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FIFA Street: Sid Misra Interview

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FIFA Street coverage is gathering steam, with videos and interviews appearing daily. Today is no exception, we recently sent some questions over to Line Producer Sid Misra and here’s what he had to say.

FSB: We were incredibly impressed with the amount of regional detail in FIFA Street during our playtest, how much effort has gone in to capturing the essence of street football from country to country?

Sid Misra: We gathered a lot of reference to ensure we could depict different regions, or specific places, quite accurately.  The goal is to make you believe that you could be playing a street match in that place – they may be somewhat fantastic, but they are always plausible – either because there are real-world examples (like the rooftop pitch) or it’s believable that a tournament could be hosted in that area (like Dam Square in Amsterdam).  This may sound weird, but it was important to us that all the venues at least had a door to be able to enter the pitch!

FSB: Another stand-out feature for us was FIFA Street’s audio. Have the team recorded sound from any real street matches, in real venues?

SM: Yes, we had members of our audio team attend some pick-up matches where they mic’d up the players to make the in-game audio experience that much more authentic.  The impacts with different materials (fence, walls, pitch surface) were also using recorded assets so the user gets a truer experience.

FSB: Game Face is a notable absentee from FIFA Street’s Character Creation, why has this been left out?

SM: This was an unfortunate technical limitation – GameFace currently cannot be shared, so if you tried to download your friends into your team, if they had used GameFace what you would see in your own game would have just been a generic guy that probably looks nothing like your friend.

FSB: Can you give us a quick run-down of the online modes we can expect to see in FIFA Street?

SM: We have brought over the much-loved H2H Seasons mode (called “Street Seasons”) in which you compete in 10-game sets against a virtual leaderboard – the goal is to try and be promoted in those 10-games, or avoid relegation.  We expect players will use their created team in Street Seasons – which will create a lot of variety in the online mode, and an opportunity to see what skills or clothing others have unlocked to hopefully motivate you to level up and get them!  Playing with your club in Street Seasons also allows you to level up your team – so even if you lose, there is still a benefit to having played the match.

OTP is also in FIFA Street – so you can drop in with your created player and join other FIFA Street gamers in a 5v5 street match.

Finally, there are friend matches – invite a friend directly and compete against them in a H2H match.

FSB: Which FIFA Street online mode do you think will become a favourite of FIFA gamers?

SM: Given the success of H2H Seasons in FIFA, I expect this to really take off in FIFA Street.  I think our core gamers will appreciate players choosing their own team and trying to compete – rather than everyone choosing the top 2-5 clubs.  The motivation of being able to level up your own team, win or lose, should be compelling to our fans also.

FSB: Will there be any daily/weekly challenges or featured tournaments in FIFA Street?

SM: Yes, we have weekend online cups that will run for users to jump into and try to get the trophy for.  These are accessed through Street Seasons.

FSB: Can you explain how the recently announced FIFA Street Network, interacts with the EA SPORTS Football Club people know from FIFA 12?

SM: FIFA Street Network is an extension of the EA SPORTSTM Football Club – the infrastructure is same in terms of news and leaderboards, but we have built on a new feature that we think strongly resonates with the culture of street football – the ability to easily share and watch videos of the cool moves your friends pull off in the game.  Video upload has always been a part of our sports titles, but FIFA Street Network allows you to view the videos without having to leave your console.

FSB: We saw friend’s leaderboards for World Tour challenges during our playtest; will these be part of the FIFA Street Network?

SM: It’s part of the same idea – but surfaced in World Tour through the map interface.  The idea is that you can see how your friends have performed in each challenge, and if so inclined, try to beat them at it.

FSB: The Adidas All Star team is a FIFA Street pre-order bonus but do you have plans for any future DLC?

SM: No plans at this point for future DLC.  What we wanted to focus on was delivering a great core experience – I think our fans are rightfully sceptical about delivering a great FIFA Street as we haven’t hit it yet, so we didn’t want to detract from our team’s focus.

