Electronic Arts have just announced another new feature set to be included in FIFA 14 – Precision Movement. Utilizing new technology codenamed ‘Locomotion‘ players will now go through a more realistic range of increases and decreases in speed or to put it another way – acceleration and deceleration.
This new technology will work in tandem with some of the other features we’ve already discussed in previous posts – namely sprint dribble turns.
We previously expressed our fears that this might produce unrealistic sharp turns during full sprinting movements, so these announcements really only serve to whet our appetite still further for a hands on demo in the near future.
Okay so we’re being slightly unfair on EA at the moment and Precision motion is the big thing they’re rolling out for FIFA 14. It affect every facet of the gameplay in the new version from passing to shooting and ball control to simple turns. EA has to get this right or gameplay will become a lottery.
Kantcho Doskov a gameplay producer explains that in previous iterations players were given full control over where players could move and when to the detriment of realistic movement. So if you wanted to change direction even though a players foot wasn’t planted on the ground you could – this is what Doskov called “floaty animation”.
Sure it allowed you to decide exactly where the player moved, but did it look like real football? No.
With Precision motion affecting all aspects of the game the aforementioned speed changes will also take some getting used to. The viscosity of the gameplay has been ramped up, there now feels like an inertia of movement, so that players take more time to get up to speed and also to come to a dead stop.
Legs will need to be planted before you can pivot and turn and the gameplay physics will also affect ball movement to bring an all round greater feel of realism to the gameplay side of FIFA 14.
We just can’t wait to get our hands on the demo.
In another announcement EA has struck up a three year partnership with FC Barcelona, which has meant the scanned in likenesses of 17 squad players to provide a more realistic model for the game.
The deal also signals the return of the Nou Camp stadium to the franchise and Barcelona are now added to the partnered list of European clubs which already includes Manchester City, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund.
So with the recent announcement of the XBOX One and further PS4 news on the horizon, EA have finally confirmed that FIFA 14 will feature on the next gen consoles and that it will utilize the famed new Ignite engine.
This new hardware proposes to bring even more realism to the next instalment of FIFA and other sports simulations on the new consoles. The Ignite engine will benefit FIFA 14 with more realistic player movements. Players will shift their weight as real players do, pivoting and pushing off on standing feet and this will affect the change of direction.
The guys at EA are talking about direction changes during sprint mode being overhauled. At the moment, despite much vaunted 360 degree movement, players can only change direction by 22.5 degrees (1/16th on the joystick) during sprint mode. The new engine and system will give players the opportunity to change their sprint in any direction and this is where the realistic weight and shift momentum comes into play. Again, we’ll wait with baited breath as to whether or not this plays out realistically or if it causes horrible looking movement and rushed, skipping animations – we sincerely hope not after all this hype.
But ultimately the Ignite engine should provide more than just improved player movement, with the engine also able to power greater rendering, animations and real-time physics.
“Through years of investment and innovation, we have built technology across EA SPORTS to create a game engine that will deliver stunning accuracy, realism and experiences that we previously could only dream about. With EA SPORTS IGNITE and the power of next generation consoles, our games will come alive—with more authenticity, more emotion, more connectivity, and more fun.” – Andrew Wilson, Executive VP, EA SPORTS.
The Ignite video released by EA showcases the new rendering capabilities, which will lead to more atmospheric stadiums and supporters within them. It’s about time as well, FIFA stadiums have suffered from blandness and cardboard cut-out fans for years. Any movement in the fans during the game will be welcome! Maybe even a stadium editor EA?
It doesn’t stop there; the Ignite engine takes player Artificial intelligence to new levels. With time-specific urgencies kicking in when players are chasing a game. You’ll see players get agitated as they chase that all important equalizer and maybe even start taking bigger risks to score.
Will the Ignite engine be the coming of age for the FIFA franchise?
FIFA Ultimate Team or FUT for short is also seeing a continuation into the new game, but with promised expansion and improvement. FUT is something that it can be fair to say has divided FIFA fans since its inception. The practice of purchasing packs and improving your online squad with coins earned has proved incredibly popular, but has also angered some fans who deem it tantamount to gambling – often with the feeling of having the cards stacked against them.
