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Whats Wrong With: Replay Theatre?

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It feels like a very long time ago that I posted this about Replay Theatre. EAs attempt at addressing the next gen replay issue was largely a waste of everybody’s time. A great idea that never really got off of the ground. The comments, as well as my initial post, were negative and frustrated, but amongst them there were some good ideas to move things forward:

No limit on number of saves:

For many, this caused the most head scratching. EAs bizarre decision to limit the number of slots was holding the midget at arms length, limiting them to five was kicking him in the bollocks. As covered before, these days, hard drive space on consoles just isn’t an issue, so why include the limit? Each replay currently comes in at 4 meg which is tiny in comparison to even the smallest 360 hard drive (Arcade excluded). I don’t buy the argument that it’s because of the Xbox360 Arcade model. Those who don’t have storage space can’t save the replays to their hard disk. That’s it. Why affect people who do have enough storage space? EA shouldn’t be catering to the lowest possible specs, they should be catering for the highest, and then scaling back to suit the hardware if needed.

Replays need to be longer:

I timed the Xbox360 replay length at 11 seconds. I believe PS3 users got an extra second but I’m not 100% sure of that. Regardless, it’s not long enough to see any real brilliance. You can save screamers, but you can’t capture any of the build up. Look at the systems that Black Ops and Halo have in place and what they are doing with them, the proof of what is possible is there for all to see. I’d love to see the ability to have full matches saved on the cloud or your hard drive that you can go back and review or edit later.

Replays should be replay files not video files:

In the FIFA11 version of replay theatre, the files are saved as video files, not full replay files. This means that if you do want to add a little flair to your replay, you have to do it at the point of saving, further adding to the interruption of the match. At the moment, there aren’t fast forward/rewind controls or even the ability to change the speed that the replays play at.

A common argument is that we had much better replay facilities on older consoles, and a common reply is that the engine now has a lot more going on and couldn’t handle the work. Personally, I think the hardware has grown in line with the software, so it’s not unreasonable to ask why the old way of doing things was canned, again, the FPS market is showing what can be done with current consoles.

Ability to play in full screen:

As with many things it’s baffling that this wasn’t included. There isn’t much else that can be said about it. There needs to be a full screen replay option with decent picture quality in FIFA12. Plus the…

Video Quality needs improving:

Even in the small viewing window, the replay is blurry and frankly, crap.

Faster save process:

The save to hard drive process doesn’t actually seem to be much faster than uploading to EAFW, which I always found to be a complete drag midway through a game. It’s frustrating having to wait so long to get back into the action, especially after pulling off something that was worth saving. As I mentioned above, they are only four meg and the replay is being saved from a fixed angle. I’d be a little more patient if they were being saved as replay files, but they aren’t.

I appreciate that Replay Theatre is a small part of the game for many, and that there are WAY bigger issues to look at, but it still could be doing so much more. We are going to put up a few more posts like this, with the main aim being to gather your ideas and discuss how the “extra modes” like Replay Theatre and Creation Centre and so on can be expanded and improved.

So the above are the things I would like to see changed in order to help Replay Theatre fulfill it’s potential. How many, if any, make it into FIFA12 is anyone’s guess.

I’ve probably missed loads of wants or needs, berate me for it and share your ideas in the comments below.

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