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Interview

FIFA 2010 Interview

IncGamers caught up with David Rutter at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium to discuss the next installment in EA’s FIFA franchise. This is the earliest build of a FIFA game you’ve ever demoed, why did you decide to show off the game at this stage in its development?For us, there are a couple of things that we want to tell people about: one is the fact that we’re really doing a great job with the refining of the game. Lots and lots of polish and I spend a lot of time on the forums at the moment talking to fans of the game and making sure that I’m trying to do as much for them as I can. But we’re also innovating and the other part of it really is that the innovations that we’ve put in are so cool that we’re willing to let people have a go. It’s very useful for me to hear the feedback so we can evaluate things as we’re going along.Peter Moore has outlined the strategy for EA Sports, including FIFA Online. Do you think there could be a convergence at any point between that franchise and yours?Quite possibly, I suppose. The weird thing for me, though, is that I’m here thinking constantly about things to fix in the gameplay, things to fix in the manager mode and trying not to tell you about the other secret stuff we’ve got planned that I’m not allowed to talk about. FIFA Online is a great game, but I’m not involved in it. All I hear every time I go anywhere is Peter Moore saying “I expect you to hit 90 (per cent, average review rating)” which is a little bit scary but I think we’re gonna do it. The last game scored, I think, 87 and the interesting thing is that little three per cent is hard to get. When you look at the things we’re doing, there’s nothing there where you think “oh yeah, such and such was broken from last year, you really need to fix that.” It’s a lot of important stuff which, when you put it together makes a great game, rather than saying “we need a new shooting system.” It’s all about the nuances of the game and how they fit together and balancing it all out.Do you think there’ll be enough in the new game to earn that three per cent? By the time we release the game we’ll have told you about the other stuff we’re doing and then I’m sure you’ll get it. I’m surprised people feel that way; a couple have people have said “do you think you’re doing enough?” I know we’re doing a hell of a lot. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to do all the stuff we’re doing to the Manager Mode, fixing all that match realism is taking a lot of work as is making sure the transfers are authentic. Making sure players don’t suddenly grow into superstar heroes when they’re playing for…I don’t know…Aldershot is pretty tough to do. There’s a lot of stuff that matters to people and it worries me that sometimes what matters to people isn’t what matters to reviewers or isn’t sensational. What I will say is that when people buy the game and play it, they will get a brilliant game.You once said that you wouldn’t rest until you had included the goalkeeper in the online mode and made it 11 v 11. How’s that going?(Laughs) I haven’t rested. I can’t really talk about it at the moment as there is a long way to go until it’s really good.{PAGE TITLE=FIFA 2010 Interview Page 2}Is there a problem in terms of playability? Is it hard to make playing as the keeper fun?No, it’s quite playable. I think it’s a balancing thing and that’s where the challenge would lie were we trying to do it (laughs).Did the success of FIFA ’09 heap extra pressure on you when developing FIFA 10? Yes.How confident are you that FIFA 10 can live up to expectations?I’m lucky enough to work in an environment which lives and breathes on pressure so every day when I go into work, everyone knows what’s expected of them as far as delivery is concerned and game quality in particular. We expect it to be very hard, particularly our partners and our families but at the same time I am extremely proud to be doing this job and I know there’s a lot of people involved and it does upset me sometimes when people badmouth EA. I know that the fact I’m allowed to spend so much money making good gameplay without having to do anything that’s gimmicky, speaks volumes about the game.FIFA ’09 took a lot of players away from Pro Evo, arguably for the first time. How important is that rivalry?Very. For me, there’s the pressure of making a brilliant game and I try not to worry too much about the other stuff because you go a little bit crazy.  What I like, however, is the fact that at the same time there’s this other group of people who are doing the same thing. I’m a very competitive person and lots of people who work on our team are competitive. I think if you like football video games you’re likely to be a competitive. Having them there is great – they’re clearly very talented and very clever people and it’s good to have that competition to inspire us not just to keep on doing what we’re doing, but to innovate as well and get as far ahead of them as we can.ADIDAS Live Season and Ultimate Team are recent additions to the FIFA stable. How will these be built upon and expanded?I can’t really talk about either of those things at the moment but I think they’re great for the game. And, speaking as a company, they make a lot of money for us so I think that we would be a very interesting company if we didn’t pursue them.FIFA is now regarded as the most authentic game of football on the market, but how far do you want to take that realism? Off sides, for example, disallowed goals, diving in the area? It’s interesting, because I really spend a lot of time asking to do some of these things. We ask because we’re a FIFA-licensed game and they have a level of expectation when it comes to applying the rules of football. I would love to have incorrect decisions and off-sides but I probably wouldn’t like diving, because it’s kind of cheating. If I’m playing you and a decision is made by the AI that is unfair, then that’s one thing. But, in general we are negotiating with FIFA to allow us to do some of these things.

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