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FIFA 12: 'It's a massive step forward'

EA's David Rutter on the year's big kick-off...

EA Sports is all-too-aware of the moaners; those fans who begrudgingly hand over their cash for FIFA each year, whilst loudly pouring doubt on how far the series has progressed.

Read our FIFA 12 review.

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Indeed, it's possibly what most drives the game's Canada-based creators on to bigger and better things.

Besides FIFA 12's headline new features - improved AI, collision engine etc. - the studio has worked hard to create a more engaging, reliable Career Mode; perhaps the area that fans found most dissatisfying in FIFA 11.

We caught up with series boss David Rutter to discover which treats lie in wait for the 70 per cent of players who like to get a little more stuck in than just playing exhibition matches...

What's the EA Sports Football Club all about?
You pledge your support to your team and then along with all your fellow fans, everything you do in the game accumulates points for yourself and your team. We average it out by taking the total number of points and dividing it by the total number of fans which gives an indication for the average skill and dedication of a fan. Throughout the week league tables change based on the kind of supporters, skills and dedication. A week is a season, at the end of that season we're promoting and relegating teams based on the skills of the player. So you have this kind of virtual league table based around how good the fans are.

It doesn't matter what team you play with, it is about just you and how good you are at the game against other fans of other clubs.

The other part of it is that it's a live service that we're kicking off this year at no additional cost, the idea being that throughout the duration of the year we'll be taking inspiration from real matches and ripping the headlines out from the pages of the papers and websites and throwing them into the game. A great example that I've been using a lot because it was an amazing day is "you are Blackpool, two one up against Manchester United on the last day of the season, survive the Man United onslaught and retain the Premier League status".

We'll be launching them throughout the year, not just for your own experience points but to also help support your club.

More recently we've been showing the career mode with a focus around the manager. We've completely changed the interface, using more real estate, an e-mail and media system. We've done lots on AI managers, how the buying and selling of players works, and we've totally blown up transfer deadline day, a kind of high-fidelity within that day. There are lots of multiple negotiations going on; curve balls being thrown at you, pressure, stuff inspired by fans and the real world, a Sky Sports News summary thing going on.

We've also implemented lots of new stuff around a brand new youth scouting system. We call it 'Youth Academy' - you can send out scouts and they'll come back with a kind of level of skill of youth players from all around the world. The more you scout them the more information you get.

Are they real life youth players?
Some are, but obviously the further you get into the career we're starting to rebirth people and generate new ones based on a new potential system. The most you scout the more accurate they become but the common thread in the game this year is that if you do something and it's public, the other managers will catch on and latch on. If you find a potentially great youth player that has high potential but you're not quite sure whether it's true or not, and you keep scouting him, the rest of the world will hear and the other managers might start to bundle in too.

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