Riding on the coattails of its best footy instalment in years, EA's taking a new, admirable stance on FIFA development.
By the looks of things, this year the publisher's not just sticking a new number on the box and including the latest kits, but it's inviting fans to the studio, asking for feedback and basically doing a visibly determined attempt at topping PES once again.
We recently sat down with FIFA's British producer David Rutter, who shared his enthusiasm for the new game.
Which aspects of 09 did you want to address straight away for FIFA 10?
Rutter: For me there are three things - well, four actually. One is to get rid of all of the little frustrations that are in the game; goalkeeper errors, trapping errors, some positional weirdness, the odd miss-pass... all those kind of things just to get a good quality game.
The second thing I wanted to do was make sure the stuff that mattered most to the people that play our game was addressed as much as possible. So we spent a great deal of time engaging with our community members, flying them out to Vancouver, getting them in front of early builds and asking what mattered to them.
Thirdly, we wanted to do some really cool work with dribbling. So we've done 360-degree dribbling this year, we've done skill dribbling and then new physical play system.
We wanted to give people the ability to express themselves on the ball better, but we didn't want to obviously break the game and turn it into FIFA 10: Super Dribbling Year.
Lastly as far as stuff that we wanted to address from last year, we've started to really improve Manager Mode, which for me was a little bit disappointing last year.
I think adopting a strategy like we have done with our gameplay over the last three/four years, doing a similar thing with Manager Mode I think we'll start to see some serious improvements this year and in future years.
Can you elaborate a bit more on the "frustrations" you'd like to get rid of?
Rutter: Sure. The frustrations were things we encountered that were repeatable and annoying. A great example would be lofted through balls, which were almost an exploit if you knew how to play them.
Imagine your defenders have gone up for a corner. The corner breaks down and a good player in this situation would be able to ping a really long ball over the top of the entire midfield, land it perfectly at the feet of a striker who'd basically be able to get into a one-on-one situation with the keeper.
People learnt how to do this in our online ranked games, they'd adjust their formation and team tactics to support that style of play.
We really needed to figure out how to fix that and it required a multiple of things. You should be able to make a ball like that but not 100 percent of the time. So we had to incorporate more error into those type of passes for players who weren't good enough. Also if you're under pressure it should be harder to do it.
Secondly we needed to work on defensive priorities. So if John Terry goes up for a corner you need a kind of Michael Essien hanging back to cover his defensive duties to make sure it's not possible to have a lone striker left there to have a field day on the pitch.
Lastly we needed to make sure that the goalkeepers were better able to cope in those one-on-one situations. So keepers now come out a lot more aggressively, they make themselves big and they'll try and get at the ball in those situations. They can also now tip the ball over the bar better and also scramble back and scoop the ball off the line if they're chipped.