FIFA 13 Preview: New Features Guide
Deep in the bowels of EA Canada, developers and producers introduced an international group of journalists to the new features in FIFA 13. Creating the newest installment of a yearly sports franchise is a unique challenge in gaming — what to keep? what to discard? what to improve? what to maintain? — and a lot of ground was covered over the course of almost two hours (longer than an actual soccer game!). Though the full scope of the changes can’t be captured in a single article, and won’t be fully known until the game comes out, here are the key points:
In FIFA 13, players will be smarter. In FIFA 12, the AI evaluated points on the pitch and tried to steer players toward good space — this system was flawed and plagued by indecision. In FIFA 13, the AI will analyze entire runs to make sure that players off the ball take up good positions, even if there are defenders in their way. Players will curve and delay runs to stay onside, changing their body shape to make it easier to receive a pass and providing a visual cue that they are open to receive the ball.
More crucially, AI-controlled players can now ascertain which teammate is mostly likely to receive the ball next, enabling them to think ahead in a way that improves attacking options. In FIFA 12, players could only react to the actions of the human-controlled player on the ball — this fall, they will think ahead, anticipating the human player’s next pass and getting in position to assist its recipient.
Player Impact Engine
The introduction of fully modeled physics for player collisions was huge step in FIFA 12. In FIFA 13, the system has been expanded, working in concert with last year’s Tactical Defending system and allowing players to use their size and strength to succeed. The developers are working to imbue certain players a with “personality of strength” that enables them to recognize when they have a size advantage over an opponent and exploit it accordingly.
Defenders can use their bodies to win back possession, and players can push and pull each other while battling for the ball, and even clash off the ball. A strong defender can force an attacking player into taking a poor touch or attempting an off-balance shot. The whole system was built by reevaluating the models that determined strength for each of a player’s body parts — hips in FIFA 12, for example, were too strong — and allowing players to realistically affect each other’s limbs.
New animations for things like off-balance shots will remind gamers that these innovations are at work, and improved AI helps the referee to better understand these interactions and call the game accordingly. When two players do collide, new technology allows them to extricate themselves more realistically, avoiding hilarious glitches like the one shown below: