Year after year the FIFA series entertains millions of gamers worldwide. While it is early days, we had the chance to sit down with Executive Producer David Rutter
to discuss FIFA 13’s
gameplay elements, the evolution of the game and how the team is recreating the beautiful game in all its dramatic glory. If you want to find out what we thought of these developments, check out our preview
.CLICK:Some of the tweaks so far seem to be very attacking orientated like the new runs and the new way of looking at the play. How will the defenders be able to keep up with all of this happening in front of their eyes?
David Rutter: I think there’s two or maybe three big parts to how defence will deal with new Attacking Intelligence. I think first up, regardless of what you have done in the game in the past, when you’re in control of a player the defenders can deal with it. The defensive system in the game is pretty robust, so they will track you, they will cover space, etc. in a way that’s appropriate for football. So, regardless of what we do with attacking intelligence, our defensive system is pretty good at dealing with it.
The second part of it is that as a defender yourself in tactical defending last year, it was about shepherding players into disadvantageous positions. It was about positioning, you know shutting down passing channels or shooting opportunities and waiting for the attacker to make a mistake. And in this year’s game it’s similar in the sense that it’s still tactical defending, you’re still tracking that player, it’s still positional. But now you’re now able to actually influence that player on the ball with push and pull and with those kind of seal out moments when you can step in front of a player. So the idea that rather than having to wait for the attacking player to make a mistake, you can actually influence and create mistakes by that person is probably the biggest change.CLICK: With the push and pull, we’ve seen people getting bundled off the ball, how much of a hand will referees have in play?
DR: We’ve done tons of work on the referees this year both to do with normal in-game fouling and calls that we’ve had in the game forever, but the actual sense that the game has now of push and pull all the other new features that have gone into the game, we created a tool in the studio that allows us to analyse player-on-player contacts at minute detail now, and so we’ve been spending a lot of time this year making sure that the referees can deal with everything.CLICK: And will they still be a little bit unpredictable?
DR: To a degree. I mean we’ve got different types of refereeing personality in the game; we have for a few years now. Some are very strict, some are more lenient. When you play the game, you do get to know them. And that will remain.CLICK: How many elements of the gameplay have been ported over from FIFA Street?
DR: The only stuff that’s really come across from FIFA Street is the improvements to the precision dribbling component of complete dribbling. That’s pretty much it.CLICK: And why was that the chosen feature?
DR: Because I think what it does is it represents a skill that’s utilised in real football a lot, which is the ability to kinda move from one foot to the other and I think the second component of it is that within our game what we wanted to do this year was make dribbling and possession of the ball against the defender a lot more enjoyable, a lot more intuitive and a lot more responsive. So it gave you those options which I think are important to our fans.CLICK: The contain defending came under a lot of analysis last year from a lot of players. Has that been tweaked in any way?
DR: A lot of analysis, but extremely popular. I think it’s over 95%, something like 97% of gamers that we know of anyway are using tactical defending, so very happy with that. It was a big change last year, but one that I think has been very well received by our fans.CLICK: How do you balance the first touch control for lower skilled teams so they’ll still be fun to play and people will want to use them?
DR: So it’s based on not just the skill of the player, but the context of the ball and the player too. So, making sure that the outcomes are, I always say “predictably unpredictable”, which is kind of a sort of oxymoron, but isn’t if you think about it. The idea that the outcomes are simulated accurately so we actually…the skill of the player, the spin of the ball, the bounce of the ball, the position of the player, how that player is moving or not, whether or not he’s being pushed or not in the back, etc. all contribute to the success or the error on the trap of the ball. And at that point, we’re very happy with the outcomes. That said, what’s in the build out there is probably a bit too much at the moment, but throughout the next six months we’ll be tuning that for everything, just to make sure it’s perfect.CLICK: So players just have to think about where they’re going to put the ball.
DR: Well, yeah, if you want to be good at the game. What we tend to see, certainly on this press tour, is that for the first couple of games players are still playing it like FIFA 12. And it’s not FIFA 12 anymore; it’s a different game and there’s some learning there that people need to do. But then ultimately we want to make sure that the game is refreshed and different and transformed each year and that’s what we’ve done.CLICK: Can you tell us if there are any new skills and celebrations being brought to the game?
DR: Yeah, we’ll be confirming stuff like that later on this year.CLICK: With the attacking runs, are there certain players that might drift offside more often than others?
DR: All the players have tendencies and behaviours and attributes that we do as much work as we can to accurately reflect. So just to let you know we have ten guys in Vancouver that run a network of roughly 100-120 guys that edit and input into a massive database all those skills and attributes. Then beyond that there’s roughly 1,000 people that review that information to make sure it’s accurate and there’s no favouritism or anything like that. So a massive network putting all that stuff in and we use as many of those attributes as we can within the game.CLICK: What are the first things that players should get used to or experiment with?
DR: I think the first thing people will notice is undoubtedly the attacking intelligence; just the fact that when they’ve got the ball and they’re in that final third, there’s this huge commitment from the team around them to join them in the attack. It’s a big difference. I think shortly after that it will be the first touch control that people will notice. I think it makes a big difference to the dynamic of the game. It allows for this unpredictability and drama that we really want to capture this year and a lot more excitement on the pitch. I think the other thing that people will really notice is complete dribbling because it’s extremely engaging. When it goes in, you just feel like almost a superhero on the ball, and we kind of wanted to allow people to have those really really flattering moments in the game where they can do things that they’ve always dreamed of being able to do with the right players at the right time. They’re probably the three big things that people will instantly notice.