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FIFA Street: Developer Interview

This weekend was the EA Winter Showcase and the Prince of NGB Mr Asim Tanvir was on site getting his hands dirty with some upcoming bits and bobs. Whilst there, he got the opportunity to catch up with FIFA Street Line Producer Sid Misra, so we sent some questions along with him.

FSB: How are you guys approaching the new FIFA Street, we notice a distinct lack of a “4” from the title?

Sid Misra: So, this is a reboot of the franchise from our perspective. FIFA Street 1, 2 and 3 were not made by the FIFA team, they were not made off the FIFA engine. This is a chance for us to own the product for the first time, Just from that alone, you have a lot of depth that you couldn’t get in the first FIFA Street games. They didn’t have football as an early system, and we all know that the FIFA gameplay engine is highly rated and award winning, so it’s a great place to start from. This wasn’t about putting walls around FIFA; it was about creating an authentic street football experience. It serves as the engine; it’s definitely not the game. Our game is based around street football.

FSB: What mechanics can we expect to see borrowed from FIFA 12?

SM: We have all the latest innovation that FIFA 12 has, so Impact Engine and Precision Dribbling. We’ve kept inline with everything that they’ve done, layered the street on top of it and then presented the user with an accessible way to do the cool stuff like flicking the ball over people’s heads or putting it through their legs. You know…the stuff you want to happen when playing a street football game.

FSB: Can you let us know about any new game modes, offline or online?

SM: The career mode, we’re calling it World Tour. It’s connected, social game mode. It’s online, it’s offline if you want, but the best way to experience the game is when you’re connected. You create yourself and get uploaded to the servers, just like you’re friends and other FIFA Street players. The idea is that as you progress through the mode, you can build a team with yourself or you with your friends, and try to go from playing in your local park to playing in world stage environments like Shanghai or Rio. As you do that, you try to grow your player by being entertaining, so you can unlock better skills and tricks that you can pull off on the pitch.

FSB: FIFA Street will connect to EA Sports Football Club, will we see any new features in that area?

SM: It definitely connects to the EA Sports Football Club. The idea being just as in FIFA 12, as you progress through the game and play it, you earn XP that contributes to your level and identity. There are features that are kind of built on top of that also, but we’re not announcing that until Gary [Patterson] does the producer tour in January.

FSB: Will we be able to use our Virtual Pros in FIFA Street?

SM: Yeah, as soon as you go to create a player, we’ll find your Virtual Pro and ask if you want to import this in. You can start right from your Virtual Pro, but because it’s FIFA Street, it’s a different type of game. What you may have done in FIFA doesn’t really apply, so whilst we want you to have the same look and appearance, you still have to level up within the FIFA Street world.

FSB: How about game to web integration such as creation centre, anything like that planned?

SM: We’re not answering any stuff around that at the moment, but for Creation Centre, no.

FSB: The trailers we’ve seen so far have centred on football being played anywhere, how do you feel you’ve captured that in game?

SM: Yeah, we definitely wanted to convey the idea that it is a global sport. There’s no singular way you play street football, there’s no such thing as one way. For instance, Rio street football is very different to Amsterdam or London.

In Rio it’s a very stylish, almost dance style football, so we’ve created skill moves to support that. In Amsterdam a lot of it is based on the panna, so putting the ball through a guy’s legs, nutmegging him. It’s kind of the embarrassment factor I guess, and we captured that through our easy to grasp controls. In London it’s a more physical game, it’s almost like your taking the club football experience into a 5-a-side setting in a caged environment. Again, the Impact Engine from FIFA 12 lets us create that physical play and you can be a bit more tactical. Ultimately though, it’s up to the gamers how they want to play.

FSB: How will futsal stand out from the other FIFA Street match types?

SM: The idea for futsal is to create a different experience compared to other match types. It’s almost like a graduation point, as you’re going from wall play where it’s not really about the rules and the ball can’t go out of play to a situation where it can. You need to be a bit more careful in how you’re passing and shooting. There’s also going to be fouls, kick-ins and other futsal based rules. You’re going into more of a proper football experience, but with a smaller number of players.

FSB: Will there be street football specific player traits?

SM: Yeah, as you grow your player, the way you choose him defines his traits and overall style. If you want a guy who is balanced, you’re going to put up all his attributes evenly. On the other hand, if you want a player with flair, you’re going to be working on his tricks and skills.

You can definitely create the type of characters you want in the game. If you want, you can have a team that’s all the same or very different, it’s totally up to you.

FSB: Can you give us some more detail on how “wall play” can be used to your advantage in FIFA Street?

SM: Wall play for us is more about the way you would use the wall in real life. It’s not about doing crazy jumps off the wall; it’s about shielding the ball against wall. The whole game is about the one on one situations, so as the defender comes in can you time the moment where you want to put the ball through his legs and make your move off the wall, or will you go for a more simple move to escape? All the time focus on protecting the ball first, and then try to get away.

FSB: Will Tactical Defending make an appearance in FIFA Street?

SM: Yes, absolutely. It’s just like FIFA 12, but because of our experience with the head-to-head aspect, we wanted defending to be an embarrassment factor for the attacker, if you do it well. If your opponent is trying to do fancy tricks, and you put your foot in to take possession, that lets you be the attacker immediately without having to chase the ball.

The same applies to air play too, which is kind of a big thing in FIFA Street. We didn’t want the game to have a cheat or exploit where you put the ball in the air and the defender can never get it. Just like the ground defending, it’s all about timing the header to intercept the ball.

FSB: How do you plan to capture differing team styles in FIFA Street?

SM: For us it’s about trying to nail the individuals, so who are the guys that are a bit more skilful on the ball. You’d expect a midfielder to be more skilful than a defender, certainly a goalkeeper.

Putting the stars in the game is almost like a bonus in our opinion. We’re happy that people like to play with their favourite players and see what they can do with them, we totally get that. However, we’re building the game around the idea that it’s your team, you want to create yourself and you can use that as the entry point into all other modes if you want. Whilst it’s fun to play with the real stars, it’s not realistic to see Arsenal playing on Shanghai rooftops, right? A lot of the authentic street football creates some fantasy with the real stars, but really want to make it about your team.

FSB Would like to extend a huge thank you to Sid for taking the time to answer our questions, and Asim for being Asim.

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