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Afterwords: FIFA 13

With football leagues around the world in full swing, gamers are still digging into FIFA 13 – warts and all. We talked with David Rutter, the game's executive producer, about the game now that the dust has settled.

Why are the player stories in Career Mode (like someone being unhappy, wanting more playing time, etc.) absent for your International squad?

Adding Internationals to Career Mode last year was a huge undertaking. The systems we incorporated for this feature are pretty comprehensive – but as you mentioned aren't on complete parity with the domestic leagues. It's basically due to the amount of time we have to make the game, and the effort we can spend on particular features. Overwhelmingly the feedback on International Management has been great, though.

Have you guys thought about offering an online career mode that encompasses transfers, loans, tourneys, etc. like NCAA or Madden?

We discuss this every year, but so far we have decided that the right strategy for our fans was to invest in our most popular modes such as FIFA Seasons, FIFA Ultimate Team, and Career Mode.  

The defensive AI of your team seems to break down when in their own box. Clearances are missed, players run into each other, etc. Is there any explanation for this?

This isn't feedback that I've personally picked up on. But having said that, we are always thinking of ways we can improve on our game, so we will continue to gather feedback from our fans and try to narrow in on what their concerns are on a more specific level so we can address those in future titles. 

Some players have complained that the game is too fast, even if you move the sliders down to Slow. What are your thoughts on FIFA 13's pace and how it relates to the real-life game?

Game pace is something we hard work on each year. It's also a matter of personal choice. I’m quite pleased to see that the feedback that we have received for game pace is varied enough that it seems apparent that our fans are experiencing FIFA in many different ways. While we try to balance the game so that it plays a certain way, we also want to give our fans the ability to play the game in the way that they want to. Choice of team, tactic, and the way you control your players can dramatically change your perception of pace. 

What has EA done to prevent a re-occurance of the FUT hack and to help keep players safe?

For the launch of FIFA 13 we developed a number of new security measures for our HD consoles and PC , such as the addition of security questions. Some of the other security measures we’re not going to discuss publically. With the popularity of FIFA globally, and the sheer number of players playing the game online, the reality is that FIFA is an obvious target for phishers and frauds. This is why we try to educate FIFA players to take measures to keep their accounts safe and we posted these tips prior to the game’s launch.

Many games nowadays, including FIFA, have made use of post-release patches to help solve problems. Do you think there is a danger of publishers/developers relying too heavily on this kind of fallback measure?

No, I don't think so. Basically the game team, EA, and the console first parties take great pains to ensure the games that are released are to the best possible standards – both in quality of gameplay and also stability/bugs. I guess the reality though – in the case of FIFA – is it's virtually impossible to replicate an environment in our testing where millions of players are playing our game to the level they do. We go from many hundreds of testers to many millions of gamers. The sheer scale of time and effort expended on FIFA by our fans literally guarantees very rare events will occur which may never have been seen during an entire cycle on the team. But if something does occur frequently – then we're on it straight away. [Ed. – EA has recently released a patch for PC, 360, and PS3 to address disappearing balls, career mode freezes, and other problems.]

Will we ever see a version of FIFA that incorporates the World Cup and/or the Euro tourneys instead of making them stand-alone games?

Our vision for FIFA is to drive year-round engagement through brilliant gameplay, live services, and fresh content. We released EURO 2012 as DLC to FIFA 12 because we had the best-playing FIFA gameplay and we felt this was the best way to extend that experience and deliver fresh new content to our fans. Beyond that, I can’t really discuss our plans for the future.

What do you consider the most necessary improvement for FIFA 14?

The FIFA philosophy is to refine the features that are in the game now to ensure high quality, respond to the feedback from our fans on twitter, Facebook, and in the community forums so that we can prioritize the things that matter most to them and make our fans happy, and finally to innovate new features so that every year we create unexpected or surprising things that change the experience and leave our fans thinking, “Wow, how did they come up with that?” There are some fantastic features in FIFA 13, but right now we have a massive list of things that we can do better and things that we want to achieve for next year. We haven’t yet envisioned a feature that we have not been able to deliver. Who would have thought five years ago that we could develop a real-time physics engine to drive the animation system in a sports videogame, and then we created the Player Impact Engine. We had no idea that we would be able to deliver on that so successfully but due to the talented team within the studio, we did. And since we get our inspiration from football – every game played has something that sparks an idea or starts a conversation, so I don't think we’ll ever run out of ideas.

For more on the game, check out our review.

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