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Sources: FIFA 17 Begins EA Sports’ Full Transition To Frostbite Engine

by Matt Bertz on Jun 01, 2016 at 10:15 AM

After a disastrous transition to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, EA Sports made it a priority to move into the PS4/Xbox One era armed with a new engine, dubbed Ignite. When it was announced in 2013, EA touted the engine’s superior artificial intelligence, improved animations, biomechanical physics, crowd technology, and flexible toolset that would greater enable its sports teams to share technology between the brands. The conversion to the new platforms went well save for NHL 15’s bungled launch, but now EA is making another change to its sports label.

Multiple sources tell us that the FIFA, Madden, NHL, and NBA Live sports game will be transitioned to DICE’s Frostbite engine over the course of the next few years. Frostbite is currently being used to power the vast majority of EA’s larger game catalog, including the Battlefield, Star Wars: Battlefront, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Need For Speed, and Mirror’s Edge franchises. The next major sports game to make the leap to the new technology is FIFA 17. While Madden NFL 17. NHL 17, and NBA Live 17 are still using the Ignite engine, each is expected to convert in the near future.

FIFA 17 isn't the first EA Sports game to use Frostbite tech; 2015’s Rory McIlroy PGA Tour was built on the platform as well by EA Tiburon. During its press blitz for PGA Tour, EA touted the engine’s prowess in creating outdoor environments and cutting load times between holes. The transition should also be aided by the fact that DICE already integrated the ANT animation system component of the Ignite engine into Frostbite during the development of Battlefield 3. 

The move falls in line with the wider company strategy that EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund shared with us at the 2015 E3. "I see a world where there is only one tech platform for us long term," he told us. "We just need to have a conscious plan and strategy for how we get there."

An EA spokesperson declined to comment on this story.


Our Take
As Star Wars: Battlefront demonstrated, the Frostbite engine is capable of creating some amazing graphics. But transitioning to a new platform is a serious time and resource investment, so we wonder given the short development cycles for annual releases if some game modes or features could go missing yet again for some upcoming iterations of FIFA, Madden, NHL, and NBA Live.