At the end of the game you receive a post match performance report which lists performance criteria and assigns percentages of what you did well and what you need to improve on. If you achieve certain levels you can unlock objectives and achievements inside the game.
The third component of Be A Pro: Offline Training is that you can influence your teammates in a similar way that you can when you play real football. If you want a pass you can shout at your teammates to give you the ball. Simply press the pass button and that puts an icon above your head to tell your teammates that you want a pass. If you want a through-pass you just press the through-pass button and the icon appears. Even if you want your teammates to take a shot on goal you just press the shoot button to direct them to take the shot. If the opposition has the ball you can hit the secondary press button to instruct your teammates to press the player with the ball. We are really trying to re-create that real-world experience on the pitch and create micro-challenges around off-the-ball situations.
We recently announced that we will be creating a free downloadable content update to FIFA 08. This feature is called Be A Pro: Online Team Play. We have this dream that by the year 2010 we will be able to create an 11 versus 11 online experience where every users plays as a single fixed player in a single match.
Our ambition is to create competitions or tournaments around this mode where we can have the best 11 players in each country to playing off against the best 11 players from other countries to determine the best FIFA-playing country in the world. Hopefully it will be England but we will have to wait and see.
Be A Pro: Online Team Play is our second step towards this dream and follows our Be A Pro: Offline training feature. This year in FIFA 08 we will have the ability to connect online ten different consoles for a five versus five game. Each player will be empowered to decide if he is going to play as a fixed player or free roaming players so there will be a lot of strategy to this decision.
For example, on the team I play in at work, we have three players who play as fixed players – one as a striker, one as a midfielder and one as a defender – and two players free roaming. I find this approach the most successful. Some teams in our studio use a diamond strategy where they have a central defender, an attacker and two wingers that are fixed and one free roaming player. Other teams have used two attackers and two midfielders as fixed players, some teams’ use all five player fixed but in this last scenario, you risk possibly having AI controlled strikers scoring the goals and that is a very different feeling.