We had more hands-on time with EA Sports FC 24 and also got some face time with Producer, Sam Riviera to find out what has gone into the game this year in a milestone first entry for EA’s new franchise.
THE NUMBER ONE THING I NOTICED AFTER PLAYING THE GAME IS THAT A LOT OF BALL DEFLECTIONS AND BALL MOVEMENT IN GENERAL FELT A LOT LESS SCRIPTED. HOW DOES THAT IMPACT THE OVERALL FLOW OF THE GAME AND IS THERE SUCH THING AS BEING TOO UNPREDICTABLE?
Sam Riviera: No, not really. This is what we do when we try to design the game. We take football, and we try to break it down into little pieces of football. So how the ball bounces is one of them, but also, what happens when you want to kick a ball that is bouncing, that is spinning, that is moving fast and then we just tried to put all those little pieces in the game.
So the more authentic each piece is, at the end of the day is going to add up and it’s going to create the most authentic football experience. So every year, we come up with new ones, but what I can tell you is that this is a special year, because technology is really having huge steps and taking us much closer to the end goal, which is creating 100% realistic football. Artificial Intelligence is now very powerful and that’s helping us tune the ball parameters in a more accurate way, with a lot more data, which makes it more realistic.
Basically, it learns from a lot of examples of how the ball behaves, and to tunes it automatically. So that’s something that it really takes years and years of development to be able to get to the point where we are now, something we’re proud of
PRECISION PASSING IS ANOTHER ONE WHERE AT FIRST I WAS TRYING TO FIND PLACES TO USE IT BUT BY GAME THREE AND FOUR, I WAS HAVING MORE SUCESS WITH IT. WHY DID THE TEAM FEEL THAT THE GAME NEEDED MORE PASSING OPTIONS?
SR: Ultimately, we want to give you more control of the game, more tools that you can take advantage of, so on demand tools. First of all, I want to say, for all us developers, we are playing, of course, FC 24 For many months, and we get used to this mechanic (precision passing) when we have to test our last year game, and then we go there and it doesn’t exist, you right away, feels like something is missing, you get that feeling as a designer, that means the feature is gonna be good.
We have gone with different features like explosive sprint and things like that, if you go back, it’s like Oo, I really need that feature. So precision passing is one of them and I think passing in general, we’re very happy even without the feature, we’re very happy where we are in terms of the accuracy and selecting the player you want.
However, being able to decide not just the leaving of each pass, but the curve to see, to try to avoid defenders. That’s something that we never had before in terms of on demand mechanics. So it’s something where we’re always trying to add more tools and give you more control.
ARE FEATURES LIKE PRECISION PASSING AND POWER SHOTS FOR MORE HARDCORE PLAYERS OR DO YOU EXPECT EVERY PLAYER TO BE USING THEM?
SR: When we decide the features, we tried to make them as accessible as possible. So I wouldn’t say it’s a feature only for the core players of the game. But of course, I would also say if someone that is brand new to the game, I wouldn’t expect that person to to use these mechanics right away.
So it’s one of those that give you more depth into your mechanics, more control but of course, it takes some time to first get to understand the key basic mechanics of the game. And then once you master those which are quite simple pass, shoot, dribble and then these mechanics are designed in a way to hopefully make making them as easy as possible for everyone to try.
YOU SPOKE EARLIER ABOUT THE FULL VOLUMETRIC DATA, BUT I’D LOVE FOR YOU TO EXPAND A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT WHY THIS IS SUCH A BIG DEAL AND BETTER THAN MOTION CAPTURING?
SR: I have to clarify, for certain things, we still use motion capture from the studio. But from now on basically why this volumetric technology is a very big jump in terms of what it means for the game is because we can access the best players, the best teams in the world competing at the highest level. Before it was with excellent technology from last year, it was teams from the second and third division Spain.
Well, there’s a reason why Haaland is Haaland and Foden is Foden and Vinicius Jr as a winger. So now we can actually access the data, the motion of those players and put it in the game. I think that’s the biggest reason. But of course, after all, it’s a game and it has to be fun for everyone and has to look good in every single scenario. So we still use some data from the mocap studio, but now this is the year where we are actually introducing more authentic data.
PLAYSTYLES ARE NEW TO THE GAME BUT THINGS LIKE ATTRIBUTES HAVE BEEN IN THE GAME FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER. WHEN TALKING ABOUT THE LIKES OF MBAPPE AND KERR IT’S CLEAR WHAT THEIR ATTRIBUTES ARE, BUT MORE BROADLY HOW DO PLAYSTYLES AFFECT THE GAME IN TERMS OF UNIQUES AND DIFFERENTIALS BETWEEN PLAYERS
SR: So attributes give us a lot of differentiation, but there is another level basically, that we are unlocking with playstyles. A good example here, it’s the defensive play style for blocks. So there is no attribute for blocking. So it took months of discussion, game design discussion, and analysing football, and analysing the mechanics in the game, to really come up with those new play styles that are going to go beyond attributes basically.
So attributes remain, and they are extremely important as they have always been. But now we have more differentiation, which is going to create more player uniqueness. And the feature was designed in a way that in every mode, regardless of which mode, you play, Ultimate Team, kickoff, or career mode, the play style will be impactful. So in career mode, for example, you can customise, you can grow your player, and you can decide which type of play style you want.
In Ultimate Team, depending on the campaigns and what happens in real life, you may get a version with new play styles. Basically it’s months of game design discussion and analysing football to get to this feature.
HOW DOES IT WORK TO HAVE MEN AND WOMEN ON THE FIELD AT THE SAME TIME IN TERMS OF MOVEMENT?
So if you have one male and one female player but they have the same attributes, the same stats, the same height and the same weight, they’re going to behave exactly the same – there’s no difference at all. in general women players are maybe shorter or lighter. So that means they will be good at different things. So they can be more agile, maybe they can be more explosive.
In Ultimate Team, your want to have the best player at their position. So for example, a winger is completely different from a centre back so what characteristics do you want but even then as a centre back, there’s still centre backs that are not necessarily too tall and too heavy, that’s very useful in the game. He may be good that jockeying or being very agile, changing directions, trying to always stay in front of the ball, maybe chasing different attackers.
So in reality is a balance. It’s a combination, but it’s based on the fact that if they have the same physical attributes, physical characteristics and attributes, they will behave exactly the same on the field.