Think of all the cups you can win in life: The Stanley Cup, Badminton's Thomas Cup, Basketball's World Cup, The Quidditch Cup… there are even winnable cups for Indoor Cricket. Still, the one Cup that captures the world's attention is the FIFA World Cup, held every four years (rotating every two with the women's tournament), it's an international sensation that, as Electronic Arts Line Producer Matt Prior said, "brings countries to a stand still." FIFA's brand nearly outshines Madden these days, with a massive demographic surrounding the sport, but we had a chance to hear all about the game the team has made in anticipation of Brazil's 2014 FIFA World Cup.
While the tournament game could use the standard building blocks from FIFA 14, Prior highlighted the fact that about 50% of consumers who buy the World Cup video game don't actually play FIFA's yearly installments. The challenge EA faces in capturing Brazil's massive tournament is catering to that 50% while ensuring that diehard FIFA fans get a special experience too.
Prior highlighted a few ways they've kept less experienced footballers in mind. Brazil FIFA World Cup 2014 will not release on either next-generation console. Prior said with bigger audiences on Xbox 360 and PS3, it just didn't make sense to force World Cup onto next-gen. This means the impressive EA Sports Ignite engine will not render the action on your screen as you take your favorite club to Brazil and into the history books.
"We want to get [the game] to as many people as we can," Prior said. That meant emerging markets like the World Cup's home this year. "There are crazy tax laws in Brazil and putting the game out on PS4, for example, would alienate the host nation."
Beyond that, Prior noted a two-button control scheme that will simplify the controls you need to remember in order to dominate the pitch. Two-button passing and shooting will allow anyone to pick up the controller after a watching a heated competition to settle the score and determine which fan has the guts to change the real-world outcome. Prior said that experienced gamers will want to avoid this scheme as it takes away from the developer's work on responsive dribbling, pinpoint passing, and movement. "We directly addressed control lag so players are interacting with the ball on their feet a lot quicker and everything feels a lot tighter."
Another new addition to the World Cup game is the ability to head the ball over your opponent's back. Penalty kicks have better saving animations and goalies won't just flop towards the shot. They'll actually reach up or out to make a difficult block. If they're behind the shot, they'll do what they can to change direction and make the save. With silly animations like bull-fighting poses and wobbly legs, it might be best if your keeper stays on point or else their best efforts will be too late.
Finally, Prior highlighted the work the team has done to accurately simulate the Brazuca ball, the specially designed soccer (don't hate me) ball for the World Cup. It's visual design looks totally original, but EA's engineers actually took it into a wind-tunnel to test how it flies, spins, and reacts to kicks. With FIFA's sport-sim market domination on the rise, EA could have another World Cup title that positions the brand for a massive new year on next-gen consoles.
FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil will land on North American shelves April 15th. The title will be out on the 17th in Austrailia and Europe, while Japan will get the title on April 24th. You can pick it up (with your feet) on either PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. A demo is available for download now.