When EA Sports first announced its Be A Pro feature for the upcoming FIFA 08--a new mode which allows players to take control of a single player throughout an entire offline match--many immediately started speculating about the possibility of online matches where entire teams are controlled by real players. It seems EA has come halfway to that ideal, with confirmation today that the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of FIFA 08 will feature five-versus-five play on a single online match.
The Be A Pro Online Team Play mode will be made available as a free download six to eight weeks after FIFA 08's launch, which is set for Q3 2007. This mode locks a gamer into controlling a single, fixed player for the length of an entire match. Up to five "real" players can be on each team, with rest controlled by the game's artificial intelligence. In a press statement, FIFA 08 producer Joe Booth said this was the first step toward a full 11-versus-11 online mode.
Only FIFA 08 owners in the US and Europe will be able to take advantage of Be A Pro Online Team Play mode, however. An EA Australia spokesman said lag was the main factor in locking off competitors from Australia, as dropped connections will result in all players having to restart the Be A Pro Online Team Play mode. One-on-one matches will still be supported for players outside of the US and Europe.