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EA's plan to revive, reimagine FIFA Street

With Electronic Arts' latest FIFA Street title taking a more realistic approach, the team at EA Canada needs to take extra care to differentiate the game from the mainline FIFA series.
This March, EA Sports will launch its reboot of the FIFA Street series, this time hoping to capture the authenticity of real-world street football. With the game's new, more grounded approach, however, the team at EA Canada has to be careful not to tread on the toes of the already realistic mainline FIFA games. "Differentiation is part of the difficulty of this project," FIFA Street line producer Sid Misra told Gamasutra. "Since we built the game with the FIFA engine underneath, we get a lot good stuff, but at the same time, we need to make sure our game is more than just FIFA with walls [around the field]." Misra said that by using the tech behind the traditional FIFA titles, EA Canada hopes to take some key lessons from the mainline series, and improve the quality of FIFA Street's core mechanics. By doing so, EA hopes to make a more robust football game, even if it means the series will move away from its more arcade-like roots. For instance, the team has used the FIFA tech to leverage FIFA 12's player collision and precision dribbling systems in new ways, allowing the new Street title to more accurately portray the various styles of street football around the world. Misra explained that this will help EA capture the essence of the sport, helping the game stand out from the traditional FIFA lineup. "For us to make a good street football game, we had to have an engine flexible enough to do a physical game like they play in London or a stylish game like they play in Rio," Misra said. "We think that the things people can do in street football already are pretty amazing. If we can capture that properly, by definition FIFA Street will be a more arcadey game [than FIFA 12]." Previous FIFA Street titles were far more arcade-like than traditional FIFA games, focusing on stylish trick moves, flashy visual effects, and more simplified gameplay mechanics. Misra said that while this style and simplicity worked for early entries in the series, the series needs to refocus on its fundamentals first and foremost. "FIFA Street 1 and 2 actually did quite well. They were very popular in terms of sales, but the thing is, they were not that popular in terms of their overall quality. Those teams took on the additional challenge of using rendering engines from other games and not the gameplay engine from FIFA -- basically, they were trying to build a street football game without a football engine underneath it." "FIFA Street 3 in particular left a bad taste in people's mouths," Misra added. "The art style wasn't really well received, and I think that's partly an indication of where the overall game quality was. That's partially why we used the FIFA engine for our game." The latest FIFA Street is set to debut this March for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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