News hit us this week that EA were changing the mechanics in FIFA12, making it the biggest leap for years. We already know that players will react dynamically to tackles, depending on exactly where they connect which should make the realism of animations far more authentic. Key players will play to their strengths a lot more – those like West Ham’s Hitzelsperger with a “foot like a traction engine” (to quote Alan Partridge) will linger 25 yards out during a build up, waiting to hammer home a powerful drive. Goal poachers like Villa’s Darren Bent will follow up shots, waiting for a rebound or goalkeeping mistake to take their chance.
All good so far, and add to that the defensive improvements that have been hinted at and we’ve got a lot of options to make games potentially tighter, more realistic and more tailored to individual teams. Arsenal will patiently pass the ball around waiting for a gap to pick out; Villa will rely on their pace to launch counter attacks, and Man City will complain about everything. Ok, the last one might not be true but everything is already sounding great.
There are, however, some key elements EA could consider bring on board to make it the perfect game for football fans. We’ve avoided the obvious “more stadiums, better stats, better commentary” stuff and thought of 10 things that will really make it a cut above. This is all our opinion obviously, some of you will disagree with some points, many of you will have even better ideas. Either way leave your thoughts in the comments section!
1. Quick Games
A quick one-off game of FIFA can still take quite some time. If you include the player entrances, replays, half-time stats, substitution animations and all the rest it really starts to add up, sometimes doubling the length or a short match. So why not take a leaf out of Tiger Woods 12’s book and give players the option to cut out the waiting? Offer up a quick mode where the game starts at the centre circle and just lets you play without interruption. Maybe that 10 minute game will actually be 10 minutes now…
2. Full Kit Editor with Custom Sponsors
With so many games offering customisation nowadays (in fact EA are the master of this) it doesn’t seem out of the question for players to want to recreate their Sunday League team or just knock up a new kit for their favourite team. Want a purple Cadburys sponsored kit? Sure you do. Skate 3 allowed gamers to create custom sponsors on the EA Sports web site and upload them to their consoles in-game to attach to boards and clothing, so we know it’s possible.
3. Create Players and Teams On Your PC
Just like the custom kit idea, it would be LOADS quicker to create your team on the EA Sports site and just download it from within the game. Using a real keyboard will always be quicker than a controller with on-screen keyboards.
4. Be the Ref
Everyone moans about referees. There’s always decisions made that people don’t agree with, so let’s give people the chance to try out being a ref. By giving refs a window of opportunity to react to each rough tackle, goal line block or penalty claim they could develop skills and reputation over time. Not only that, but letting an extra player be a ref during a heated multiplayer match could bring a hint of favouritism into proceedings. That doesn’t happen in real life, obviously. No.
5. Dynamic Weather and Pitch Conditions
Weather will change during a real match, and surely it’s not a hard thing to implement into FIFA. Rain and wind play a huge part in how teams play, and if the wind gets up a bit that long ball tactic might just not work any more. Similarly, long intricate through-balls will be far less effective if it starts to rain and the balls gets bogged down in a wet, muddy pitch.
6. Quick Throw-ins
Quick free-kicks are already a part of FIFA, but there are time when you just want to throw it short and get on with it, especially during a quick counter-attack or the closing moments of a close match. The option to hold a button when it goes out for a throw in order to quickly chuck it back to the nearest player would be very welcome.
7. Subs and Managers on the Sidelines
In the world of FIFA, subs come onto the pitch cold. No warm ups, no stretches, just jumping straight in. Players jogging up and down the touchline in training vests would certainly add to the realism of the surroundings, and managers in the technical area shouting instructions and getting annoyed by bad decisions would be a small, but interesting addition.
8. Players Reacting to Tackles
Some player are more hot-headed than others. When Wayne Rooney, lovely boy that he is, gets caught by a late challenge that doesn’t result in a free-kick it’s not uncommon that he’ll spring back after the opposing player and hack him down from behind. While current FIFA titles show players raising their arms in annoyance if they don’t get a decision, they just forget all about it. A hidden frustration level for each player which rises and falls depending on various actions would mean those live-wires in your team are more likely to be ticking time bombs.
9. Dynamic Celebrations
Players celebrate differently if they score the opening goal in the 14th minute to how they’d react to netting the winner in injury time. If EA are to keep improving the authenticity of their titles we need to see teams going nuts when they snatch a win, or oppositions clearly devestated that they’ve just let in a goal which sends them into a lower league.
More of a luxury, this. FIFA98 had an indoor 5-a-side mode which was up-tempo and a totally different experience to a standard match. This, in my mind, would be best suited as an online mode using self-created teams. Getting you and your virtual mates together for a 5-a-side kickaround against a similar set of mates from 200 miles away sounds like a great way to spend an hour.
As mentioned earlier, none of these have been mentioned by EA; they’re all just our opinion. What would you like to see in FIFA12? Let us know!
Meanwhile, get yourself ready for FIFA12 by getting set up on LiveFootball.net – they let you watch any Premiership match you fancy over the Internet!