At a recent event, the press were given the first introduction to FIFA 14, and along with our preview we also had a chance to interview Sebastian Enrique, one of the producers for the game. After being shown the game, and witnessing a presentation, we asked Sebastian some questions.
Hopefully you’ll find the questions and answers as fascinating as we do.
With FIFA 13 you straddled the line between arcade and simulation, but the improvements you laid out for FIFA 14 seem to push the series closer to simulation. Is that a conscious decision?
A long time ago our direction was to be a more realistic football video game where you can say the attributes of the players have a strong effect but it’s balanced so the player skills have an effect as well. So you should be smart enough to recognise, or you have the challenge to recognise the strength of the players but at the same time you have the opportunity to play the way you want to play. So we want it to be a simulation that is fun to play.
We didn’t see much about improvements to the passing in the game, will we hear more about that at a later date?
We’re going to be talking about the changes in other aspects of the gameplay in the future. We don’t forget about any aspects of the game, especially gameplay. Even if we don’t talk about some things, it doesn’t mean we’re not changing things. We try to improve things all the time.
FIFA has a huge online following that utilises all kinds of sites like YouTube. Is this something you plan to better integrate into the game?
In 13 what you have is the upload to the EA Football Club website, we’ll see if we can improve it. It is a massive part of the community; a lot of people upload things to YouTube and other places, some broadcasting on sites like Twitch.tv. We know that the online community speaks so that’s what we want to provide with Football Club, the heartbeat of the social network. We’ll see, we’ll try to see what the best things are we can provide that people can use in an easy way.
Ultimate Team is hugely popular and could well function as its own entity, do you think that will ever happen, is it something you’ve ever considered?
I don’t talk for the business brains, I’m just a game developer.
FIFA games currently don’t have the Champion’s League license. Is it something you aim to rectify when and where possible?
In my ideal world I would have every single license ever that exists in the world of football. Even if it’s university tournaments, I’d love to have an accurate representation of everything. Is that possible? It’s difficult.
So do you believe not having the Champions League represents a big hole in the franchise?
It might be, I don’t know. It’s something for consumers to say. There’s not much we can do about it as game developers, I can tell you how licensing works but we don’t have it. The dev team doesn’t have a say, we’re just given what we can and can’t use.
FIFA 14’s changes are more in the details, do you think FIFA is heading towards more of a subscription model with more regular updates to an established core game?
There are a lot of different business models that are appearing now with different games. Like for example FIFA itself there is a different business model in South Korea which is on PC and has micro-transactions involved. So there are different business models that work well in different territories. I think when the time comes that there is a better model that can be applied to FIFA I will be told: “This is the way we are going to sell the game”.
Tiger Woods 14 includes women’s golf and the LPGA, do you think women’s football will ever find a way into FIFA?
It is something we have talked about but there are no plans at the moment. There are lots of things we would have to change though, like the physics would be different, it would affect collisions. There would have to be a lot of new models and hair styles, there are lot of things that are involved.
The thrill of real world football is often in the dodgy decisions and elements of bad luck. Pro Evolution Soccer once had a dive button for example. Has anything along these lines ever been considered for FIFA, or would you rather it was kept a pure experience?
No we won’t have dodgy decisions, at least on FIFA 14, because we want a fair video game. Imagine that you are playing online and have a dodgy decision, what are you going to do, shout that the game is the worst thing ever and you’re going to stop buying it? No, no diving, no bad calls, we respect fair play, so are behind the FIFA banner in that sense. We like fair play and we want whether you win or if you lose to depend on the choices you made.
Do you think FIFA will ever include indoor or 5-a-side, 7-a-side football?
I think FIFA Street is a great football game that people can try out… [He wouldn’t say anything else]
Pro Evolution Soccer was top dog for a long long time before FIFA claimed that position at the turn of the last console cycle. Do you think that with the changes that are coming to the industry that this levels the playing field?
I respect a lot of what Konami does, I respect them as a developer, I respect their game – it’s a good game. I don’t look at them to build FIFA for those kinds of comparison purposes, I just want to make the best game ever. I look at my own house to improve my own house.
So you don’t look at PES games at all?
Well we do look at PES, but with the same level that I will look at Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto or any other game. As developers we don’t just look at football video games, we look at all games so there are good things that can be applied to our game we will take notice. So if I’m playing an Assassin’s Creed or Halo 4 I’m thinking as a game designer and see something that perhaps triggers an idea.
Is there a fear that with new consoles the series might fall back a few steps as you get to grips with this new hardware?
I know nothing of new hardware. What I know is what we’re trying to do on FIFA 14 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC is make the best football video game. We obviously strive for a huge leap forward that will motivate people to buy and to play it.
Finally, ketchup: fridge or cupboard?
I don’t have ketchup in the fridge, I have mayonnaise in the fridge.
FIFA 14 will be released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows PC in Fall 2013.