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Gameplay Beyond FIFA 19

A deep dive into how the Gameplay team is listening to recent feedback.

Pitch Notes

Hey FIFA fans,

As we get closer to EA PLAY and upcoming product announcements, we wanted to provide an update on FIFA's gameplay and shed some light on gameplay fundamentals we aim to improve on FIFA throughout the next product lifecycle.

We've been listening to your feedback throughout the year, and wanted to address some of the areas that you’ve asked us about across channels, and why continued gameplay changes weren't addressed in the past few patches.

We also want to share some early thoughts on what we have been working on for the future. Hopefully this effort will address some of your most asked questions, as well as bring some clarity on how your recent feedback is getting prioritized and worked upon - to be clear, everything discussed below is not being patched in FIFA 19, but will be worked upon for the next iteration.

While we'll cover core gameplay mechanics in this article, we also want to acknowledge our continued efforts in addressing concerns around gameplay responsiveness online. This area will be one that is continually monitored and we will provide further updates as we take actions in this area. While we'll cover feedback to current gameplay here, it's important to note that we'll have more to share on new gameplay features in the near future, as well as more information on how we're looking to innovate in areas such as Career Mode and Pro Clubs. We've heard your feedback and we will have more to share around mode improvements and additional features, soon.

Gameplay Updates/Patches

Every year, the gameplay team does what it can to tune and adjust gameplay throughout the year - bringing major updates, new mechanics, new modes, and new gameplay features for every new iteration of FIFA. With the advent of online/multiplayer options, and consistent feedback from the community, the team was able to tackle issues by 'patching' certain areas of the game that were not working specifically as designed. As the years progressed, live content became more and more important to each and every title. From small “hot-fixes” to content updates containing assets for new campaigns, different items, starhead changes, and concurrent squad updates, patches have become more constant and valuable to our communities.

When it comes to specific gameplay fixes and patches, it's a more complex issue. There are multiple player segments whose feedback we take into consideration - pro players, core players and casual players. Within each version of FIFA, we try to strike the correct balance between accessible and skill-based gameplay, and also give room for us to tune with gameplay patch updates when possible.

Although we always make an effort to deliver a refined gameplay system, there are certain changes that become more difficult to address mid-cycle. Take FIFA 19 and AI Defending as a key feedback example. AI Defending has broad impact on multiple in-game mechanics. In order to tune AI Defending appropriately, the team needs enough time to adjust for the impact it will have on other functions on the pitch. This is unlike First-timed Shots accuracy, which are an isolated mechanic that can be tuned without impacting other areas of gameplay.

Feedback From The Community

We are already taking steps to prioritize community feedback earlier in the development process. This year we have begun in-house feedback sessions, earlier than ever before, and have embedded both Game Changers and Pros into this process to ensure we're hearing from a wider perspective of players within our community. It is important to note here that FIFA's community is vast, and we receive feedback from many sources, sometimes feedback that differs greatly from each other. The goal, as we move into the next iteration of FIFA, is to raise the overall quality bar and spend our time addressing core gameplay concerns that you've been asking of us.

Current Gameplay Priorities

After numerous feedback sessions, and by gathering direct feedback from players across forums, surveys, content and social channels, we were able to deploy patches to address some of the concerns in the early stages of FIFA 19 like: Jumping Volley Kicks, mid-game Dynamic Tactics, First-time Finesse Shots, Defensive Pressure, Near Post Shots, AI Teammate Shot Blocks, Tackling Speed, Stamina on Defensive Constant Pressure, further tuning of Shooting and Skill Moves, Timed Finesse Shots, Timed Shooting Window, and Goal Keeper Movement.

Below, is a list of additional community requested features/mechanics and tuning that the team is working on and will be prioritized for our next product iteration:

A.I. Defending

Many efforts are being made to create a better experience for players when it comes to AI Defending and AI Teammate movement/positioning/reactions, as this was continuously mentioned and requested by our players for the next version of FIFA:

  • Renewed Defending System the defending systems are being renewed, with revised positioning and adjustment to the cadence and flow on the pitch. Manual defending will be emphasized and result in more rewarding results for those who do so.
  • Planned Tackling is a new system that favors manual tackling by making sure that the defender that tries the tackle does so in a favorable context to your team (like recovering the ball or kicking the ball to a nearby teammate when tackling, for example).
  • Contain and Secondary Contain Effectiveness will be reduced, keeping the positioning of players/AI Teammates at a further distance and having a slower reaction to directional changes from the dribbler, rarely resulting in an auto-tackle or an auto-block. This will make manual defending not only more effective, but also more rewarding.
  • Improved Jockey System will be implemented with more agility and precision, rewarding players that decide to take control of their defenders.

With these varied systems and mechanics, we expect that our players will feel a difference when it comes to AI Defending, which was a point of community concern during FIFA 19.

1v1 shooting Consistency

The team has put a lot of effort into improving circumstances where a player finds themselves in an easy 1v1 situation against the Goalkeeper:

  • 1v1 Shooting Accuracy will be improved, resulting in more shots on target and better consistency in easy situations inside the box.
  • Open Goal Situations will also be addressed, and will see players being rewarded for 1v1 situations and creating greater chances of scoring “easy goals” - as pointed out in many community examples.
  • Goalkeeper Reactions will also be tuned - specifically against 1v1 situations - resulting in less 'superhuman' reactions, which will humanize the goalkeepers movements and result in better scoring opportunities for the attacker.
  • Outside of the Foot Shot situations will be improved and should only happen for players with the Outside of the Foot trait.
  • Shot Elevation/Power Tuning will allow for low powered shots to result in shots similar to Driven Shots, creating more consistency, and resulting in better scoring opportunities.

