fifa 18

The beau­ti­ful game just got even pret­tier

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - Stephen Ashby

“The new an­i­ma­tion sys­tem al­lows for more re­spon­sive move­ment”


Here at OXM Tow­ers, we like to play a game when it comes to a new FIFA an­nounce­ment – it’s called Buzz­word Bingo. We all put words like “Sys­temic Ac­tion” and “Phys­i­cal­ity” on a bingo card and get the dab­bers out. This year, Dani won when she fin­ished a line with “Ex­plo­sive­ness”. You won’t be sur­prised to hear that the game is ul­ti­mately not as fun as FIFA 18.

A drib­bling sys­tem over­haul is the change that fans of the se­ries will no­tice most keenly this time around. Skilled play­ers are now much more use­ful – tak­ing it around op­po­nents is eas­ier and feels ex­tremely sat­is­fy­ing. We played an early build, and with play­ers like Messi and Ronaldo, we were con­cerned that bal­anc­ing may be­come an is­sue as de­fend­ers help­lessly fling tack­les in the di­rec­tion of these stars, un­able to get the all-im­por­tant foot in. So, when we sat down with Sam Rivera, Lead Game­play Pro­ducer on FIFA 18, we asked if keep­ing the game fair has been a chal­lenge.

“It is, but in the same way that we are do­ing the bet­ter drib­blers, [who are] faster and more ag­ile, we’re also in­clud­ing bet­ter de­fend­ers, bet­ter tack­ling,” he stressed. “And the new Mo­tion Tech­nol­ogy an­i­ma­tion sys­tem al­lows us to have more re­spon­sive move­ment when de­fend­ing. A big part of de­fend­ing is stay­ing in front of the ball and find­ing that right mo­ment to tackle. Now it will be eas­ier to stay in front of the ball be­cause the player will re­act bet­ter.”

Fair enough, al­though Mo­tion Tech­nol­ogy sadly wasn’t on our bingo sheet. That, by the way, is the new sys­tem that cal­cu­lates an an­i­ma­tion af­ter ev­ery frame, rather than ev­ery step, and al­lows play­ers to re­act more quickly to your in­puts than pre­vi­ous games. Ad­mit­tedly, Mo­tion Tech­nol­ogy is a tad catchier than our ex­pla­na­tion.

Shoot and score

Else­where, aside from some ma­jor vis­ual work on some of the world’s big­gest sta­dia to im­prove the at­mo­sphere and make them look more re­al­is­tic, EA has also made the mo­ment-to-mo­ment play feel more spe­cial. It means that if you set up a great shoot­ing op­por­tu­nity, the chances of scor­ing a 40-yard screamer are greater.

“In real life if you have a shot, and you have space, you have time, and the ball is in a good po­si­tion, you should have a very good shot,” says Rivera. “It’s up to the user to cre­ate the right sit­u­a­tion to take the shot. We don’t want ev­ery shot to go in, ob­vi­ously, but what we did in FIFA 18 was em­u­late those con­cepts from real foot­ball to make sure that they hap­pen in FIFA 18. In FIFA 17 there were cases where ev­ery­thing was per­fect but you’d hit it and the ball would go fly­ing some­where else. That doesn’t make sense.”

The Jour­ney is back this year, too, with a more global sto­ry­line, big­ger de­ci­sions, and choices that ac­tu­ally af­fect the out­come of Hunter’s story. “The story is much bet­ter,” says Rivera. “There is more va­ri­ety, and you get to do more things and go to dif­fer­ent places.” You can cus­tomise Hunter with hairstyles and cloth­ing, too, and Rivera also teases that we would be play­ing as other char­ac­ters this time around. “In the past it was al­ways Alex Hunter, but now you will play, too, with some other peo­ple… al­though I can’t tell you who they are,” he says with a grin. The Jour­ney was a sur­prise hit last year, so let’s hope the new sea­son can match it.

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