become more manifest so we have really needed to work hard on those issues. We have daily 10 vs 10 sessions in the studio and the game is very stable.
What’s the future for Online Clubs?
A: We envision a time when you have managers, an economy system where players will be able to move clubs, where playing FIFA becomes an alternate reality to the real world of football. The day will come when there are virtual equivalents of Wayne Rooney or Ronaldinho, from different parts of the world, who are expert FIFA gamers and clubs are clamoring to recruit them to represent their side, just like the real world. Ultimately our ambition is to have the best 11 English FIFA football players at each position playing against the best 11 American, German, or Italian FIFA football players at each position to actually stage a virtual world cup to earn the right to be the world’s best FIFA football team.
Q: Was it always in the plan to have 10 vs. 10 this year?
A: We established 5 v 5 last year and the plan has always been to create a virtual 11 vs 11 football game for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. While that has always been an ambitious project we felt this year we could push pretty hard to reach 10 vs 10. This is quite an achievement. It feels like FIFA 09 Clubs is the next great frontier in sports gaming.
Q) Will the strength of the goalie be the same in all clubs?
Yes, all players are levelled to an 85 overall.
Q) What kind of strength will the CPU controlled players have? Will a Rooney be stronger than a Pantelic or will all CPU players have the same strength?
All players are levelled to an 85 overall. The individual attributes have all been set to relative strengths of the player’s preferred position. So all CBs will have the same set of stats and all RWs will have the same set of stats, but their attributes will be different based on the needs of their position. If a user moves a player out of their preferred position, their overall rating may drop.