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The traditional FIFA/PES battle hasn't been much to write home about over the past few seasons, with FIFA comfortably taking home the title thanks to its mega-selling marriage of cutting edge tech and an unmatched 'feel' for the Beautiful Game. But after years in the doldrums, PES really, genuinely could be back. We sat down with FIFA 13's David Rutter to find out how EA plan to stay on top.
FIFA 12 was perhaps the best football simulation ever made, but some of our readers have said it wasn't as fun as past titles. How would you respond?
I think it's a brilliant game. I've probably put more hours into FIFA 12 than any of the previous ones based purely on the fact I've really enjoyed it. I think by fun, or indeed a lack of it, then maybe it could become somewhat predictable where you could tell what the outcome would be in certain situations. In FIFA 13, when we talk about that battle for possession - and freedom of creativity in attack combining to create this unpredictable game - that will hopefully help your readers with the fun issues they were having in 12.
What are the big challenges when crafting team AI? How can you make it more realistic and error prone?
For us, what we wanted to do was create moments that were not random - that's the wrong word - more like where the outcomes weren't necessarily the ones that you were expecting. We're trying to humanise our AI and create an unpredictable predictability, if you can get your head around that concept.
The tweaked defending and the ability to muscle past players, combined with your AI team-mates who are now making exciting, useful attacking runs off the ball; the new Complete Dribbling, First Touch Control, and even the work we're doing in our new tactical free kicks this year; all of these things go together to create memorable, exciting moments - but at the same time are wrapped up in a very authentic manner that feels true to real football.
Having that as the foundation that everything else is built on is the key part to making things more realistic. Maybe it won't be as exciting this season. FIFA 09 and 10 were very exciting... sometimes for all the wrong reasons. And I think your readers were right when they said FIFA 12 was the best simulation of football we've done - it's certainly my proudest moment so far. I think FIFA 13 is going to take the best of all the past titles and put their features together.
FIFA 12's Tactical Defending was quite polarising last year. How did you react to some of the negative feedback?
It's an interesting one. When we first started talking about it people were like: 'oh my god, what are you doing?' Thankfully, we all loved it and persisted with it. I think it's a lot more engaging when you actually have to think about what you're doing in defence, which is exactly the outcome we wanted.