'FIFA 14' Reveal: The Details We Need To Know
Soccer simulation has never been better. "FIFA 13" is arguably the best "FIFA" to date, encapsulating the best part of a franchise that matches "Madden" in both popularity and critical success. But "FIFA 14" is coming. As inevitable as gravity, the next iteration in the franchise has a lot to live up to but do we really want anything to change?
Of course we do. There's always more and there's always better.
Sports franchises rarely change much, but if there's ever an opportunity to do so it's when new consoles hit. The PS4 is coming, this much we know, and Microsoft's next console is likely to find its way onto market around the same time. "FIFA 14" and the consoles are coming this holiday season, it's up to EA to make the most of it. Most obvious is the ridiculous amount of RAM present in the PS4 and the rumored Xbox 720 specs. This means more complex CPU processing can be done at once and individual player AI is the next step. If EA puts the effort into giving each player their own simulated "brain," we may just see the most dynamic sports simulator ever, much less a fun soccer game.
Long-Term Support: "FIFA Forever"
Everyone's had this idea, but maybe it's time EA finally gave in. Every year "FIFA" releases with some new feature, some new statistic, some new arena and some new team, but it's never more than incremental, even marginal, in the way it's changed. Of course, that approach has brought us the ever-improving series, but after a generation of patches, title updates and endless DLC packs, it's hard to believe EA doesn't see the advantage in creating a "FIFA" platform instead of a new game every year. Financially, it could work out for them, though the immediate advantage of charging the same player base $60 every year is tough to avoid. Subscription fees are basically dead, but with the rise of microtransactions and easier-than-ever DLC, does EA really need a yearly release anymore? Of course not, says everybody.
Core Gameplay Upgrades
"FIFA 13" brought us the excellently improved dribbling mechanics and the First Touch Control and "FIFA 12" introduced the Player Impact Engine, all in the name of mixing simulation with reality. There are a million tiny touches "FIFA 14" can bring to the franchise, though a couple come to mind - the goalies, the crowd and the grass. Similar to the next-gen possibilities, using the improved RAM to its fullest can open up a lot of new options. Expanding crowd reactions in real-time with the gameplay, providing goalies with the most realistic AI ever and programming terrain that morphs over the course of a match can all work towards that never-ending goal.
"FIFA 13" let players yell at the screen and make actual things happen with Kinect. That's awesome, let's do more of that. Move support was a bit underwhelming, but with the PS4's upgraded camera and native functionality, perhaps EA can stabilize it with Kinect and make both platforms as fully-functional as possible. Same goes with the Wii U's Gamepad, which may just be the best play-making gaming device ever created. There's potential in all these soon-to-be native technologies in next-gen gaming.