FIFA Soccer 08 Producer Q&A

We talk to EA producer Tim Tschirner about the Wii version of FIFA Soccer 08. First screens inside.

In our initial look at FIFA Soccer 08 for the Nintendo Wii, we introduced some of the new features and controls that will be part of the game. However, one of things we didn't know is that the game will be the first EA Sports game to introduce Nintendo Mii characters into gameplay, particularly the party games included with the game. To celebrate this fact, the producers behind the game have included one of the most recognizable soccer stars in the world--FC Barcelona's own Ronaldinho--as a Mii in the game. You'll be going up against Ronaldinho Mii in the various minigames in footii party mode. To get more details on this mode, the Ronaldinho Mii, and how the game is coming along, we spoke with FIFA 08 Wii producer Tim Tschirner.

'Little Ronaldo' is now shrunk down to Mii form--Ronaldinho will be found in FIFA Soccer 08 for the Wii.

GameSpot: Before we talk "football," let's talk American football. EA Sports debuted on the Nintendo Wii last year with Madden NFL 07. Did you have much interaction with the team behind that game, and if so, what kind of lessons learned have been brought to the development of FIFA Soccer 08 for Wii?

Tim Tschirner: Before we started development, we spent quite a bit of time with the members of the Madden NFL 07 Wii team. They had a lot of great information to share with us, both on the design side and the technical side. On the design side, we were able to take away a lot of invaluable information around gestures; for example, what worked well, what didn't work so well, things they tried that weren't feasible, etc. On the technical side, we were able to share quite a bit of their low-level code and libraries.

GS: When we saw the game in May, the control scheme wasn't finalized yet. Have there been any important changes to the controls in the game since then that we should know about?

TT: We have a really cool feature that we have added to the game since I first showed you FIFA Soccer 08 on the Wii in May. At this point, I am not able to go into more details other than to say we have created an innovative new way to play the game, and it's especially great if you're new to FIFA or want to play with or against someone who doesn't know the game or the sport as well. It will allow players of all skill levels to play together and share the experience.

Some other additions to the controls that I can go into details on are directional passes and directional player switching. Regular passes are executed by pressing the A button; if you hold down the A button, you can do a gesture in one of the four main directions (up, down, left, or right) and the player will pass in that direction. To switch players on defense, you also use the A button; if you hold down the A button and do a gesture, it will switch to the player that is positioned in that direction. In addition to using the A button and a gesture, you can use the D pad. The directional passing also works for through-passes by holding down the B button and then doing a gesture. We also integrated functionality to curve the ball by twisting the Wii Remote to the left or right when you flick upward to take a shot.

Producers initially toyed with the idea of attaching the Wii Remote to your foot for FIFA 08.

GS: Did the team ever come up with any strange or unusual control ideas that didn't make their way into the game?

TT: At the beginning of development, we discussed the idea of attaching the Wii Remote to your foot to execute passes and shots that way. We constructed a prototype by taking a sock and sewing a pocket to the side that housed the Wii Remote. While it worked technically (it detected passes and shots accurately), it felt really awkward to stand up and take kicks into the air. In addition, your knees and ankles would start hurting after a while, so in the end, we abandoned the idea.

GS: Miis will make their EA Sports debut in FIFA Soccer 08. Why choose this game, and what will you be able to do with Miis in the game?

TT: Miis will be integrated in a couple of different places in FIFA Soccer 08. In the regular game, we show you which gestures and actions you performed (for example, a through-pass, a slide tackle, etc.) during gameplay, and the head of the Mii that you selected will be shown beside the text. We also show you at halftime and at the end of the game how well you performed (how many shots you took, how many of your passes were successful, etc.), and in those places, the Mii heads appear again. We also created a unique new game mode called "footii party with Ronaldinho" in which you can use Miis as playable characters.

Three minigames will make up the imaginatively titled footii party mode.

GS: How will Miis work into the party game modes? What kind of games can you play in this mode?

