Creation Centre First Impressions
Sometimes promises made on Twitter are care free or in tongue and cheek. But when I promised Adam I’d create something great for the Fifa community in the all new Creation Centre I knew it had to be special. This article follows that creative journey and the ups and downs of EA’s new online tool.
So having carefully entered my early access code I jumped right in to see what the new mode had to offer. The first thing which struck me actually had nothing to do with Creation Centre at all. On the main screen the Wayne Rooney player model is frighteningly realistic as you can see in the title image. Anyone who used to say “EA can’t do Rooney” can think again.
To begin with I decided to setup my new club, the prestigious FSB EPL XI. It would include some of the greatest players to ever grace the Premier League along with a few cult heroes thrown in to the mix as well. Settling on a 25 man squad, I knew wouldn’t be easy.
I proceeded to fill out the basic details for my team and selected my stadium (Ivy Lane) a classic Premier League replica ground. However my first issue with Creation Centre reared its head when I began to customise my club crest and kit.
At the moment Creation Centre only has 12 club crests to customise which in my opinion is minimal but the most damming thing is that you can’t actually customise them beyond colour. If you’re creating a new club you’re going to want the team name on the crest in some form so not having the option to at least add text was a surprise to me. In addition to that you can only apply two colours, a base colour and a highlight. Now even for the simplest of club crests that’s basic and fairly restrictive.
This same problem also blights the kit creation; again here you are limited to just two colours which you can apply. The number of kit templates available however is good and I was pleased to see Nike, Adidas and Puma kits all making an appearance. But with only two colours to apply to them it really did hamper the design process. I appreciate that Creation Centre is in beta but for elements so simple I expected more.
On a more positive note my team had been created and I was ready to begin assembling my squad.
The player construction is where Creation Centre really picked up for me especially in terms of the player attribute and traits assignment. The sliders and PES style hexagon make balancing player attributes a breeze and real joy if I’m honest. You can really see how each stat will affect your player and you start to notice clear strengths and weaknesses developing throughout the process. Handing Tony Yeboah a rating of 99 for volleys was a particular highlight of mine.
Some people have criticised the attribute assignment for not having a limiter to prevent the creation of maxed out super players. But if your only intention is to drag all the sliders to 99 and hit next, then I’d suggest Creation Centre probably isn’t for you anyway. When this goes live the teams which are balanced and realistic will be the most popular and the 99 overall super clubs will simply fade in to obscurity.
Rather annoyingly the largely impressive player creation suffers from some of the team builders limitations, in this case its player faces. For each ethnicity you have just 8 custom faces to choose from. So in a squad of 25 players the chances are you’ll be re-using one face at least twice. You can change the look of them with hair colour, eye colour and facial hair but at the end of the day it’s still the same face which isn’t ideal. I’m sure this again is down to it being an early beta but it’s disappointing none the less.
The ideal solution would be to have a wider roster of default faces but also a plug-in for EA’s Gamerface technology. That would provide real freedom for those who want to spend the time creating life like representations of football greats. I’d hope this is something EA are considering for the future.
You then move on to assigning your star some accessories like ankle tape, wrist bands and boots. There are a good amount of options here but the only boots available to assign to your player are EA Sports own. This is most likely out of EA’s control due to licensing but I’d really like to see them be more imaginative with the design of their own boots to make up for that short fall.
With my team of Premier League legends now assembled boasting names like Vieira, Shearer, Zola and Adams it was time for some tactical tweaking. In a similar way to player creation the interface here once more really shines. The sliders make tactical changes really easy and I was more than happy with the options available to me. I could also assign specific players to penalties, free kicks and of course choosing a captain. The drag and drop nature of this was excellent and something I’d like to see expanded throughout Creation Centre.
There are no options in Creation Centre to edit formations at the moment but there is a vast array of presets available. Certainly enough to be able to implement the system and style you’re after and based on Fifa10’s issues perhaps having no custom formations is a good thing.
Overall I’m actually pretty pleased with Creation Centre. The flaws it has are not mode breaking for the most part; it’s simply a lack of options letting it down which can be easily remedied by EA. As the beta evolves you’d expect the roster of faces, crests and kits to expand naturally anyway so in that respect I’m not too worried.
What does concern me is the absence of free drawing, image importing, text adding and a league creation option. As we all know Fifa is heavily bound by licensing and for the most part it’s a huge strength of the series but I fear these things may never make Creation Centre simply due to red tape. I certainly hope not because they’d increase the creative experience ten-fold, I guess only time will tell.
Even with some of these limitations it’s surprising just how inventive you can be with Creation Centre given the right mindset and application. The player creation and team tactics at the moment stand head and shoulders above everything else for me due to the simplicity of design and freedom of choice. If EA can expand that to the other areas of Creation Centre then it really will be something special. It’s worth remembering that this is just a beta right now and it will probably remain a beta at launch too. Not because EA are lazy or that they failed to finish but because this is something they want to develop over years not just days and weeks.
The potential for Creation Centre to be a success is huge and I’m really impressed with aspects of it but with licensing in Fifa as it is I fear we may end up trying to create a masterpiece with one hand tied behind our back.
For those of you with early access to Creation Centre you can “Bookmark” the FSB EPL XI now so that it downloads to your console as soon as you fire up Fifa11 on launch day. Just search under “Team Name” for FSB EPL XI or by “Author” for Dave797.