FIFA Soccer 11 Hands-On

The developers of the world's biggest sports game are listening to your feedback, as evidenced by our first look at their next project.

In a sports series as large as EA Sports' FIFA Soccer series, the changes that happen from one year to the next occur at many different levels. Naturally, there are new features to be added and tweaked, as well as gameplay elements that the development team has worked into the game. During the past few years, however, the development team at EA Canada has been listening to the huge FIFA community more and more--involving the hardcore contingent into the development process, with the result being a soccer series that has flourished both critically and commercially. That same approach has once again informed the upcoming FIFA Soccer 11, which looks to address many of the concerns FIFA fans had with last year's game.

Perhaps the most noticeable change to this year's FIFA has been made to the player models themselves, which, according to producers, have been rebuilt to look even more like their real-life counterparts than ever before. For casual FIFA players, the difference might not be noticeable, but when compared to the players in last year's game, the change is obvious and for the better. In general terms, players have been reshaped slightly to give them a more athletic appearance, with larger, more rounded shoulders and more powerful-looking legs. The most important shift in appearance has been made with the introduction of accurate body types in the game. There are four main body types: short, average, tall, and special (for the Peter Crouches of the world), as well as three subcategories for each body type: lean, regular, and bulky. More variety in body types means players will be more recognizable on the pitch.

The new player models are just one part of the approach that EA Sports has dubbed "Personality +" for its players. Responding to criticism that the FIFA franchise has lacked personality, the team has looked for ways to inject more realism and life into its players. Consider some of these changes:

    1. Individual dribble styles--Some players will keep the ball close to their feet and run with short steps; others will dribble with longer kicks and more lumbering strides. Elite players, such as Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, will feature dribble animations that are a based on their real-life style.

    2. Customized celebrations--Carlos Tevez bent over and shaking his rump; Fernando Torres sliding on his legs, his arms in the air--these user-controlled signature celebrations will be found in FIFA Soccer 11, and players will also be able to interact with teammates after scoring a goal. Producers told us the team is aiming to have more than 90 trademark celebrations in this year's game.

    3. AI teammates act like the real thing--By adding an attribute known as "work rate," EA is able to better emulate how players that are not being controlled by the player act on the pitch. When you aren't playing as Wayne Rooney, you'll watch as the notoriously busy striker works up and down the field for the entire game. His teammate Dimitar Berbatov, by contrast, is relatively sedate and will move to the ball only when the situation demands it in FIFA Soccer 11. As a result, knowing the work rate of your surrounding players will help you understand how to make the most of your team.

    4. Skills--Players in the FIFA series are rated by more than 30 separate attributes and a similar number of traits (which determine ability for special moves like long passes, specialized passes, and the like). According to producers, the team has gone to great lengths to tune, test, and tweak these attributes for all the players in the game, with the end goal being players who behave and play more like their real-life counterparts than ever before.


While adding personality to the game was a result of fan demand, it wasn't the top wish of the FIFA community. That honor fell to so-called "ping pong passing," a phenomenon in FIFA Soccer 10 where players could execute precise upfield passes in rapid succession to quickly move the ball up the pitch and, often, end up with the ball in the back of the opposing team's goal. A new passing system--known as "pro passing"--should help to alleviate that problem. The idea is to add a bit more user skill to the pass; in previous years, holding down the pass button for longer would result in a more powerful kick.

Thanks to a new 'work rate' attribute, your AI teammates will act more like the real thing than ever.

This year, however, there will be an "ideal" kick power (indicated by a line on the kicking meter) that will get the ball to your intended receiver quickly. An underpowered kick will still reach your target but at a slower clip (opening you up to the possibility of an interception), while an overpowered kick might either sail past your target or be a difficult ball to trap for your teammate. What's interesting about this system is that the "ideal power line" will appear only after you have kicked the ball; as a result, there will be a bit of trial and error as you get a feel for how to achieve perfect kick power based on the distance of the pass.

Adding more depth to the passing game is the idea of "contextual error," a concept that EA previously introduced to the shots in FIFA. A myriad of factors will now contribute to the success or failure of an individual pass, including obvious things like player skill, as well as direction of the kick, nearby defensive pressure, degree of the kick, and the like. As a result, first-time passes that demand a high degree of skill will be more challenging, just as they are in the real world. All of this feeds into another goal for FIFA Soccer 11: ensuring that highly skilled players are represented as truly elite on the pitch.

Goal keepers seem to be a perennial focus in the FIFA series, and that's no exception this year. One important change for FIFA 11 will be an increased reliance on momentum for keepers--when an opposing player takes a shot, the keeper will have to deal with his own body's weight when trying to get to the ball and make the stop. If he's moving in one direction and needs to change directions, his momentum might make it more difficult for him to make the play.

Corner kicks have also received some attention. Producers told us that in last year's game, players in the box had an uncanny ability to predict where the ball would land once the ball was in the air; this year, players will follow the ball's trajectory in the air and will have to make judgment calls on where they think the ball will land. Players with better awareness will be able to judge the ball's trajectory more quickly and get in position to make a play.

