FIFA Soccer 08 First Look

We try a work-in-progress build of EA's next soccer offering on the Xbox 360.

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Subtract all of the managers, trainers, administrative support personnel, and entourage hangers-on and you've still got 15,000 players in FIFA Soccer 08, EA Sports' next game in its long-running soccer series. That's more or less the population of your average small town, stuffed into the code of the game--and a number that's roughly 20 percent bigger than that of last year's FIFA 07 on the PlayStation 2. At a recent press event at EA Canada, we got an early peek at FIFA 08 to see how the game is coming along.

That huge population of real-life playing talent in FIFA 08 is a result of more leagues being added to the series than ever before. Producers said they are aiming to have more than 30 leagues in the game--including Italian Series A, Bundesliga, Spanish Primera Division, Mexican Primera Division, English Championship, English Division One, and, naturally, the English Premier League.

Practically all of EA Sports' multiple franchises have the FIFA series to thank for their next gen animation systems.

To put those 15,000 players to good use on the pitch, the developer behind the game has taken time to examine that very basic aspect of the game--the shot. The focus on the shot comes as the next stage in the series' development toward a more realistic approach to the sport--with things like independent ball movement and improved player animation being hallmarks of the progress so far. As opposed to canned shot animations, FIFA 08 is working to add more variety to shots than ever before. For this year's game, the success or failure of a shot will depend more than ever on the force you apply on the ball, coupled with the skill of the player who is doing the shooting. A shot with spin, for example, is going to travel a much different arc than one without; in addition, factors such as air resistance and backspin will also alter the path of the ball through its arc. As a result, you can expect to see multiple shot types off your player's foot depending on the situation.

Since its migration to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the FIFA series has come to be the standard-bearer for player movement--so much so that practically all EA Sports games, from Madden to NBA Live, are now using the improved player animations that had their beginnings in the FIFA series. That improved branching animation--which basically provides more points for a player's movement to react and change--will work into the new shooting system as well. A player dribbling at a full sprint, for example, only to stop, turn, and shoot the ball, will have a tougher time finding his target than a player who has a wide open, straight shot to the net. In the game, tougher shots will be recognized as such thanks to a shooting meter that reacts to the situation on the field. Depending on the offensive player's skills, his defensive pressure, and other factors, tougher shots will cause the shooting meter to fill up more quickly than a typical shot.

While the rest of EA Sports has borrowed the animations from FIFA, the soccer series isn't above borrowing some ideas from other games. Take, for instance, the new "Be a Pro" mode, a simplified, soccer-centric version of the Madden NFL series' superstar mode that will be available only in offline exhibition games in FIFA 08. Here you'll play the position of one player--from striker to sweeper--on the field and will be responsible for his assignments and roles accordingly. As you play, the camera will follow you on the field (complete with a Gears of War-inspired chase cam when you break into a full sprint with the ball) and will pull back to show you more of the field to give you a general idea of where you need to be. In addition, helpful arrows will show your areas of responsibility on the pitch and, additionally, which members of the opposite team you're assigned to cover. At halftime you'll get a feedback on your progress as a player, and after the match is over, you'll be ranked depending on how much you contributed (which will also tie into the 360 version's achievements system).

Wayne Rooney will have moves in FIFA 08 that might not have been possible before.

While Be a Pro mode will be limited in FIFA 08 (no online play and only in exhibition mode), producers said they are very excited about the possibilities the feature holds for the future of the FIFA series. Specifically, they referred to the ultimate goal of having 11-on-11 play online in the series--something that's unfortunately still a few years away.

The preview version of the game we played featured Barcelona's great Ronaldinho on a nighttime pitch, and it let you move the great attacking midfielder around and take shots on a goalkeeper. Playing the game, you'll quickly get a feel for the improved locomotion of the player, as well as the improved trick system that borrows a page from the trick system in NBA Street HomeCourt. No, you won't see players doing triple back flips on their way to the goal, but rather the way in which you link various tricks such as step-overs, passes, and jukes will be feel more organic and natural than simply the canned animations of the past. The GOW-style chase cam is a fun addition, too--as you're running at top speed, you'll be less agile and less skillful with the ball until you break out of the sprint. The game is also looking nice, with the dramatic lighting and detailed player models that you've come to expect from the series. Of course, the demo featured only one player on the field (other than the goalkeeper), so we're curious to see how it will run once the pitch is filled with players. FIFA Soccer 08 is currently scheduled for release this fall, and we'll be keeping you abreast of its progress throughout the year.

Discussion

151 comments
EA_GaMeR
EA_GaMeR

should fix teh shooting first!!

StarOceaner
StarOceaner

On the cover should've been Zinedine Zidane headbutting Marco Materazzi.

John1059
John1059

Rolnaldinho is on the cover?!?!....pah!!...should be Ronaldo or Messi for sure..suppose it doesn't matter... but eh...Also I'm with dds, they should focus on what they have and improve that rather than wasting their time on adding every league possible in the world, plus the people that buy it will most lilkely be playing as the Premiership, Serie A or La Liga clubs most of the time anyway.

