FIFA 10 became the fastest-selling sports game in Europe when it hit stores last October. Now FIFA 11 arrives with a raft of gameplay enhancements and player improvements.
One of these is most notably Personality+, a device that ensures abilities from individual players will be seen on the pitch.
With a team of 1,700 scouts, editors and reviewers around the world, FIFA has kept such detailed tabs on players, that each of the recognisable names from the game demonstrates a unique style devised from over 36 differing attributes and 57 traits. This ensures the footballers perform in a similar manner to how they do in real life.
Further to this, EA’s decision to cast Kaka as the international cover star for the game is a clear demonstration of the game’s new emphasis on conveying player personality.
“Kaka brings passion, imagination and individual flair to the game every time he’s on the pitch,” says Matt Bilbey, vice president of football at EA Sports.
“His play is unlike any other player in our game and you will feel individual differences like this in each player, in every match.”
PLAYING WITH ATTITUDE
While you won’t see Ronaldo hitting the floor like a sack of spuds at every clash, such recognisable traits as the crisp passes of Kaka, controlled dribbling of Iniesta and power of Rooney will be on show, as will trademark techniques of other world class stars.
EA Sports senior product manager Luke Cousens tells MCV: “FIFA 11 reinvents player authenticity – on and off the ball – for every player and at every position on the pitch.”
Alongside the personality-influenced performances, new heading, shoving and tackling animations will be seen, as well as enhanced personalised player celebrations, including the likes of Peter Crouch’s robotic dancing celebration.
Personality+ will also affect the way goalkeepers function in the game. Their style is decided as to whether the keeper is known as a traditional or more acrobatic player, with different player attributes affecting huge parts of their game. Goalkeeper awareness has also been improved for FIFA 11, with them being more aware of their surroundings, more intelligent to threats and sprinting to cut off wayward balls.
One key aspect of Personality+ is the new approach to body shapes and models, with a number of varying player shapes and sizes making personalities even more distinguishable from each other on the pitch, from the small forms of Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott to the special case of Peter Crouch.
A notable change to the game’s career mode sees fans create or choose a footballer and play a career, starting as a player, then player-manager and finally manager. Gamers can also start the game in one of the latter two positions.
Through this new personality-driven approach, the way that players perform both on and off the ball seems set to be a radical addition to the way gamers play the FIFA franchise.
The ping pong style of the previous games’ passing system has also been revised with FIFA 11 showcasing a new ‘Pro Passing System’.
Cousens adds: “Building on the FIFA 10 gameplay that won 50 sports game of the year awards worldwide, FIFA 11’s pass accuracy is determined by a gamer’s ability on the control pad, player skill, situation and urgency on the pitch.”
HANDS OF GOD
A handball option can be switched on or off, and the enhanced 360-degree dribbling forces players to fight for space that was previously unobtainable.
The game’s Creation Centre allows users to play songs around the stadium from their hard drive, customise team kits, stadiums, footballers and even custom-made crowd chants. The improved FIFA Theatre allows gamers to flaunt their style online by uploading saved highlights of matches online at footballworld.com at any time. In addition, the ‘Virtual Pro’ gives fans the opportunity to live out the life of a real footballer by recreating themselves in-game complete with realistic facial features thanks to the ‘Photo Game Face’ option.
The high expectations for FIFA 11 will rocket with a marketing campaign commencing in September, with a TV advert featuring Rooney, Kaka and other FIFA talent.
Social networking sites will also tease game content including behind-the-scenes footage.
And with the enhancements to gameplay and player detail, Personality+ looks set to make FIFA 11 the biggest sports game of the year.
“We’re expecting another strong performance for the FIFA franchise both at release and over the course of the football season,” says Cousens.
MEET THE TEAM
There are a range of FIFA footie games out this year besides FIFA 11. MCV takes a look:
2010 FIFA World Cup
England fans can enjoy a more successful 2010 World Cup campaign with the fifth World Cup title. This game spent three weeks in the No.1 spot in the GfK All Formats chart and features a range of new modes. It boasts a revised penalty mode as well as gameplay that involves the high altitudes of some locations, having an effect on players’ fitness.
Using the FIFA 10 game engine, FIFA Online is an MMO football game that contains both a league mode and versus mode.
FIFA has found a home on Facebook in the form of FIFA Superstars, which sees players build teams, sell and train players, upgrade stadiums and play against other players.
FIFA Manager 11
Later this year will see the FIFA Manager series continue with a more realistic transfer market, improved tactics system and an expanded online mode. This caters for football fans with an eye for long-term strategy rather than instant control.