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FIFA 08 PS3 and Xbox 360 developer blog #01

Aug 15, 2007

Joe Booth, FIFA 08 (PS3, Xbox 360), Lead Producer
Welcome to the official FIFA Soccer 08 on PS3 and Xbox 360 blog. As a Leeds United fan it’s been a tough year and I have been through some real lows while supporting my club. Luckily, the FIFA development team has been through an amazing year. So many of us on the team moved from all over the world to Vancouver, Canada where we make the game. We challenged ourselves to re-invent what a great football game experience can be with the goal to make our game as accessible and fun to play to as many football fans as possible.

As the lead producer of FIFA Soccer 08 I want to make the game development more open and use this forum to talk about what you can expect from this year’s game and give you a better insight into how we are developing FIFA for next-gen consoles. Different producers on our team will use this space to talk about their particular areas of expertise. The first guy is Kaz Makita, who has really been the architect of the re-write of the game engine, driving the development and vision. Three years ago EA Sports decided to make its biggest investment in its history when we decided to build an engine from scratch for next-gen consoles and would fully ultilise the power of the multi-threaded, multi-processor CPUs for gameplay to better simulate real football. The new gameplay engine uses 35 times more processing power then the CG gameplay engine.

We had to throw everything away and start all over. So what you saw on FIFA 07 on Xbox 360 was the first version of our plan and you saw an innovation where the ball was now separated from the animation with independent ball physics. This year we have focused on building on the foundation of our gameplay. We have concentrated our efforts on things like the context and depth in AI and the sense of the player ‘brain’ working to a much higher fidelity than it has ever done before with each CPU brain making thousands of evaluations and choices per second.



Another element of this year’s game is the idea of expression.  We have created a feature that enables gamers to create pro skill moves through an organic building block system so you can express yourself in a way you have never been able to do before in a football game. To us it is not just about re-producing what Ronaldinho does in the real-world. We have broken down this process into a number of building blocks and then you have the power to re-produce Ronaldinho’s signature moves. I’ll leave Kaz and his team to give you all the details.

I’m a big fan of online. Last year I built Interactive Leagues for FIFA 07 on current gen. Each week I go into a recording studio to record a podcast which is automatically played each time you boot up FIFA on the PS2, Xbox or PC - we talk about the interactive leagues vs. real world leagues and answer questions from the community on gameplay and the future of the game. I think we are the only developers who do this kind of thing. That’s how passionate I am about reaching out and connecting to the online community.

For FIFA 08 we are bringing Interactive Leagues to PS3 and Xbox 360. We also have a new feature called Online Leagues which allows groups of up to 32 friends to create their own league how they want. And I am really excited to share with you our plans to enable you to upload your own highlight videos from instant replay. This works from the instant replay menu and it’s as easy as marking the start and end position of your highlight, choosing your camera and clicking upload. You will have 5 slots on our website and you will be able to choose which camera and which slot and it will upload to it. You then go to the website and you can share it with friends, enter it in goal of the month competitions, and vote on other people’s goals.  

Over the next few months you will be reading posts from other team members. We’ll share our thoughts and talk about the different features we are working on for this year. Check back regularly to read more details in the coming weeks about pro skill moves, podcasts, shooting, context AI, Be A Pro, online play and Interactive Leagues, player ratings and more. If there is anything you particularly want to know about feel free to let us know via the forums at www.easports.com/fifa.

--Joe

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