River_Horse
River_Horse

Dorks, its called football not soccer

River_Horse
River_Horse

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

slimezombie
slimezombie

Let me tell you something, and probably you all will follow me, but I feel fifa, like a series of independent games. What they should have is a real life experience game. Either as a coach or as a player (since I read they now gonna have a ...so long lifetime wait (it was about time)... ONE - single of the eleven that made the roster- player mode. This means that if you choose a coach, you have your team, such as Pachuca de Mexico, and play your league, then in between play qualifying games for the Copa Libertadores (known as Interliga) a series of 6 games, then if you qualify, play the Copa Libertadores, also in between play the Copa Sudamericana, and Copa de Campeones de la CONCACAF, and if you win the latter play in the World Cup Club Championship. This seems like lots of games, but hey, that is the SCHEDULE for Pachuca this season, and it will be great if you can play something like it in the game, but all linked, where you players show fatigue and are affected in the tournaments....Because I know you can create a tournament and name it whatever comes to mind and play but the real thing will be a REAL LIFE CAMPAING. On the other hand if you choose a Player Campaing, you need to practice improve your skills in training, be called by your coach in and out of the game depending on your gaming or team needs (yes it will be frustrating just like real life, of course there might place an option where you just play without any changes if not called by you...not by the A.I.), and also, if playing good, called in for international matches...and such as friendly and/or world cup qualifying and 'yes'...play in the World Cup. Of course, lets say you start in a "B" class team, second division of your country, you are hired by a team in your country, then depending on how well you play, you are offered contracts by other teams that might include or not teams in your country (someone might offer money to play for their national team before you play an international game with your own national team). Now that's what I call a real life soccer experience! Think about that!.

dds10mu
dds10mu

They do need more tricks but how many leagues can they put in the game? I suppose you want the league of extraordinary gentlemen to play as well. It's a good series, they need to improve what they have and then add.

GTAfan88
GTAfan88

dude they should add argentinan league and the copas libertadores de america wich is the tournoment that takes you to the world club championship in december then add the best club of every other south american country, and tricks add some nice trick please

Nene33
Nene33

What does that mean... "Be a pro-mode" is a simplified version of Madden's Superstar-mode(which RULES)? Shouldn't it just be a Fifa version of Madden's Superstar mode.

bexleyabc
bexleyabc

Yeh i wod like to be able to create-a-stadium like in madden, this feature wod be great. Also i hope there are more leagues and much better tricks to perform. I dnt get that be a pro mode does it mean you can create a character or just play with a present footballer.... I wod like to be able to have a be a pro career mode so you be a get signed up by a not so good club then as you get better and more skillful the bigger clubs will come looking 4 you!! that would be great.

Keith4Chelski
Keith4Chelski

They best have all the European football leagues in it no one really cares about American 'SOCCER' League Pfff if thats what you call it just rember an Englishman created FOOTBALL!! And only ignorant people call it soccer!!

LinkBOX
LinkBOX

Also, they need to add Long Haired Beckham (lol) They seriously need to redo their trick system, It was somewhat confusing on 07....

Darsh7
Darsh7

They need to add the A-League

GTAfan88
GTAfan88

and trick dont forget ricks

ChrisBoi17
ChrisBoi17

I just hope this Fifa will have all the teams not like 07 on the Xbox.

majestikk
majestikk

So far my favorite FIFA is FIFA 06 on Xbox, so I'm hoping FIFA 08 gets things done right because FIFA 07, wasn't a huge leap from 06

colombian_24
colombian_24

can u be a pro with a goalkeeper? dont know how that would work.

GTAfan88
GTAfan88

i hope for more leagues and i hope fifa put some tricks to the player to add the game more fun like the elastico from ronaldinho pedala from ronaldo and c ronaldo and as the brazilians call it canetas or panas or some what easier to understand pass the ball between defenders legs, even though its not fifa street thats happens in real game situation so they need to add tricks to the player not just stop n go BUT ACTUAL TRICK!!

EL_Punisher85
EL_Punisher85

sweet i cannot wait untill this fifa 08 edition comes out and hopefully they would add all the leagues this time, because like SOMEDUDE242 says there is only a few legues and well we hope to see all the legues ok and by the way this one looks awesome cant wait to get it! PEACE!

somedude242
somedude242

I just hope they add the A-League (Australian League) into this version coz i would love to play as Melbourne Victory... The thought of playin as Melbourne Victory... AMAZING!!! Well actually i really hope they add alot more leagues into this version coz fifa 07 on the x-box 360 only had like 5 or sumtin leagues.... :( and im gettin sick of alwayz having to pick someone from the Premiere League i really wanna play as Melbourne Victory from the A-LEAGUE... NOT LIVERPOOL FROM THE PREMIERE LEAGUE.... thats not to say that liverpool r a bad team.. they are my favourite club from the Premiere League but its just i wanna play as Mebourne Victory so yer anywayz... I just hope they add more leagues... PEACE OUT!!!!