TT: Footii Party offers three party games: Table Soccer, Boot It, and a party game right now we are tentatively calling Keep Up. Table Soccer allows you to play a game of foosball, Boot It is a fast-paced game where you take turns shooting the ball at the goalie, and Keep Up is a game where you juggle the ball and try to keep it in the air. Each game supports up to four players and can only be played with the Wii Remote. Every player can select his or her own Mii, and in Keep Up and Boot It, the Miis are fully 3D playable characters. We keep high scores and an all-time "party rating" for each Mii that participated in the mode. We also track some more unique stats, such as how many calories you burned while playing.

GS: The party game modes in Madden 07 were useful for teaching you how to play the game. Can we expect the same thing in FIFA 08, and can you give us an example or two?

TT: We designed the party games in FIFA Soccer 08 to be a very unique experience, and they are not related to the main gameplay. While the three games are all soccer-themed, we wanted them to be very accessible pick-up-and-play experiences that anyone can enjoy. We do, however, have a very extensive tutorial mode called "soccer academy," which has over 30 interactive tutorials that teach you all the basic and advanced controls. We also show you how to perform gestures and actions during gameplay. For example, if you get to your first throw-in, you'll see onscreen help for how to perform the throw-in gesture, and you can even jump to the soccer academy from there, practice the gesture, and then jump back to gameplay.

GS: You're announcing the in-game Ronaldinho Mii today. How did that come about, and did Ronaldinho have any input into how his Mii looked?

TT: Ronaldinho was the logical choice when we designed the footii party mode, and we wanted a fun and entertaining way to capture the spirit of the mode. He definitely had input into how he looked, and he's quite satisfied with the final look. An interesting fact is that technically he's not a Mii--he's such a unique character that we couldn't create him using the Mii channel. So we came up with our own model that looks close to what regular Miis look like.

GS: Does the Ronaldinho Mii have any special abilities that regular players won't have?

TT: We haven't quite finalized the details around this yet, but he'll definitely have some tricks up his sleeve.

GS: Will there be other soccer star Miis in the game?

TT: Ronaldinho is the only one in this year's game.

Could a Becks Mii be far behind?

GS: Right now, Miis seem to be exclusive to the party mode games in FIFA 08. Is this just the beginning for the series, or do you think the Miis will only be tied to this mode in the future?

TT: While the Miis as playable characters are exclusive to the footii party game mode, you'll be able to select Miis to represent you in the main game as well. At this point, it's too early to speculate where we'll be able to go with this in future.

GS: Finally, how many Miis have you created on your personal Wii? Anyone famous or interesting?

TT: I've created about 30 Miis on my personal Wii. Most of them are friends and family (many of them actually created themselves), and I'm a big U2 fan, so I created the four band members. I also have a lot of Miis sitting in the Mii Parade that came over from friends' Wiis.

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Discussion

105 comments
Gally66
Gally66

sounds cool, hope its good

Franzkill
Franzkill

This looks really poor. But I'll give it a chance.

Pete5506
Pete5506

god its going ot be good

-Sparkz-
-Sparkz-

I like the idea of having a separate party mode for the mii's, my only concern now is how the controls are going to work.

Viewtiful-GaMeR
Viewtiful-GaMeR

I still don't buy it with those controls.I'll have to wait.

tastycasey27
tastycasey27

i stii cant believe that some people are still moaning about the miis being in the game and it looking cartoony, have you even read the article, the miis are for in game mini games, the main football game will use real realistic players so stop moaning.

lilromeo0606
lilromeo0606

The Wii is a party console and i like the direction some of the games are going. There are a few games that focus on single player, but a lot of these games that are party games are fun especially with four people. What the developers are doing for the wii are unique and because its not powerful in any way, they make the games more engaging and interactive to the point where you can just sit down and play them well. I give them props.

kerching
kerching

is not worth knowing about now anyway...... PRO EVO is back!

hotgamer12
hotgamer12

I like the way you are allowed to integrate your Mii into the game. Awesome idea, but i'm so tired of 90+ percent of nintendo games looking like a saturday morning cartoon. I'm also tired of all the confusion going on over at Nintendo's headquarters. the company created a reputation of being solely dedicated to gaming, made the Wii look mature, and promised to be devoted to wide audiences but, so far 90+ percent of Wii software seems to be "Saturday morning cartoony" and uninspired. Not to mention that the system's software library also appears to be lacking. With these truths, people are losing faith, cause in the end, it's all about the games. Shame on Nintendo's marketing branch.