 

Timed Finishing

There's been a ton of feedback on Timed Finishing - a new mechanism that was added to FIFA 19. This mechanic will be further tuned and addressed through the feedback of many within the community:

  • Green Timing Window for timed shots will be reduced (from 2-4 frames to 2 frames for all shots), which will make it harder and require more skill to perform.
  • Timed Shot Accuracy will be tuned to result in slightly less precise shots, although Green Timed Shots will still be more accurate than 'non-timed shots'.
  • Difficult 180° shots will be tuned to result in less powerful shots, even when timed perfectly.

 

Volley Crossing and shooting

The effectiveness of volley-crossing (or lob-crossing) a ball and volley-shooting a ball is being reduced in the next iteration:

  • Increased Difficulty and Error - Crosses coming from lob balls/volleys will have less accuracy and more variable results.
  • 2-Player Headers will have more variety as players jumping/colliding for the ball mid-air will make it more difficult for the attacker to score in such situations.
  • Decreased Volley Shot Accuracy - Shots originating from a volley shot will have less accuracy and more variable results.


The team has worked on these specific mechanisms by deeply investigating several videos and examples sent by the community and pro players on FIFA 19 throughout the year.

Chained skill moves

One of the top issues raised by the community during FIFA 19 is the “chaining” of skill moves that would result in an overpowered tactic that can be very hard to defend against. The team has tackled this feedback by adding error to consecutive skill moves, increasing the likelihood of the player losing control of the ball. Error is increased exponentially when chaining more than 2 skill-moves, making each subsequent skill move more error prone than the last.

Complex skill moves, like El Tornado or flick-ups for example, will be more error prone in general, increasing the chances for the player to lose control of the ball during the skill move.

Set-Piece positioning

Players have come forward pointing out that many times a shorter defender would be marking a taller attacker or that a dangerous attacker is not present in the box. The team has been working on improving the intelligence behind these situations, which should result in more realistic marking/positioning when defending or attacking set-pieces in the future.

Manual Goalkeeper movement

The effectiveness of manual GK movement is being heavily reduced in the future, with a slower and more realistic move speed. Players controlling the goalkeeper using right-stick manual movement will now have to commit to a direction, enhancing the risk/reward element. We have already received feedback from both core and pro players during our last feedback sessions and feel confident the changes will address the concerns with the mechanic.

Passing

Players have provided feedback on passing mechanics throughout the FIFA 19 cycle. Here's how we're addressing moving into our next product:

  • Increased Error on Difficult Position Passing - 180 degrees, first-time, and pressured passes situations will now result in slower/weaker balls, making them less effective and easier to get intercepted by the opposing team.
  • Increased Accuracy for passes in very easy situations; non-pressured, body-positioned, and no obstacle passes will result in an increased accuracy pass for these types of situations.
  • User Controlled 'Dinked' Passes will be a new option for ground and through passes. 'Dinked' passes are slightly elevated passes used to avoid a defender's leg. These types of passes will no longer be contextual and will only happen if executed manually through this new mechanic.
  • Driven Pass-and-Go mechanic will be enabled as another passing option, resulting in a stronger pass-and-go and more mobility/positioning while attacking. As a result of this change, the “manual passing” mechanic that was available through this button-combo (L1/LB+R1/RB+Pass) will no longer be available in the future.

Player Switching

Players have provided feedback throughout FIFA 19 that, in some instances, a player would be locked to a loose ball and they weren't able to switch players whenever this would take place. The team is working on improving these situations, as well as adding clarity to the assisted switching mechanism, that will now show an option for automatic switching on Air Balls + Loose Balls situations.

Players also provided feedback that switching didn't always select the correct player. The team is working on improving the accuracy of switching in numerous situations, including air balls, deflections and crosses. The team is also working on making the right stick switching as consistent and reactive as possible, as well as improving the intelligence between automatic switching of players closest to the ball.


NEXT STEPS

It was important to us that we bring more clarity over some of your top gameplay concerns and how we'll be addressing them moving forward. We're doing this now, ahead of major reveals, to show our commitment to you - our most passionate players. As we begin to move into a new season of FIFA, we'll have more gameplay news to share with you, including more information on features such as FUT, Career Mode and Pro Clubs, but your feedback on gameplay is of paramount importance and you deserve to know from the onset on how we plan on addressing top community concerns from FIFA 19.

We're keen to hear your initial feedback on what we've shared today. Over the next few weeks, we'll be monitoring our forum post dedicated to this article HERE for your top questions on how we're taking action on these priorities.

On June 8th, we'll be hosting a livestream at EA PLAY and we plan on beginning to show you some of what we're discussing today, as well as some other surprises we're excited to talk about. We'll also give you a clear roadmap on when you can expect further discussions on Pitch Notes regarding other changes coming to FIFA.

Busy weeks ahead, and thanks again to the community for their continued support. We're looking forward to the future of the FIFA franchise, and we're eager to share more soon.

Gabriel Zaro, Corey Andress, and The FIFA Gameplay DEV Team


For more deep dives on FIFA from members of the game team, check out the Pitch Notes Page.

Please Note: This article is describing in general terms what updates the Dev Teams are working on for FIFA on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. We are constantly looking to improve the gameplay experience for everyone, so this article may become outdated as we make adjustments to keep our game fun for everyone.


FIFA 19 is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC .

Stay in the conversation on all things FIFA by liking us on Facebook , following us on Twitter and Instagram , and participating in the official FIFA Forums . Sign-up to receive emails about EA SPORTS FIFA and EA products, news, events, and promotions.

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