In addition to the above, there's a myriad of smaller gameplay fixes that the team is working on for FIFA Soccer 11 for things like top spin shots, analog sprint, more accurate net shapes, handballs (which will be included in this year's game), defensive pressure, and much more. The game will also let you save your replays to your hard disc, customize your soundtrack, and even customize and add your favorite team chants to the game. EA is currently playing all of this and a host of brand new features close to its collective vest. Stay tuned for more coverage of the game throughout the summer.

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Discussion

106 comments
sting684
sting684

they need the russian league on it this year there are a lot of big russian teams they should at least be on rest of world teams

erdiincc
erdiincc

@ salmanwahidi maybe instead of trying to dribble all the time you should do what messis really good at = 1-2 passing

erdiincc
erdiincc

@Shadroth888 lol dont you save your manager mode? every game freezes its normal every computer crashes at some stage every phone freezes so ofcourse games will freeze, just save your progress from game to game

danimusicante
danimusicante

To BigGreenFruit: When I use the words Football and Soccer... I try to make differences between those words. They mean two different things: Football is FUTBOL.... The most important sport in most of the world... With passion, struggle, tactics, etc. Licences are not everything in a game about Futbol... but the fulbol itself. Im From Argentina, sorry for my spelling or mistakes in the writing. EA got the money, the licences, but not the game, we´ll see what 2011 have to offer but so far I prefeer play PES 6 to FIFA 11. Congrats Inter de Porto Alegre for the Livertadores de America!!!! I bet you dont have idea what I just said... Soccer player

oblivion220791
oblivion220791

EA please remake the cup celebration please! i'm sick of winning the cup and just watching some robots dancing around the field and pretending to take pictures when there aren't a single photographer on the field

Shadroth888
Shadroth888

EA Please fix the Manager mode which was totally broken in fifa 10. Im so over playing 2 seasons just to have the freaken thing freeze on me ARRRGGH!!!

janebe
janebe

@moro10 PES is the worst soccer game series i have played. Since PES 08 its been downhill all the way.

wmspoccha
wmspoccha

EA need to make the league much tougher. i've been playing previous FIFA series and i think the league is the most dissapointing factor for the game, i mean with 8 draws and 7 losts i still be the league champion? that's not realistic. defenders AI are also rubbish. please do something on these areas.

Moro10
Moro10

PES FOR LIFE!! This year's Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 will be the best one ever and will make FIFA look rubbish (which it is really...)

Bnuessler86
Bnuessler86

Maybe they should work on the graphics - the cutscenes are usually so choppy.

irishdude199210
irishdude199210

well i gotta say, it sounds awesome! just hope they fix the goddamn transfer system cause you had to be a superstar manager to sign anybody! joke transfer system!

Lil_jake17
Lil_jake17

And one more thing, in tournaments and manager mode, when players are injured, they come back full strength... not gunna happen in real life, EA should change this and have a 'recovery' game or 2 depending on the player before the player is back at full strength... food for thought

Lil_jake17
Lil_jake17

i would like to see updates from major brands such as nike adidas puma and reebok and even asics maybe for updates in kits, boots even gloves and balls, because i get tired of the same old boots, example the nike superflys, in fifa 10 we got the black ones, since then many new coulourways and designs have come through, especially with the addition of adaptive studs for the Superfly II, so basically, i wanna see more variety product wise and updates every now and then, hopefully i will

AtheistPreacher
AtheistPreacher

More than anything, I just hope they've addressed the brokenly buggy Manager Mode. There was nothing wrong with it in 09... but in 10 you could indeed tell they "overhauled" it, the # of bugs was/is just preposterous...

k_h_a_n
k_h_a_n

Console versions of fifa are good but here I am comparing fifa on pc with pes. Even if pes lacks the fluid gameplay of fifa, we have to appreciate konami because they produce same features on consoles and pc. Also graphics, lighting, crowd, textures are improving every year. They really are ahead on some features like celebrations, season mode, team and player customization etc. If these EA guys don't do something about pc version, I am definitely going for pes 11. I don't bother to play a bit less fluid gameplay but I want deep features which only pes offers.

salmanwahidi
salmanwahidi

I hope I could dribble with Messi in this game, just like he does in the real life, because in FIFA 2010 South Africa I just can't beat a single defender who is a bit taller/physical then Messi.

sivasiva
sivasiva

I hope EA does something about the transfer policy in manager mode. It is still difficult to sign players.

sivasiva
sivasiva

Fifa 11 is gonna be bigger than ever.

