FIFA 12 Hands-On Preview: Career Mode and Player Impact

FIFA 12 aims to bring greater depth to its career mode, while improving realism on the pitch with its player impact engine.

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A wise man once said, "With great power there must also come great responsibility." When it comes to the biggest football game in the world, that responsibility is to the 42 million fans who have made FIFA a huge success for publisher EA. And so in FIFA 12 a glut of new features have been introduced, many of which originated from--or were spurred on by--feedback from the community. An improved career mode, a reworked tactical defending system, and a brand-new player impact engine are all about "fulfilling the desires of our fans"--at least according to producer David Rutter. We spoke to the man himself to answer your questions about the game and get a feel for its new features.

Much of the emphasis is on FIFA 12's improved career mode, which promises more depth, particularly for managers. Squads have to be managed more effectively, with players getting upset if they're not paid enough--a true-to-life feature--causing their morale to dip and their performance to worsen. Conversely, AI-controlled managers can come in and make offers for your players, raising their morale but ultimately costing you more money. Youth scouting has been overhauled too, so you can discover young players from around the world and train them up. This ties in to an overall set of enhancements to player growth. Younger players develop faster and carry a higher potential than older players, whose performance worsens as they age.

Transfer deadline day has also been tightened up. More activity takes place during the transfer window, which includes increased media activity in the form of newspaper reports, all designed to increase the amount of feedback you receive on your performance as a manager. All the improvements tie in to the new EA Sports Football Club feature, which is an online service that connects players to a single persistent online profile. You pick a side, and matches played online with that side across FIFA games on Facebook, mobile, or console will award you with achievements and a position on a virtual league table.

While the focus is on career mode, additions have also been made to the game on the pitch, including precision dribbling, tactical defending, and a new player impact engine. Improvements to precision dribbling are subtle but give you greater control, letting you shield the ball from the opposition. Less subtle are the tweaks to defending, which take away the "homing missile" effect that players had when going in for tackles, replacing it with more realistic movements, such as grabbing shirts as players race by and coercing them into dangerous positions.

The new player impact engine provides the most change on the pitch. Gone are the days when players would weirdly merge into each other as they fought for the ball, or pass through each other during sprints. A heavy dose of physics means players crash, fall, and trip over each other during a match. It's impressive to see it in action, and during our brief hands-on, the new animations looked great. Players jumped over downed opposition, while push and pull mechanics saw heavier players given the advantage during challenges.

The new player impact engine lets you leap over downed players.

These improvements are just the tip of the iceberg according to Rutter, and there's more yet to be revealed. As for the problems with rage quitting, Rutter promised that more news would be coming soon, along with further details on FIFA's online modes. We'll be keeping a close eye on FIFA in the run up to release, so keep reading GameSpot for more on the game soon.

Discussion

108 comments
whitebootsLF
whitebootsLF

Can't wait to get my hand on it and enjoy fifa 12. It looks like it was highly improve you can best assure the guys and i will be competing all day long.

978636_
978636_

@jay_french_cool Judging frm ur comment, and the like that u got....I think no one here has read much abt FIFA 12 and its gamescom demo......guys the demo was released b4 they got a chance to edit Rooney's hairstyle......and another reason is privacy....FIFA officials said that the demo doesnt comprise of any kits, updates on player looks....cuz they wanted the season to start! :P

alfkb24
alfkb24

Del_82 I'd love that stuff too! But let's be honest, you're asking way too much! Injuries system sucked: totally true! players get injured a lot in real life and as you said, it rarely happened on FIFA 11. I just want to have a better career mode and this year seems to be the year but every year we got the same feeling, right? then, the game comes out and we still feel something better could've been done... I love what they say about players getting frustrated or mad at you if they dont play and the media pressure too! If these new stuff work at least 60% as they do in real life, it will be a HUGE improvement regarding realism in the career mode!

Del_82
Del_82

what about players in scandals? like a player getting into a fight at a nightclub, and pressure from the media, the league and senior players in the team to suspend him.......the more realism, the better. i love this game but feel career mode is missing something. i played 20 seasons in manager mode in 11, and rarely had an injury that affected my squad, with the difficulty on world class..

straygoat
straygoat

I wonder if they will put in any incentives to NOT play as Barcelona, Man Utd, Real Madrid, or Inter Milan online. It gets boring as hell playing the same old teams over and over again.

Burtonis
Burtonis

I want to freeze myself to make time go faster!

rojbin100
rojbin100

"Gone are the days when players would weirdly merge into each other as they fought for the ball, or pass through each other during sprints" at last i was hoping for this every year when a new pes game was released, i might switch to fifa just for this.

Bluenosedan
Bluenosedan

wats wrong with u all. is it just the penalties are too hard for you or what. i like them there more challenging and give greater pressure not just garanteed top corner every time. why is that so bad ????

misterjc001
misterjc001

Does anyone know if they've done anything to the player/be a pro part of career mode? On FIFA 11 it was just so bad it was unplayable, but i think it could be the best part of the game if they actually put some effort in.

