FIFA 14 on PS4 is “vastly different” to PS3 says Rutter – the next generation of football explained
Rest easy, footy-loving early PS4 adopters. EA Canada has no plans to hurl a slightly shinier port of PS3 FIFA at you like a deeply cynical Rory Delap long throw. As we sit down with executive producer David Rutter, he leaves us in no doubt about the differences between the current and next-gen versions of the colossal soccer series. “Put them side by side and play them one after the other, then you realise how vastly different they are. It’s remarkable.”
FIFA 14 on PS4 is “vastly different” to PS3
Powered by EA Sports next-gen Ignite engine, FIFA 14 has a platform to rifle in a 35-yard screamer on PS4. And Rutter has no plans on missing. “PlayStation 4 gives us the ability to render with more fidelity. We’ve got roughly ten times as much animation in the next-gen version,” he confirms.
FIFA 14 is focusing its key improvements around three crucial gameplay pillars. At the heart of everything is Precision Movement, a system that looks to revolutionise player actions through new locomotion mechanics. This is backed up by Pure Shot, which vastly improves striking thanks to a raft of new animations. Then there’s FIFA’s new Living Worlds, a next-gen exclusive feature aiming to capture the essence of storytelling in football like never before.
These are big summer additions, no doubt. Yet EA excels at talking an incredibly good game. So much so, it somehow manages to convince you the already brilliant FIFA 13 you’ve been happily playing this past year is actually a bit rubbish compared to this season’s successor. In this case, though, the changes are readily apparent, and almost entirely for the better – especially when going hands-on with the PS4 version.
“You can take shots in places that
weren’t there in previous generations”
Over the matches we play, the sensation of leathering a spherical pig’s bladder with a pampered millionaire is gloriously crisp. Pure Shot recreates that instant connection with a ball you’d associate when watching real-life screamers. “You can take shots in places that weren’t there in previous generations,” says Rutter. “On next-gen, shooting has the full power of Ignite behind it, so you’ve got tonnes more animations in there. We’re really pleased with the synergy between the build-up to the shot and the connection actually happening.”
Ball physics have been thoroughly revised. If you find yourself running on to a pass with a top striker or attacking midfielder on the edge of the opposition’s box with a few free yards, you’re likely to unleash a ferocious net-rippler. Long-rangers now curve and dip in the air more realistically, while Knuckle and Balance shots also beat the D-day deadline. The former recreate Ronaldo’s dipping free-kick technique, but Balance shots are more interesting. In the past, if you started to stumble while hitting the ball you could expect a row Z-botherer. Now, better players are able to squeeze away on-target efforts even if they’re tumbling at the time.
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While improvements in shooting provide a tactile evolution of what we’ve seen from FIFA in the past, Precision Movement aims for full-blown revolution. Producer Kantcho Doskov says “Locomotion is the lowest-level system in FIFA gameplay, meaning it affects everything else – you change the locomotion system, you have to rebalance dribbling, positioning, first touch. All the other systems hinge on player movement.” And it really does work, with additions such as players now using the ball’s momentum to allow it to run across them rather than having to take a first touch. Collisions are also far more realistic: take a light knock and your running stride may be interrupted, but sometimes you’re still able to keep the ball and regain your footing, holding off your challenger in the process.