FSB: With the worldwide release date edging ever nearer, what are the team working on at the moment?

SM: A little R&R mostly.  Making a video game is a lot of hard work, and the team has done an incredible job of pulling together and delivering this great experience.  At this point they take some time off, or just play the game for enjoyment instead of work – a lot of great tournaments going on in the office right now!

FSB: The FIFA Street Demo is going to be really important to allow people to sample what will be a very new experience for most. How do you plan to show-off the best FIFA Street has to offer in the demo?

SM:  We are confident the gameplay stands tall, which is the single most  important thing a demo needs to demonstrate.  Our timelines allowed us to get a lot of extra polish into the demo that we might not always be able to get – so the gameplay is quite solid.  We have also provided an extended experience by allowing users to basically start their World Tour careers in the demo – you can create yourself, create your team and even start levelling up your team by playing matches.  All the teams created in the demo will be uploaded to EA servers, so the FIFA Street world is populated from Day 1 of purchase.  And your team will be ready to go when you get the full game.  We think that will be compelling to many.

FSB: what advice would you give to FIFA 12 players when they load FIFA Street up for the first time?

SM: Don’t assume you’ll dominate right away!  We had the FIFA Interactive world champion from France at our EAC studios a while ago matched up against an Italian journalist that had rarely played FIFA – competing against each other in FIFA Street.  The Italian journalist ended up winning 4-3!

Our anti-vision when making this game was “FIFA with walls” – we wanted to deliver a brand new way to play football, but keeping in mind that a lot of our FIFA gamers would be interested in playing and can’t be put off by a whole new control scheme… a challenging goal!  So, the basic controls of football – locomotion, pass, shoot – are still the same as FIFA, but we’ve built Street Ball Control and cool skill move mechanics to differentiate and bring you into the 1v1 battles that street football is all about.  Both FIFA gamers and new gamers seem to really enjoy the new game dynamics.

FSB: It was evident that you wanted to separate this game from previous versions of FIFA Street, what were the reasons for that and do you think you’ve been successful?

SM: It’s largely based on feedback – and fundamentally everyone wants a game that plays like a football game first.  Proper locomotion, animations, physics, etc – if the game doesn’t look like football, it won’t be received well.  Building the game starting from the award-winning FIFA gameplay engine was a no-brainer for us.

One thing that the FIFA team at EAC has been able to do well, is deliver an authentic experience that is fun.  So we used that expertise, knowing that consumers wanted to play that experience, and the feedback so far has been quite positive.

FSB: Can we expect to see Ultimate Team for FIFA Street in the future, or is the player pool too small for that to work?

SM: It’s interesting – I think we can separate the game from the mechanic for this one… you’re probably right that taking FUT as-is into FIFA Street might not translate well because of the player pool or even size of your squad; however, the mechanic of getting desirable items through a pack mechanic built around rarity and chance – well, you could imagine extending that beyond players and potentially into rules, boosts, etc… again, before getting too far ahead of ourselves, we must successfully deliver a truly fun, compelling FIFA Street game.  We believe we have, and if the fans agree – we have some incredibly gifted designers that will come up with something great to build into FIFA Street in the future.

FSB: There are no manual, semi or assisted control options in FIFA Street, why is this? 

SM: Simple answer is they didn’t feel necessary for FIFA Street – on a smaller pitch, it feels ok to ask users to be a little more precise with the pad when making passes or taking shots.  With FIFA, with a bigger pitch and more players, it can be more difficult to move up and down the pitch building an attack, so you might need some assistance so you can focus on the right action.  We have done numerous play sessions with beginner to experienced users, and it has made sense to just provide the best gameplay option to the user.

FSB: Will there be a Pro Clubs mode or any other way to play with your friends controlling individual players? 

SM: We have a Friends OTP mode, where you can challenge your friends controlling the players you each created in an 5v5 game (CPU GK).

We’d like to say a big thank you to Sid for taking the time to answer our questions, and the same to Al Reid for his help setting this up.

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