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FIFA 13: First look at Manager Mode, Skill Games and more

We travel to EA Canada to see FIFA's newest features...

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Away from the pitch there's the new manager mode, which is presided over by Santiago Jaramillo, the Lead Modes Producer. Once again, the brief for the developers seems to have been to take what worked so well in FIFA 12 and build on its impressive foundations. As was the case last year, player-managers have to listen to the concerns of their players in order to ensure decent morale and give them time on the pitch to make sure they maintain form.

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This year, however, EA Canada has worked hard to ramp up the level of authenticity in the transfer window. In fact, says Jaramillo, they've completely rewritten the logic that dictates what happens in the game's transfer market.

"Last year, players just had a price tag attached to them and clubs wouldn't really look at how important certain players were to them," he says, "so if another team made an offer and the money was right, they'd go. You'd see a lot of churn in the big names - every transfer window, for example, David Silva would move to a new club."

The new transfer system also factors in aspects such as player form, age, morale, club rivalries and the amount of time a player still has left on their contract. This dictates their price-tag, but managers may have to make other concessions; they may have to, for example, guarantee first team play in the position of their target's choice, and sell players who are competing for the same position in the squad. If they renege on agreed conditions, their new acquisition's morale will plummet and they may even hand in a transfer request.

Like last year, managers can still blur their transfer and salary budgets in the transfer windows to help them secure targets for their club. They can also - in a new feature - offer a player as part of an acquisition bid. The player they offer as part of a transfer has no say in whether they leave the club, although if the deal falls through, their morale may dip significantly.

At pitch level, players who want to advance through the club ranks will have a more realistic progression. In last year's FIFA 12, players could simply create an avatar, decide where on the pitch they'd like to play and then select the club of their choice with no problems. It's a bit different this year, as players will need to ensure their footballer is the right skill level for the club they want to play at.

The example Jaramillo shows is a player who eventually wants to be selected for Barcelona's first team. Since they begin the game at a low level - overall rating 65 - they won't be first choice at Nou Camp for a while. If they sign at Barcelona at the beginning of the career mode, the club will immediately send them out on loan to build up their skills and see how they perform. Alternately, they could sign with a club in a less prestigious league - say, the Vancouver Whitecaps - and prove themselves there before moving on.

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"We didn't want to have the situation we had last year," says Jaramillo, "where you sign for Barcelona, say, and Messi is immediately benched. That's just not real. We'd be giving you an artificial experience."
The biggest addition to the manager/player modes is the addition of internationals.

"The number one request from most players from manager mode would be the chance to manage or play for their favourite international team. That's exactly what we've done this year."
In past iterations of FIFA, players have been able to select international teams for exhibition games and even create their own tournaments to compete in against the AI. However, for FIFA 13, the experience of playing in or managing an international team has been woven into the career mode - provided the player is good enough, that is.

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