How FIFA Ultimate team is being upgraded for FIFA 14 and in particular the next-gen versions, remains to be seen, but we’ll have it at FIFA 14 News when we know.
In other news, EA have extended their Agreement with FIFA until 2022, giving them continued exclusivity on image, naming and licencing rights.
EA have also announced that there are currently no plans to included women’s football in FIFA 14, which will disappoint many, especially the female football fans around the world.
Sprint Dribble Turns will allow the player to get away from defenders with a quick turn of pace, giving them enough speed to breeze past defenders which give up too much space or step in too quickly.
Reports have said this speed can be utilized in any direction, but that remains unlikely, as it would be unrealistic to move off at 180 degrees at full speed – natural momentum doesn’t work that way. In fact expect this skill to be used for close directional changes – we’d be surprised at anything over a 45 degree change of direction at full speed.
Variable Dribble Touches will distinguish the great players from the merely good – the wheat from the chaff. Top players will take the ball in their stride more easily and with greater control and require fewer touches during dribbling.
This should force the hand of teams with lesser gifted players into playing a more teamwork based mode of approach play. This should counteract the lack of skill the players in their team possess.
An uncertain or ungainly dribble action will certainly prove more realistic, but how this transfers into the final game will be interesting to see. Will all players have a good level of ball control and will top players therefore be nigh-on impossible to dispossess?
2nd Chance Tackles will give defenders a greater zonal area in which to make a tackle and allow them to recover quickly from mistimed and missed tackles, so that they can try again in the same defending period.
The idea of being able to get your player up off his arse after he’s gone sliding wildly by sounds intriguing. But will this give carte balance to taking less care in tackling – knowing that you can quickly try again if you fail? The idea of taking time and skill to beat a defender, only for him to come right back at you could prove very frustrating. We need more information from EA on this one.
Curling Lofted Through Balls will further enhance the way you structure attacks and make killer passes behind and over defensive lines. Being able to curl a ball away from a defender right into the path of your onrushing striker sounds like an obvious improvement, well overdue in the series.
All of these new systems will be practicable in the updated Skill Games – a veritable cornucopia of practice games and sessions designed to get you onside with the new tricks and systems.
Just like you could practice penalties in FIFA 13, you can use this mode to get to grips with new systems and controls, so that you can learn without the pressure situation of a game.
Remember the greatest goal ever scored? A mixture of individual skill, teamwork and awareness? Carlos Alberto for Brazil in the 1970 World Cup.
FIFA 14 is trying to recreate this sense of teamwork and awareness with Teammate Intelligence. Attackers will now move into position, make false runs, hold their runs to stay onside and back into defenders when receiving the ball ready to turn and shoot or simply lay the ball off for another teammate to take a shot.
It’s all about taking the footy game to the next level with intelligent thinking at both ends of the pitch.
We all know how frustrating it is when your striker runs way to early and your player passes the ball to the wrong player. With strikers running the line and by using the other new system, such as Protect The Ball, these worries should be a thing of the past.
The defenders will also take their time to access the attacking threat and then make tighter decisions, so that strikers don’t get past them as easily.
Pressure defending will be enhanced, so that attackers are forced into mistakes without the need for a tackle. Defender can do this by taking longer to assess situations and over a larger area of the pitch. This increases toward the end of games, so that the defenders of the losing team will even pressurise the attackers of the winning side.
Time sensitive artificial intelligence?
It will be interesting to see how these new systems work against each other – with one making it easier to beat defenders and another making it harder. Maybe the status quo will be maintained!
Global Scouting Network
Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez; all of these managers have one thing in common – they’ve never been given a scouting report with a number next to a player’s name. They receive detailed scouting reports that tell of a players, strengths, weaknesses, and general traits.
EA want to move away from purely numbers and make you choose players on a trait based system. So you want a defender that can tackle and bring the ball out of defence – this is what you ask for on the scouting mission and if your scout is good enough, he brings you back a list.