TacticalElefant
TacticalElefant

We may suck at kicking a spherical ball, but we don't lack the ability of kicking your @$$ :D

Princecake
Princecake

if they make the motion capturing too sensitive..most americans won't get the foot attachment lol...they can't kick non-deformed balls...

e1337prodigy
e1337prodigy

Whats with the cartoony graphics? Nintendo games always do this. I know it is suppose to be a 'family entertainment console' but you got to attract the mainstream gamers (boys/girls aged 16-25). Most of them aren't going to want to play with cartoony graphics. I'll be getting it though if PES doesn't come out on wii.

raynard_muldrat
raynard_muldrat

I think that EA (surprisingly) have really embraced the wii for all that it is - different, the mii's look well implemented and almost supplementary to wii sports, i think it would be nice to see or unlock more real player mii's. The wiimote/foot attachment sounds excellent even if it wasn't used for the full game and just used in some of the footii mini games. I probably won't get this until ive tried the controls they sound a little awkward compared to mario stikers charged, that and i'm not really a football fan.

TEX-MEX
TEX-MEX

Should be fun!!! Nintendo+EA=Happiness

KingKoop
KingKoop

:lol: Looks like fun, now Rooney can look how he's meant to look :D

rijnie
rijnie

this is so stupid and immature, just look at that faces, that dude was right the wii wont make 2007 or 2008. ps3 and xbox wins.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

sounds pretty cool. i still wanted to try their old leg kicking version but oh well

ntnimara
ntnimara

U know what u ingreatful narrowminded ingreates??!!? If u don't like it... DO NOT BUY IT!!! I for one am getting this... I think Nintendo is doing the right thing... it is bringing fun in the house which is what an entertainment buisness should be doin... If u wanna buy a PS3 then caugh up the dough and buy it (I'd rather buy a new PC with that money)... Furtheremore I get the feeling that Nintendo is showing signs of maintaining their domination of the console war... time will tell.

OlliUotinen
OlliUotinen

lol this game is dumb. Mii Ronaldinho doesn't even remind me of the real ronaldinho. Wii is 4 babyes. The grhaphics are terrible.

bihboy69
bihboy69

this looks dumb... im definately getting fifa 08 for ps3

WGR_Darrin
WGR_Darrin

It's amazing... people hate the Wii for being different, then complain when other systems don't offer variety. They complain about the Wii's graphics then turn around and whine when a pretty game has lousy gameplay. Make up your damn minds.

shadow_judge
shadow_judge

Quite a different from the FIFA series' graphic when most of the recently FIFA games always try to make it as detail as possible. Look at the cute Ronaldinho :) But where is his unique jaw :)) ?

lockefab
lockefab

why does nintendo have to be so different

Dizzy-P
Dizzy-P

and ppl compare the wii to xbox 360 and ps3???!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA like ive said the wii is jus a baby console wiv gamecube graphics its time for nintendo to sit out.

colt2007
colt2007

the Ronaldinho Mii looks kinda stupid but it shub be a realy good & unique fifa game

gnarlychar
gnarlychar

I think only 2 people have even read the page. IT'S NOT ALL MII'S! REEEEAAAAD!

BigBoi_24
BigBoi_24

y do people buy sports games. All it is is game after game of the same stuff with better graphics and little pointless add ons. At least this game actually tries to change it up and make sport games really fun again. lol even if the miis do look kinda stupid, in a funny way. Im rooting for this one

diablobasher
diablobasher

I really like the approach, not just a straight port. But i dont like football.