Rolfey95
Rolfey95

Can't wait for FIFA 11 its gonna be so epic!!!

tjnitro
tjnitro

I just wish that they would make it easier to get good keeper ratings. My keeper will get a clean sheet and get a rating of 6. The opposing keeper will let 4 in and get rated the same. The only way to get a good rating is to let the opposing team shoot and hopefully have your keeper make tons of saves.

bluebusiness
bluebusiness

you did not understand anything they were talking about marshalmathers2. They want to take away pingpong passing...

marshalmathers2
marshalmathers2

"Ping Pong Passing" !? Doesn't look that good of an idea for me. There's absolutely no problem with passing in FIFA10 and making passes faster might render opponents helpless. Developers shouldn't fix what is unbroken but instead concentrate on what is lacking, like poor tackling for example (It was difficult to control game pace with weak defenders letting opponents pass by few inches and leaving massive spaces behind them in FIFA10) and their new idea of tackling is really worth it even if it takes years to improve and finalize. Plain dribbling - without freestyle tricks - was nowhere to be found in FIFA10 and it's a major aspect of gameplay. Other than that I think shooting was a little bit improved in last installment, but not quite enough. Goalkeeper's AI is just fine and shouldn't be increased more than it's already is. Bottom line of what I can say to developers is : FIFA10 was a masterpiece. Don't tear it down and start from scratch, but instead you should build on it. Taking baby steps toward improving FIFA would make the game even steadier. P.S. PLEASE MAKE MENUS EASIER TO NAVIGATE WITH LARGER FONTS.

shauk0303
shauk0303

All I want is a team victory/championship celebration at the end of the match

Daanyal
Daanyal

I reckon they should make you able to make a team with your own players and design their strip and design their emblem by hand. If that feature was on the Xbox 360 I'd get this game.

harrysboy
harrysboy

I want to be able to round the goalkeeper more easily, i guarantee you that it happens more in real life than it does in the game, if you go near the goalie its like 95% that they land on it but it happens so much in the real game, this needs addressing..

biagio55
biagio55

they havent done wot i wanted which is improve the GK AI. i dont care if they have more realistic movement i dont pay close attention to it!!!!!!. just make them smarter and actually work like a GK. also agree with lurkyuk on the handball thing. i also want a better manager mode like PES's and fairer rating system and for it to actually show your real rating and not have it change depending on the menu you have on. they have a lot to improve game wise i dont think theyll do it. i dont really care for graphical improvement or even animation improvement at this point.

lurkyuk
lurkyuk

They should learn from Pro Evo 3 and NOT have handballs. They are completely random, you have no control over it and its really unfair losing possession over something that you don't even notice unless you zoom in on the replays. If they think handballs are a problem I'd rather the players have ghost arms that the ball just goes through. It may look silly but it keeps the game flowing. Also we need an option in the main menu to just skip the celebrations altogether without having to press rb and lb. My friends and I just want to get on with the game, we don't want to rub it in with celebrations.

ValleyofDoom
ValleyofDoom

Looks very good graphical wise, but will it be any different from any other soccer game? They can't change the gameplay, because they can't change the game.....and please... "AI teammates act like the real thing"? That's rubbish. They've been saying that for over a decade now and all I noticed was, although the AI improves every year, it's still one of the biggest breakpoints of a game. What about a first person football game? I think I would buy that.

adamt2828
adamt2828

looks good, especially handballs (:

HARDSTYLER28
HARDSTYLER28

i have to buy this game for sure......fifa rules....

bond007_gamer
bond007_gamer

good improvements.. i wanted saving replays to HD and taking screenshots. rest all said by u guys.. what i want is.. 1) they should not make game more difficult to play.. 2) more frequent free kicks to player after fouls done bu cpu team. 3) when we shoot quiet accurately ball should find back of the net.. becoz currently in fifa 10 and world cup sometimes u cant score no matter how well you shoot and how well u r calm and composed.. i am talking about 360 version..

Serbitar1
Serbitar1

It's about time they let us save replays to the hard drive.

xerxesthegreat
xerxesthegreat

looking foward to both pes and fifa 11 buy both lol ... but if pes sorts out the animations and gameplay , then i will not be getting fifa . sorry master leauge is just too addictive. But regards to EA for improving their games .

gandalf_storm
gandalf_storm

cant wait for fifa 11, thought world cup was overated and went backwards to arcadey PES, fifa 10 with better graphics and improvements is what I want, not world cup renamed fifa 11, EA badly need to sort out free kicks as well, and the damn offside, you can not be offside in your own area ffs EA

Izz_Tip-C
Izz_Tip-C

Sweet! Can't wait for 11. South Africa's gameplay was amazing. This looks like it's going to blow it out of the water. Spain 2010 World Champions!!!

mickyfinn84
mickyfinn84

Sounds great. Just hope they fix poor defender a.i aswell. Also scrap online replays so frustrating when people watch every crappy replay

prytherce
prytherce

sounds like a good year to get into the fifa game

NoHotAshes
NoHotAshes

all i want to know about this game is are you going to stop screwing pc gamers with bs excuses and just make the pc version next gen already

Dan21278
Dan21278

i sense a more intricate and difficult game YAY!!!!!!!!

Tzunoy
Tzunoy

Diablo 3 is the POWER.

himsa09
himsa09

I hope Be A Pro mode is like the world cup version i loved being able to have my buddys over and play a meaningful game instead of on the boring online mode were everyone hogs the ball.

Johan444
Johan444

I hope that FIFA 11 will be much better than the previous and that we'll see some good improvements for the series not only at consoles, but at PC as well.

edd1990
edd1990

the game needs streakers... and you have the ability to send them on and score goals for you.

47gunner
47gunner

i can smell the improvment...