FIFA 13′s First Touch as “big a change as last year’s Tactical Defending” says producer David Rutter

In football, control is everything. Cushioning every pass more tenderly than you’d cuddle a baby labradoodle is a skill only the game’s very best enjoy. But according to FIFA 12, meaty Peterborough centre half Gabriel Zakuani has the touch of a Bergkamp/Van Basten love child. With FIFA 13’s game-changing First Touch Control, though, Gaby can kiss those perfect takes goodbye. Sorry, Posh fans.

“If you look at how big a change last year’s Tactical Defending was, First Touch is its equal,” says series line producer David Rutter of this year’s headline feature. Watching early footage of the ball awkwardly bouncing away from Drogba at FIFA 13’s reveal event, it’s clear the automatic superhuman first touches of past games have gone the way of the heat-seeking X tackle.

No longer will Accrington Stanley journeymen be able to kill a 60-yard ball stone dead. Instead, only the likes of Messi and Ronaldo can be guaranteed constant, assured control. Thanks to a variety of super-complicated physics parameters, such as the proximity of the nearest defender, the trajectory of the pass or even whether it’s raining, you can expect most players to regularly miscontrol.

Rutter is in no doubt how big a deal First Touch is for the series he’s helped reinvent since FIFA 10’s megaton revolution. “It totally changes the way you have to play the game,” he says. “You have to think about how you’re receiving and passing the ball.” In a nod to the Gaël Clichy Finishing School of brain-addled, petrified defending, the addition of new over-hit passes makes playing the ball out from your back four much riskier. “You’ve got to judge quickly whether or not you’re going to risk receiving the ball while defending or whether you’re just going to kick it straight out because you’re anxious about miscontrolling it,” says Rutter. Personally, we’d always advocate Robert Huth’s ‘when in doubt, hoof it out’ brand of play.