In the pre-pandemic prehistoric era, there was reassuring predictability for the annual E3 FIFA reveal. First, an EA Sports producer spoke at length about this year’s marketing buzzword, which somehow made FIFA sound less like an exciting soccer sim and more like a reliable mid-size sedan.
Next came a litany of micro-enhancements for the accuracy with which real-world stadiums, officially licensed merchandise, and the abs and tatts of star players are rendered in-game. Almost all of these are imperceptible to the human eye, but in their sheer numbers, we’d be assured that they would represent the most realistic video game representation of the beautiful game yet.
And then the climax: a short hands-on session with half-finished code that played out much like last year’s installment, but at half the speed, and—at least in this correspondent’s experience—almost always ended in a slightly humiliating public defeat Creators out an old-fashioned hinterland of mainland Europe.
We are therefore pleased to announce that life has found a way in the Covid era. Sure, the producer presentations were delivered over a video link, and this time the humiliating caning was performed by my teenage son in our living room rather than in a demo pod at the Los Angeles Convention Center, but in every other respect the FIFA 22 reveal was a textbook. The UK even created a heatwave to replicate the sweltering conditions of midsummer in LA.
It inevitably starts with HyperMotion, the next-gen exclusive (sorry PS4, Xbox One, and oddly PC gamers) technology that EA Sports’ likable gameplay lead, Sam Rivera, has allowed his team to break through its previous tech ceiling .
The processing power of the new consoles has been harnessed to transform the FIFA football brain, effectively moving from something that was once reliable but now seems treacherous, like Roy Hodgson, to the sleek and supercharged synapses more befitting Gareth Southgate. The game’s tactical AI is now making over six times more decisions per second, which should result in smarter runs, better defensive form, and Harry Kane no longer taking corners.
Machine learning – hugely popular in the tech world in terms of fashion ubiquity – has also been used to take advantage of over 4,000 new player animations resulting from EA Sports’ first attempt at full 11v11 motion capture (previously a handful of them) were won footballers re-enacted scenarios on a sound stage during the game). This, Rivera explains, should mean the virtual FIFA players should look and act more like real people, adjust their body shapes more naturally and elbow each other in the face while jostling for headers.
A complete rewrite of FIFA 21’s unpredictable goalkeeping AI and balloon-like ball physics is likely to be popular with returning players. A feature dubbed “Explosive Sprint” may not be… The pace was so fractured in FIFA 21 that players transitioned to playing fleet-footed full-backs down the middle of the defensive line to keep up with turbocharged attackers. Giving the latter even more license to rush past sluggish defenders calls for trouble – even as Rivera assured that they were monitoring development to ensure the feature wasn’t overwhelmed.
Perhaps EA Sports is also secretly hoping that players will be too excited about the new improvements to Matchday presentation to notice. At one point in his section, FIFA Broadcast Experience Director Fab Muoio even introduces the game’s next-gen mesh physics, which he says adds “great visual elasticity.”
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gaming/features/fifa-22-hands-on-preview-hypermotion-machine-learning-next-gen/ how HyperMotion, machine learning and next-gen net physics are shaping the new season’s game