FIFA 14 Preview: Improvements Breed Variety

 

For all the emphasis on offensive build-ups and defensive counter-measures, however, one other thing stood out: goals. The FIFA team was concerned that goals in FIFA 13, like the build-ups, felt too similar. First, the developers analyzed the ball physics and discovered, to their dismay, that they needed a complete overhaul. Old versions of the FIFA had the wrong drag coefficients; this failing and many others were corrected to allow the players to kick the ball harder and more unpredictably, creating new flight paths, low, rising shots, turbulent dipping shots, and other real-world variations (see video below).

FIFA 14 also completely overhauls the shooting animations. In previous versions of the game, the animators simply cheated, instantaneously see-sawing legs or sliding players along the ground to get their legs in the proper position when the shoot button is pushed. Thanks to the new “Pure Shot” system, players will now adjust their stride and body angle to achieve the optimal shot. This system gives new meaning to shots that are contested, rushed, or awkwardly chosen, and though it was a huge motion-capture challenge, the results speak for themselves (see video below).

There is, of course, much more in store, including things like “curling lofted through balls” that are completely incomprehensible to those not already initiated into the cult of FIFA. Refinements to the tackling system will allow second-chance tackles. There are presumably other gameplay changes not yet revealed. Skill games, such a clever innovation in FIFA 13 (2.3 billion of them played since release, apparently), have been improved and expanded, giving players of all abilities the chance to improve. One variant, a monkey-in-the-middle passing game that resembles FC Barcelona’s famous “rondo” training method, is apparently a big hit in the FIFA offices. No doubt it will prove a hit in living rooms as well.

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