The FIFA series may have comfortably edged ahead of Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer both in commercial and critical terms in the past three years - but that doesn't mean EA's Vancouver team are any less wary of their No.1 competitor.
Speaking exclusively to CVG, FIFA senior producer David Rutter said that the "intensity of rivalry" between Konami and EA Sports' Vancouver studio "hasn't gone anywhere" - showing a healthy respect for his team's Auld Enemy.
FIFA 11 currently enjoys an 89 per cent average score on Xbox 360 and PS3 on Metacritic, whilst FIFA 10 boasts a rating over 90. Meanwhile, PES 2011 shows a 78 percent average on the two formats - exactly the same as PES 2010.
"I think that anyone that would underestimate the quality of a passionate game developer [like Konami] who really wants to make the best game in a battle like the one we have would be somewhat short-sighted," said Rutter.
"We pay a great deal of attention to what those guys do because we want to make sure we're not caught up to by complacency.
"One of the brilliant things about this team here near Vancouver is that there's a lot of different nationalities on this team, we've all been imported pretty much into Canada because we're the best at what we do in the world.
"We're all mad football fans and gamers so I think those two things plus the fact that we're good and moved overseas makes us naturally competitive regardless of what the competition is; be it Konami or Call of Duty or watching TV, we want to be the thing that more people in the whole world want to do than anything else. I don't think you'll see that motivation drop because everyone here is super-competitive."
Check out our latest hands-on preview of FIFA 12, in which we note that the title has "made significant steps forward in three key areas".
The game is due for release in the autumn on a range of formats including PS3, 360, Wii, PS2, NGP, PC and 3DS. An iOs version is also being developed.
One of the title's flagship new features is its "impact engine", which has been built to improve the variety, accuracy and momentum preservation of on-pitch collisions.