Farooq14
Farooq14

I think ea may just pull it off this time with fifa 08. I play both pro evo and fifa i play them both and have come up with a pretty fair rating of the game. Pro evo is the more realistic of the the lot but it aint as fun as fifa when you play against a friend. The problem with fifa is it jus needs to make locomotion animations smoother and much more realistic for example shooting animations: The guy hits the ball with the outside of the foot and it curve toward the inside thats wrong. In pro evo shooting isnt that perfect either. But judging from the teaser and the pics the way the players are moving seems pretty realistic. I think fifa might beat pro evo this time, but i can be wrong i remember when fifa 07 was set to come out the previews made the game seem like it will be realistic but when it came out....it was a disaster.

SaintRasmus
SaintRasmus

I am waiting to see how many seasons you can play. Normal its 5 seasons and that is not good , because you are building a team . I what it to be like Madden where there is 30 seasons.

stewiegriffin20
stewiegriffin20

If they ever put Rooney on the cover, im not buying the game, i cant stand him, Ronaldino is cool, Rooney, eigh

malexander313
malexander313

to: lockefab Rooney aint much of a looker in real life either

ov3rdance
ov3rdance

i like fifa on xbox. fifa07 on 360, i just don't like it.

XCOD23
XCOD23

FIFA 07 had some major problems with actual content. It is great news the EA has resolved that and gone above and beyond with Be-A-Pro Mode.

lockefab
lockefab

eeeeewwwwww rooney is sooo ugly

pplolololololol
pplolololololol

«(¯`•._) Check out tha grass nd ball detail in pic 4!! ^.^ this game is gna b gawd! (¯`•._)»

perry22
perry22

i am really hoping this game will be better than the 07 version. the o7 version was just so boring and was nothing like fifa 06 RTWC. at least in the last version they actually had moves u could do in the game. UEFA is kinda the same but alot better than fifa 07.

ACESandElGHTS
ACESandElGHTS

Pro Evo is awesome. It's looks like a video pachinko machine, and plays about as well. Enjoy that! FIFA 07 was great, with the notable exception of its lack of MLS teams. FIFA 08 will be nice, and hopefully online play will be at least as good as 07.

_morpheus_1
_morpheus_1

well this another FIFA game i wont be buying again! They are designing a new "shoot" system? I bet the research was hours and hours playing Pro Evo games. And the worst thing about it is everyone thinks its cool to have 15000 players to choose from, so it will sell more than it should. Just leave the footie to the far east!

Adamant_Faith
Adamant_Faith

Looks promising, but I agree with gromitLad.

gromitLad
gromitLad

is it me or is gameplay not suppose to be the most important part of football? instead of putting more leagues, more players, and all sort of nonsense rubbish, why done EA first focus on gameplay, Pro evo dont even have real names but its still #1. All the new features sounds interesting, so did all previous versions, look how they turned out. My opinion: another mediocre game where the fancy gimmicks dont work properly and are poorly executed. just wait and see

345669
345669

Will only buy this game if it has gameplay similar to Pro Evo. Apart from the gameplay this game has Excellent presentation and features.

Matlok92
Matlok92

They are trying to make it so realistic that it becomes more and more uglier then it already was before. I don't say that it didn't improved but some things are far from reality.

bihboy69
bihboy69

just looked at the pics, they look nice but the socks and underside of the boots need work, a bit more detail on the face and u got a winner

bihboy69
bihboy69

if its on ps3, im getting it

colem1234
colem1234

I'm a pro evo man myself, but the addition of championship AND division 1 teams? Wow. I'm buying it.

MoDollars
MoDollars

the way i see it im getting this game for sure

csachaoskid24
csachaoskid24

I'm a huge soccer fan and I play soccer competitively, Pro Evo 7 is awesome, but I can't wait to try FIFA 08

Daveiops
Daveiops

My vote goes to...............FIFA 08? Err Nah,,,,,,,,,,,, PES 07? Hell Yes lol.

noirsake
noirsake

sounds like its going to be 1337 woot

cammonag
cammonag

sounds sweet , im definitely getting this should be a far cry from fifa 07

nicko9000
nicko9000

lol picture number 2 looks nothing like wayne rooney, this one looks like a person with downs syndrome

Spiersey12
Spiersey12

over 4million copies of fifa each year are bought by scottish people but they never reward us by putting in the lowere scottish leagues. I no the players aint no ronaldiniho but i really hope they have the lowere leagues this year

s2kitz
s2kitz

i wish they did this on UEFA Championship...i regretted buying the game at its full price while nobody really play online and the card trading thing is kinda fun but it aint all that good, and so not suited for a soccer game, i never really like PES and still cheering for EA coz they seem more official, the title of the games n stuffs, however, 08 is goin to pay off my supports

meowww
meowww

its good but not enough to get the PES 2007