The FIFA series on the Nintendo Wii has had a fairly good run of late. When you consider the small number of sports games that are regularly released on the console, EA Sports has done a good job of not only giving fans a game to play but also improving the series each year. We recently managed to have a nice phone call with Tristan Jackson, producer of FIFA Soccer 12, to discuss some of what fans can expect later this year. For starters, the biggest inclusion this year is a new front-end feature called FIFA City. When you boot up the game for the first time, you will be introduced to your very own soccer city. Initially, your city will contain a few different items, such as a basic training facility and small stadium; as you progress in the five different modes, which include Be a Manager and Streets to Stadium, your performance will unlock items that will allow your city to grow. Your city grows both in terms of how many people live in it and how it looks. Other ways of improving your city have to do with your performance on the pitch. In previous games, scoring a hat trick or saving a penalty would unlock minor upgrades and rewards, but this time, accomplishing these feats will help improve the city with a number of different treats.
This type of rewards system isn't new to sports games, but EA Sports is taking it one step further with an additional mode called Intercity Cup. As the size of your own FIFA city starts to grow, you will be able to play against other cities in various five-versus-five tournaments. This mode won't be unlocked at first, but as your city grows into the millions, you will slowly unlock a better training facility and then kits for your team to wear. Once you surpass 5 million residents, you will be invited to start challenging other cities. Of course, you'll start off playing smaller sides, which will allow you to then recruit those players and use them to challenge better sides. Once you reach the high ranks of a city, you'll be rewarded for your progress and be able to play against full squads in 11-versus-11 matches and tournaments.
The Intercity Cup should not only easily prolong the experience, but also entice soccer fans to play all the modes available in FIFA Soccer 12. Last year's popular mode, Streets to Stadium, returns with very little changed. You will still commence as a lowly street soccer player, make your way up the ranks, and hopefully reach your dream goal of playing for the club of your dreams. After your five season trek to greatness--if you so wish--you can take your created character and move on to the game's improved Be a Manager mode and see how well you can manage a squad to championship status.
Be a Manager will see a major upgrade from past years and should offer a more realistic approach to managing a team. Gone are the star requirements to recruit players; now it's all about dollars, pounds sterling, and euros because you need to carefully manage your budget for scouting players, improving facilities, and handling contracts. You'll be able to either begin by taking a smaller club and moving it up the ranks or maintaining one of the better clubs in Europe and ensuring its pedigree stays in tact.
Pedigree also plays into your own position, and your requirements as a manager will factor into how much prestige you earn through your five seasons. If the board's expectations are low and you manage to not only accomplish its expectations, but also greatly surpass them, you will be rewarded with additional prestige and be able to do more with your side. Conversely, though, if you can't fulfill the board's requests, then you can expect to see your ability to improve your squad diminish. Managing a side, such as improving your health facilities and training grounds, not only factors into Be a Manager but also improves your FIFA city status and your ability to take on other cities in Intercity. As you may have gathered from the early bits of information we got, FIFA Soccer 12 is looking at ways to incorporate all aspects of the game so that players are enticed to partake in every mode possible. The inclusion of FIFA City, where you will be able to see your city grow as you play, is something we're looking forward to fooling around with once we get our hands on the game. For those people anxiously waiting to get their hands on FIFA Soccer 12 on the Wii, your wait ends on September 27.