FIFA is back for another year. Creative director Matt Prior talks about the new motion technology system used in the game.
It’s always a guessing game for FIFA fans when trying to determine where the team at EA Sports will focus its improvements/enhancements. Undoubtedly, feedback from the previous iteration forms a significant part of this process, but the devs have an overarching plan of where they want to be with the game.
FIFA on PS4, Xbox One and PC is now in its second year on the Frostbite engine, and this, according to EA Sports creative director Matt Prior, is where the game is really starting to hit its straps; the predominant focus this year is on gameplay.
“It’s a complete package and starting to really blur the lines between the virtual and the real world simply because the level of fidelity is that good. There’s always a challenge that first year transitioning over from the old engine to new engine.
“So gameplay is king. We’ve introduced something called a real player motion system that basically allows us to bring a level of personality to the players like never before. What that means in layman’s terms is we went out and captured Cristiano Ronaldo, and that’s the actual movement you see in the game.
Prior continues: “We take the base movements from Ronaldo and from other players and then our animators can modify it with this new motion technology system and tune it. That’s massive for our fans of the game and now we can take that to the next level, targeting at first all the players that have a unique style, like Ronaldo and Raheem Stirling.”
By utilising the new motion technology, the dribbling system has also been overhauled, leading to what Prior calls a more balanced, fluid and responsive game. Capturing the atmosphere at a game has also been given some attention.
“One of the things that is great about football is the atmosphere; it’s like no other sport,” Prior says. “And it varies wherever you are; a game in South America is different to a game in the EPL. We’ve been out and captured some of that, and the way we’ve done that is across a number of things.
“For example, the lighting in South America is a lot different to the EPL. A lot of these stadiums have unique elements, so when you play in different arenas and different environments, you should have that extra level of authenticity.”
And the crowd has undergone a revamp. Gone are the days where the supporters would rise in a series of scripted, unified moves when a goal is scored.
“Now it’s much more fluid and it’s much more individual,” explains Prior. “You will even see they have their own AI in many respects, and they will jump over the seats to try and get to the pitch.
“We’ve broken the fourth wall between the pitch and the crowd like never before. The whole package is big because the atmosphere is much better, the gameplay is much better, and the visual standpoint is fantastic.