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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
The team has put a lot of effort into improving circumstances where a player finds themselves in an easy 1v1 situation against the Goalkeeper:
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:
The effectiveness of volley-crossing (or lob-crossing) a ball and volley-shooting a ball is being reduced in the next iteration:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Players have provided feedback on passing mechanics throughout the FIFA 19 cycle. Here's how we're addressing moving into our next product:
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.
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 .
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