Some of these players might be a good fit straightaway, but with a hefty price tag. Whereas other, possibly younger players, have lesser stats in these fields, but have masses of potential and can be bought cheaply.
We hope that this extends to the youth team setup, because it’s always satisfying to bring through your ‘own’ talent, rather than scouting some other team’s player.
Clearly EA are trying to keep people playing the career mode throughout the entire year, right up until the next FIFA game. If FIFA 14 wants to be that game, it has to get career mode right and make it interesting and fruitful to play over that period, which is a long time in video gaming terms and hundreds of games, not to mention hours.
FIFA 14 is just around the corner looking to maintain the incredible success of the FIFA franchise over the past two decades. FIFA International Soccer started it all in 1993 and now twenty years later the world eagerly anticipates the latest installment in the popular series.
So what does FIFA 14 have in store for fans?
On the playing side Electronic Arts is giving us four new systems to get to grips with concerning actual gameplay:
On the management side of things career mode is being bolstered thanks to the innovative new scouting system in development:
Global Scouting Network
The Global scouting network will use a new system designed to cut down on interruptions and ultimately allow you to locate, acquire and train up promising talent that can one day grace your first team for a fraction of the cost of buying established world class players.
Pure Shotwill enable the player to take realist shots at goal for the first time. The system is married to the other update – Real Ball physics and the two will work in tandem to make this possible.
EA are looking to eliminate the problems of FIFA 13 that suffered from players feet sliding, making scissor motions and stuttering all before taking a shot that wasn’t timed to the animation.
Now new animations will work in conjunction with the two new systems to deliver smart physics based shots that recreate the power blasters and finesse shots smashed into the net every weekend around the world.
What’s good enough for Messi, Rooney and co will now be good enough IN FIFA 14.
What this means is that players will move into position to take shots so that they hit their stride in perfect time and can then get full power and accurate timing behind the shot.
If a player is receiving a sloppy ball; one that’s under hit into their path or hit too strong so that it forces them wide of goal and their run trajectory, you can still take that instant snapshot, but you’ll find that the shot will suffer diminished accuracy and power. Although this could be overridden by the ability of the player – so Messi can bang them in from all angles and distances.
The new ball physics will make the above possible, so from FIFA 14 on you’ll get that real sense of weight, speed and power when you connect with a strike perfectly. Expect dipping volleys, slowly rising long range drives and floating spinning lob shots.
We’ve been assured that wind resistance and turbulence will also play a part, although how that will manifest in the game we’re currently unsure of.
The whole point of these updates is to capture the feeling of emotion in real football when you catch the shot just right and you see the ball nestle in the back of the net.
Emotion has little to do with the next update – Protect the Ball. This is all about ball retention a la Barcelona! Many games postulate about ball possession, but few deliver as the computer and human opponents still find it too easy to dispossess you from the ball.
Well, Protect the Ball will address this issue and the team at EA Canada have been on the ball as it were since the previous version trying to get this right.
Anybody who regularly watches European football; Champions League or Europa League will be familiar with the modern style of football and how important ball retention is for setting or dictating the tempo of a game. Barcelona play it to the nth degree, but more and more sides around Europe and the world are trying to get back to midfield domination.
EA plan to achieve this by allowing players to block off other players and their advances, as well as move in front of defenders whilst running with the ball. This latter movement is designed to deter the frustrating arm pull that many defenders perform on your player whilst you’re trying to get away.
Players with the ball will also now have the ability to step into opposing players in a bid to hold them off while they pick a pass. You’ll also see strikers jostling for position at corners and throw-ins, so that they can create space before receiving the ball with which they can then turn and shoot.
Not much is being revealed yet about the final new system – Teammate Intelligence, suffice to say it will be an improvement that ultimately affects defence and attack most acutely.
Defenders will judge defensive moves and tackles with split second timing and strikers will check their runs, by running along the line and hanging back on the shoulders of defenders to avoid offside decisions.
It’s all looking very promising, but with several months ahead things can change, but at least FIFA 14 seems pointed in the right direction at the moment.