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David Rutter: 'There is so much more I need to do with FIFA'

The executive producer of FIFA 13 discusses future tech, modular enhancements and Kinect swearing

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In terms of formats, have you confirmed FIFA for Wii U?

Not at the moment.

Are you personally interested in it as a system?

It's pretty exciting actually. I've been talking to a bunch of the guys about the games that they're working on here, and about what they want to do with Wii U or with SmartGlass and stuff like that. And if you look at it from a different perspective, I'm not going to tell you exactly what because it's kind of competitive advantage, I think there were a few kind of 'wow, that's a pretty cool way of looking at it' moments, so that idea of a second screen, I think it has some really, really big positives.

So it could potentially be applicable across multiple devices?

Totally, and if you look at FIFA as a game, with Kinect we've got the ability to do tactical changes on the fly with our voices, maybe that's something you could do with that, or maybe you could go a different route, something like Dead Space or any of the other games we're making, there's some really cool things you can do with it.

Will you be able to play two versus two online?

We're not talking about online at the moment. That's not got an embargo date at all yet, but suffice to say we've listened to people asking about that a lot.

Will you be able to manage an international team in Career mode?

Yes.

Will you be able to save squad formations and line-ups for online matches?

We're not talking about that at the moment, but we've heard that lots throughout the year.

Will you be able to change job mid-season in Manager mode?

Yes.

Will you be able to play as Shakhtar Donetsk?

I've no idea. I would need to double check. I'm pretty sure that most of the teams that aren't in the game you can download from Creation Centre now, some people have spent a great deal of time doing it, so they'll be pretty authentic if they're not included.

Why aren't Laurent Koscielny's stats better?

I've no idea. I'm not responsible for the statistics.

If you went back to last year and looked at defending again, would you still implement it in the same way, or have there been lessons learnt over the past 12 months?

We're pretty happy with it actually. I think the by-product of defending from last year, there were two parts really. One, when launching a tackle with Tactical Defending, you were left high and dry with a badly timed tackle, which really penalised you quite a lot. And the second part was actually in attack - what you ended up with was a lot of time on the ball because of the Tactical Defending and no team mates supporting you in attack, so we've done work around both of those two things.

I can see the logic of wanting to swing away from what is effectively the homing missile style of tackle where you'd call in the other guy and he'd just whip the ball away. Yet I felt like FIFA 12 had swung too far in the other direction, insofar as shooting required just one button yet defending asked too much from the player.

Interestingly, when we put in, we did have the option to switch back to what we called Legacy Defending and literally no one did, so our takeaway from that is either that that menu is rubbish and people didn't know where it was, or actually people did enjoy it, and I think as a game change it was definitely that. I think that launching a tackle inappropriately is something we've done a lot of work on this year, so the whole push pull mechanic of being able to do that, and the ability to kind of step across in front of players when they're coming at you really does eradicate those kind of moments when you're left stranded.

One thing that was taken away from E3 was that it looks like all third-party publishers are ready for next generation consoles. How much is your team now focused on the next generation?
For the FIFA team, we haven't got to a point where anything we've wanted to include in the game hasn't been possible. In the past, when we've decided not to include something it has not been because of technological limitations.

So we're still doing some pretty amazing things in our game for current generation technology. We are in a great position to approach technologies in a very modular way; essentially ripping out features and adding new ones in.

All of this was possible because the way our game code is structured. So, theoretically, we could adapt to such things on more powerful systems. But it's not something we're doing at the moment.

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FIFA 13 iOS edition

Is there anything you would like to do with the extra memory and processing speed of next gen systems?
Well I know what everyone wants us to do, which is make the crowds look good. Our crowds are not that great, but improving them is not a priority on our list of things we need to do. Having more power would probably allow us to do that as well as a number of different things, but for now we are just focused on our current project.

This is your fifth main FIFA project since you joined. Is there any danger of getting bored?
No. I mean, I've been making football for something like seventeen years now. I've had five brilliant years at EA. I'm a big football fan. I'm a big gamer. I couldn't hope for a better job to be honest. And when you look at football, and what it is as a stimulus for everyday life, I mean, who could ask for more?
There is so much more left to be done. Being surrounded by the most amazing people doing that, for a living, in a beautiful place, what's not to love?

The talk among CVG is that Pro Evolution Soccer has awoken from its slumber and looks to be ready to bring more challenge this year. Have you seen the game and what do you think you need to do to stay ahead of it?
I've seen not much other than what's available on the internet. I'm not really too worried about what the PES team is doing right now. I'm hoping to get a couple of days of it at Gamescom to see for myself.

Is there a danger that, because FIFA is a complete package already, there's little option for you to do more than tweak around the margins?
So yeah, we're not going to tear the whole thing up, but this year we've worked on the dribbling, we've rewritten the attacking AI behaviours, tactical free kicks has new elements to it, career mode has a ton of new features.

Finally, why do you play videogames?
Wow, erm, I play videogames because I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't. It's my longest hobby, along with football.

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