To compliment our UEFA Euro 2012 Review and as part of our launch day coverage we manged to grab some time with the man behind the European adventure, FIFA Producer Seb Enrique. A lot of these questions were taken directly from you guys, so have a read and hit the comments with your thoughts.
Massive thanks Seb for taking the time to answer our questions and as always to Romily Broad and Alistair Reid.
[FSB] How did you go about capturing the match atmosphere of UEFA Euro 2012, did you visit any of the stadiums in Ukraine and Poland?
I did not personally but we had a lot of help from UEFA and the EA team from Poland. They were key to be able to build the stadiums as authentically as possible and to capture the right atmosphere. We even recorded crowd audio, sounds, and chants from some games there and we used some of those in the DLC.
[FSB] The UEFA EURO 2012 menu presentation is fantastic, how much emphasis did you give this?
Thanks. We put a lot of emphasis on the presentation of the game. We really wanted to give it the right feeling and capture the pageantry and unique feel of the tournament. The goal was that from the moment you enter EURO 2012 from the FIFA main menu and see the intro video, you should feel you are right in the world of the tournament. The bold colours and style that UEFA is pursuing with this edition of the tournament helped us a lot, as it clearly identifies right away with the tournament.
[FSB] Have you managed to squeeze in any FIFA 12 gameplay tweaks with UEFA Euro 2012?
We made the decision early on that we were not going to change gameplay. FIFA 12 gameplay is 90-rated and great, so we really didn’t need to do gameplay updates just for the sake of doing them. We felt that instead of spending our time doing minor updates or changes in that area, it was better to provide new experiences with game modes like Expedition.
[FSB] How long has UEFA EURO 2012 been in development?
The project manager, technical director and myself starting on this in April 2011. From there we assembled the team and worked closely with the FIFA team and UEFA to build this fantastic game.
[FSB] The commentary seems to be tied in really well to what else is happening in the competition. Was this easier to achieve with a smaller tournament as opposed to something larger like Career Mode?
Our audio guys are amazing and do better and better things every year. While Career Mode can play for multiple seasons, the EURO tournament is much more self-contained. This allows us to record a fairly manageable amount of commentary that would be relevant to what most gamers will encounter. That contrasts with Career Mode, where they have to deal with a literally infinite amount of ways a gamer experience can go. But the new audio, along with the authentic crowd chants and other new pieces, have come together really well.
[FSB] How often and how fast will UEFA EURO 2012’s real challenges get fed in to the game when the tournament is live in Ukraine and Poland?
I can’t promise any frequency at the moment, but trust me we are going to do them as frequently and as fast as we can. Creating a scenario involves many things, like selecting the right scenario, doing the localisation, and then testing before it’s injected into the servers for everyone to enjoy.
[FSB] Captain Your Country has been a staple of the EURO and World Cup games for the last few titles, why has it been dropped for UEFA EURO 2012?
Captain Your Country was a really good game mode, one extremely connected to national pride. In EURO, we offer other game modes like the offline and online tournaments where the national pride element is really strong, too. We favoured creating a new experience, a fresh take on football videogames, like Expedition.
[FSB] Expedition Mode was an unexpected surprise for us, what is the team’s vision for this new mode?
Designers and creative directors that are part of the FIFA family back at EA often get together to brainstorm what new things we could do in the world of football. It’s been quite some time since we have considered bringing the strategic elements of board games into a football-related game mode, and we thought that EURO 2012 was the right opportunity for it. It also allows gamers to get to know all the nations and plenty of players in the EURO 2012 world. It’s a fresh take, to innovate, renew and refresh football videogame experiences.
[FSB] There are no qualification stages in UEFA EURO 2012, was that a conscious decision or a limitation of DLC?
We analysed the data of past games like World Cup and EURO 08 and most people usually jumped directly to play the tournament finals. Implementing the qualifiers is not a straightforward thing, so – after looking at what gamers enjoyed most – we decided that we could use that time better to improve the Expedition game mode.
[FSB] Was there anything else you wanted to do but couldn’t because of DLC limitations?
Limitations don’t just apply to DLC, but we needed to make sure that the gamer’s experience with the DLC was appropriate. In the end we set our own limitations to focus on user experience. One of those, for example, was the file size. We set a specific target for the DLC size because we didn’t want people to wait for ages to download the DLC.
[FSB] UEFA EURO 2012 is FIFA’s first genuine game mode to be offered as DLC, why now and why UEFA EURO 2012?
I like to call it the first game inside a game – it’s much more than a game mode! Many factors contributed to the decision. One of the most important ones is that our fans were looking for new things to extend their FIFA 12 experience. Checking our forums and listening to feedback from our community tells us that pretty clearly. Another contributing factor was having a great game like FIFA 12, which is a successful game from every angle you look at it. It’s a bold move going digital, but we thought it was the right opportunity and one that we hope our fans embrace.
[FSB] If the UEFA EURO 2012 DLC is successful could this pave the way for FIFA to be expanded with new game modes in future releases?
We can’t predict at this point what our future plans hold, but what I do know is that delivering EURO as a DLC will provide us with lots of learning about how to deliver these kinds of services to our fans down the road.