Mike-23
Mike-23

This is great!!!!! Finally a FIFA game for the Wii, I was waiting for it for so long, I'll buy it the first day it comes.

koopi
koopi

Finally! All sports games should be this way on Wii! :D

pungaboy
pungaboy

I really like that EA isn't just doing a straight port for the Wii. This approach makes a lot of sense: port the core game and then add features and game modes unique to the Wii. Good work EA!

mjgballin
mjgballin

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Link2193
Link2193

It looks great, the Ronaldinho Mii looks really funny! I hope you can change the camera view and make it like a normal footie game!!

littlewiese
littlewiese

Its funny how people are just plain stupid they see a picture and jump to conclusions. It clearly states the mii form is for party play and then if you look at the images it has one oh by the way its the first pic that shows real play. Its nice to see that evolution is still in play and making people smarter.

supersonic49
supersonic49

Oh crap, I wanted this to look realistic! :cry:

Gamingcucumber
Gamingcucumber

Ah, for crying out loud....There has to be a line somewhere. I mean, I agree. Let them try the idea, but for gods sake. Do it behind closed doors. So that when we actually first see the game we get suspicious and then excited when we realize what awesomeness they've really done. Seems to me that this will be another, r-i-g-h-t on.

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

these screens are better than i was thinking. at least they have "real" hands and feet.

p2rus
p2rus

im sorry but theyve kiddied fifa the control scheme (pass and direction with the remote) seems clumsy at best, plain up dumb at worst. we'll see, but this is what is going to start happening to all the wii games. Kiddiefied!

cammoule
cammoule

It's Just FANTASTIC, right:p?

tastycasey27
tastycasey27

does anyone ever read the article before they moan about a game that isnt even finnished yet, the guy said the miis will be used in party games so that mean the main football game will use regular players. i think its about time something new was brought into football games but im not saying the controles for the wii will work but give them a chance. im getting fed up at playing the same footie game every year or twice a year all they ever do is change or add a small little change that footie fans go " wow ive got to buy that", but the game ends up the same old stuff as before. so give it a chance befor u slate it or wait for the gamespot review which is wot ill be doing.

Griffus
Griffus

Then why read about and comment them?

MFCocca
MFCocca

Bry, my bad on that one, I see what he means. It's just amazing at the amount of comments that imply that the game is going to be entirely made up of Mii's and that the controls stink, the game isn't even finished yet, at least wait until it's released to bash it, and at LEAST read what this site provides you.

Bry3800
Bry3800

Ummm MFCocca he is talking about the Wii as a console, he is saying the Wii sucks, which i think its cool but not enough FPS games for me (and I played COD3 it was disappointing for the Wii).... And no offense to metroid fan boys but i hate that game.

bluebl
bluebl

they have to try, right?it's not the company's fault that the Wii uses the wiimote and has graphical limitations. Everything has its pro and cons, but i do think the Wii has more cons in this current game market thanks to the "extremely" dedicated companies. This game will introduce some aspects which can actually work, and if this game will suck, then just wait for Fifa 2009. No big deal. I just don't wanna see any system ostracized just because of one or other aspect. everyone wanted Sega to be doomed before, and now we regret it. Ah, jmm0070, u are so polite and modern. That was an excellent essay about urself to the world ... No further comments deserved.

jmm0070
jmm0070

hey don't get me wrong, i love my wii and its games are amazing, with awesome controls and gameplay. I think the other consoles suck, are just boring and are the same thing than before. But this game will suck. i hate the miis. well wii sports is a great game and really fun, but this game is not even going to have a good use of the wiimote! pure crap. it would have been good if the control had been attached to the feet but they were gays and just said "ouchiee my knees are hurting!". Homosexuals. your so gay as those lazy fat guys who play ps or xbox cause they don't dare to move an arm or a leg. Believe me, after 5 matches of wii boxing in rank 1700+ (opponents don't change alot then, at least until where i am in 2350, except for the champ who's really difficult the first time :O) your arms get hurting for hitting the air so hadr and you might begin sweating and get tired, but thats the good stuff of the wii. Please eliminate this game. it will suck. it will be so boring as in the other consoles. But anyone who tells that the wii sucks is just a no life fatass retard that only cares about stupid graphics that already reached what they needed in the past generation. anyways this game will suck, controls suck and the use of miis suck, it will be too simple.