Arrwmkr
Arrwmkr

Ok unless you change the current penalty mode forget it! I'll give Fifa 12 a miss.

unDeny
unDeny

I agree with 'noserag' completely.. We need to see some serious work on bulking up the variety of gfx treats.. Not the core engine per se, which is fantastic.. But its about time we got some silly toys like 'Design Your Match Intro' or just some all purpose beefing up in the 'variety-of-animations' department.. What say you GameSpotters?

rosen22
rosen22

David Rutter is far too defensive on well founded criticism. What feedback is he referring to regarding the Penalty system? Fan feedback? pretty sure that's what the email was bringing to the forum. Get rid of it, its a joke

rosen22
rosen22

David Rutter is far too defensive on well founded criticism. What feedback is he referring to regarding the Penalty system? Fan feedback? pretty sure that's what the email was bringing to the forum. Get rid of it, its a joke

joelrhodes
joelrhodes

@Ayato_Kamina_1 Glad to hear I wasn't the only one :) I only picked them because they were a manager-less team at the time and rock bottom of then league... before long I had a certain Franco Baresi leading the team out to defend their Premiership, FA Cup, League Cup & Champions League medals... Memories! Hehe

c4k0
c4k0

@davidltw02 you gotta admit that FIFA kills PES on the pitch which is where it really matters. if you still choose to play that stupid arcade game after that, then its cool, but dont say PES is better, plz. @Lil_jake17 i totally agree witcha... they should make updates as soon as new boots are available. i actually wouldnt even mind paying for em...

vardarboroa
vardarboroa

fifa is still the greatest football game

shadow551991
shadow551991

believe me if any day PES comes close to FIFA i would go back to pes. yes "go back" because i was a pes player. pes 2011 was my last hope but when i played fifa just once... so closer to real football, where u can put your ideas in players' heads. it's not flawless but if even we put everything aside, in fifa 11 ball doesnt move like it's in mud. and it would be great if any team has its characteristics in the best way possible. in fifa 11 real madrid was the super team... at least we all know about the superb teamwork of barca and it was 83 in fifa 11 and real 82? just 1 point the difference? please fifa fix these too.

ill7ven
ill7ven

As long as it`s not just about database and kit updates, it`s fine with me. Game optimization for PC will be poor as usual.

Skargamer
Skargamer

Wait, this is Kinect compatible? How?

noserag
noserag

Hmmm, new features such as leaping over an opponent and being able to make more team transfer moves and other off the pitch adjustments doesn't grab my attention. I want to see more focus on the pitch going's on and more animation clips of the stadiums, perhaps player scuffles over questionable tackles etc..the game is already visual great add more content around this part of building up the look of the game

ziadpayne
ziadpayne

FIFA SUCKS BIG TIME. P.E.S Rules and don't you dare tell me otherwise

tellzb7
tellzb7

@Wars45 What difficulty do you play on? play on legendary then try it, People always blast fifa in this way but they never play the game on higher difficulties.

jonnycage121
jonnycage121

no frees,no throws no stoppages ,,,just hardcore mode !!!!!!

wars45
wars45

well i was on fifa 11 scoreing from 45 yards out most of the time and thats real football ?

bluestarteam
bluestarteam

The impact engine is so good , But i more expectations from this game , I hope to offer game time , Day by day imporves

Lil_jake17
Lil_jake17

@houdeany aye, but even those adidas' are outdated at least 4 months... but we have a choice of 4 nikes, and only one of the elite series? it sucks, i wear Windchill superfly 2's and have had them for months, but they arent even on the game...

Lil_jake17
Lil_jake17

Something i really want is for the boots to beupdated each month or so, im sick of having the same old outdated boots for example, The cherry superfly 2's? c'mon the have now released CR Safari Superfly 3's... And the adipure 3's? now we have adipure 4's and my favourites adipure SL's... but at the moment im stuck with F50 adizeros instead of F50 adizero primes... just the smaller details to the game throughout support would be nice

MTF2272
MTF2272

They still make games for ps2 ?

rubel101
rubel101

p.s. all the bugs and glitches and there's ton of them out the game.

rubel101
rubel101

id like to see a bloody faster interface for the menus, such an annoyance.

Rajeshthangam
Rajeshthangam

i'd like to see my star ronaldo in my Real Madrid...........lol..

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

@joelrhodes, Lol, i have also spent alot of time building up rochdale! 20 years of football manager at spotland on my CV! Also agree with everything else you said... it's like i posted it myself!

Gerso85
Gerso85

Bringing in Manager mode combined with Soccer they have! & Heyz! pass me e Fifa 12!!!

bandarman
bandarman

Impatiently waiting for this... I hope this time around they make the PC version comparable to the consoles, or I'm not wasting my $50 on an imperfect game.

