The world of soccer has always been perfectly replicated within EA’s FIFA franchise.
The strong emotional ties fans have for their favorite club and its players brings them into the FIFA fold every year. Building your own custom club, creating star players and going head to head with fellow soccer fanatics is constantly the name of the game. FIFA 17 is adding in a more meaningful story mode this year that follows the trails and tribulations of a rookie player. You’ll step into the cleats of the Premier League’s next rising star, Alex Hunter, and get a taste of what it takes to become a legend.
We sat down with “The Journey’s” Producer Mat Prior, who spoke about what it took to craft this mode and how it will better this year’s FIFA.
1. What led FIFA 17’s development team towards crafting a narrative driven career mode with The Journey?
We have always wanted to expand the FIFA experience off the pitch and show the behind-the-scenes life of a footballer, as we felt it was always something our users wanted. Judging by the reception and all the early feedback we were right! The reason it happened now is in large part due to the move to the Frostbite engine; it really allowed us to create the environments and emotion necessary to tell a compelling story.
2. Give us a brief overview of what this new story mode will entail.
Fans assume the role of Alex Hunter, an up-and-coming 17 year-old trying to break into the Premier League. You get to experience Alex’s life on and off the pitch as he tries to live up to the family legacy and navigate the life of a young footballer. The story is influenced both by your on-pitch performance as well as your interactions off it, so there’s quite a bit of depth and nuance to the experience. Everyone’s Journey will play out slightly differently based on factors like where they choose to play, what personality they create for Alex and his overall performance in training and matches.
3. How will the main character’s experience on the field impact everything off the field?
Alex’s performance will color his interactions with his manager, the media, the fans and more. Perform well and you’ll watch your popularity grow to the point where you’re getting big endorsement deals and meeting some of the best players in the world. On the other hand, if you’re struggling you might get called in the manager’s office for a stern lecture or have folks on social media calling for you to be sent away.
4. How was the overall experience when it came time to work with several pro soccer players? What are some of the things they did in order to guarantee the most authentic soccer club experience?
Great! Authenticity always has been and always will be a huge part of FIFA. When we decided to create The Journey we wanted to ensure it was fully authentic, so we took it to real-world players who have been through a similar experience. Their feedback was invaluable and every one of them could relate to the story. Things like the importance of family resonated with all of them, and they all provided additional insights that really helped us craft the story.
5. What are some of the benefits of the Frostbite Engine in regards to putting the finishing touches on The Journey?
Frostbite really made the mode possible. Literally, it allowed us to create the whole world. The locker rooms, bedrooms, managers office, things like that were all much more difficult to create before Frostbite. It also lets us convey little things like emotion in characters’ faces that might have gotten lost before. And that doesn’t even touch on what Frostbite does to gameplay across all of FIFA 17, which is a whole topic of its own.