CWSoccer07
CWSoccer07

@Takashi_Miike, Did I say that the physics engine was built in 8 months? No. I'm saying that with deadlines, you have to realistically try to put in innovative logic in 8 months timespan, regardless of how many years it's been in development (merging it into the current iteration of code and tracking down bugs that arise). That said, you point out minor flaws. Is the AI perfect? No. Do I as a consumer have the expecation of a perfect AI, no, because I know it's not realistically possible to have a perfect AI. Because a perfect AI is imperfect. The best AI would have player ever so often make bonehead decisions (fatal pass back to the keeper with attacker nearby). The point is, it's never going to be perfect. They will fix the issues your talking about and then you'll be unhappy about another set of issues, and such is the cycle of any software development. I will say this, every year they fix the big flaws you are talking about, but every year (while trying to be innovative) they introduce another set of glitches. Glitches that likely don't arise during testing. Some players are like electricy, they follow the path of least resistance. In this case, you have players that follow the path of least skill required (ie, using a glitch). Every game has an exploit, and with sport AI systems, it will never be perfect, one small change can have a butterfly effect on other AI scenarios that were once working as they wished.

978636_
978636_

@planbfreak4eva Man u shud play more often.........stupid gameplay of PES is hated worldwide :P

joelrhodes
joelrhodes

@Stunneronureyez ur criticism of Fifa is childish. U qualify these with a sorta "Mehhh, they promised me Pepsi but only gave me Cola. Now they're offering me Pepsi but I'm over that, I want Coke!"... oh dear! I've been a footie game fan since way back with Kick-Off 2, then Sensible Soccer & SWOS (Amiga) & spent far too much of my teens building Rochdale into a formidable side. Int. Superstar Soccer (N64) one word... "Wow!", was followed by PES (PS2) & now Fifa 11 (360) is king. None of those games were perfect. Whats all this got to do with anything... nothing aside from the fact that I'd love to thank to all of the programmers for my countless hours of electronic footie extacy. But its all subjective. For instance I found GTA4 to be amazing but absolutely hated RDR... go figure. I also think ME2 is a better shooter than GOW2 (that's almost salacious!) and I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would criticize AW! Those 3 games (GTA4, ME2 and AW) as well as RE4 gave me more gaming pleasure than is legal... all had bits and bobs I could criticize (especially GTA4) but whats the point exactly, a great game is a great game. Sometimes a series runs out of steam & the programmers pump out updates that don't deserve to be stand-alone releases (PES) at that point YES even I'd listen to u. As this is not (yet) the case with the current Fifa games u just end up sounding like nothing more than a bitter old man. Sorry dude its true :(

Takashi_Miike
Takashi_Miike

@CWSoccer07 8 Months for a reworked physics engine is not enough. I work in game development. They'll have a team of guys working on that There are multiple flaws that spoil online play. Main gripe is just how bad defenders are compared to strikers. If you get someone play with Spain or Madrid and they play quick one twos it is impossible to stop them breaking through your defense. This is down to the fact that players don't follow runners, which means you have to try and do everything yourself. Because of this everyone plays as Madrid or Spain which then means I have to so i can resort to the same tactics. Every game descends into tedious one twos and ends up 5-5. Take off the ridiculous auto aiming which means you can hit passes with 100% accuracy and force people to play with skill. GKs coming for crosses would be nice as this would stop people from scoring identical goals from corners all the time. Oh and if I'm in control of a defender and tracking a runner, the last thing I want is to have him stop dead for a second as the ball sails over his head. This gives just enough time forRonaldo to break free and use the cheat cross lob shot to score This management nonsense is just to sell the game to people who cant play a proper management sim like FM. The computer is stupidly easy so please sort out the glitches that ruin online play so those of us who are on a different level of ability can have proper games that are decided by skill and not by whose players run quicker

Kevin1985_basic
Kevin1985_basic

PES football is more real? What a joke. I've originally been a supporter of PES since PES 2 or 3 but recently especially PES2010, it has become as unreal as it can get.

houdeany
houdeany

I hope they have more boots.. Nikes in particular. They have almost every colour of Adi's but only one of each style of Nikes.

harshadnaik
harshadnaik

i think they shud add players swap/cash+player option in transfers....

planbfreak4eva
planbfreak4eva

they keep adding all this features but the gameplay is rubbish...fifa. watch closer to pes. they might not have alll this features but most important thing. their football is much more real

Stunneronureyez
Stunneronureyez

@CWSoccer07 Oh I can tell you a thing or two about stupid keepers alright, which is a virus that has spread to the defenders. Thankfully in 11 it seems that the keeper had found an antidote that has been working, but not completely cleared him of the stupid virus. Like I said though I would rather they gave themselves an extra year to concentrate on the production of the game, by releasing a substantial update each year which you buy off the online store. Of course that will lower profits so it would be counter-productive in a financial sense for EA to do that. Which in turn means that the game comes out feeling unfinished with still significantly distractive bugs and glitches. Yes they do get rid of some of them, but more tend to also find their way in there. If you look at my initial post you can see some of my main concerns although they are rather poorly constructed as it was done in haste and in a condescending tone towards EA. I have a whole host of problems with FIFA and can explain them all, but not in a comment which allows 1500 characters only. I could PM you with it if you so wish when I have some more time and you have time to read it.