top 50 silver players in fifa 14

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Montpellier move up to second place in top-14 with 50-19 win over Perpignan

16 February 2014 20:28:07 Sport

Montpellier run in five tries as they beat Perpignan 50-19 and move into second place in the process        

Vice Sport Time16 February 2014 20:28:07


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Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy to come out of retirement (if you've got FIFA 14 on Xbox)

14 February 2014 14:01:36 mirror - Sport

The Holland and Manchester United legend is joining the ranks of FIFA Ultimate Team as one of its legendary players

Vice Sport Time14 February 2014 14:01:36


Sportsmail vs 'The Machine': What happened when we took on the best FIFA 14 player in the world at the Ballon d'Or?

18 January 2014 12:39:22 Sport | Mail Online

To win a World Cup, you need to be at the top of your game. Mentally attuned, focused, determined. Just ask Bruce Grannec, the man who is officially the best FIFA 14 player in the world.

Vice Sport Time18 January 2014 12:39:22


January transfer window, top 50 players and targets: in pictures

11 January 2014 11:38:41 Football - Fixtures, results, news, match reports, comment

In pics: From Lionel Messi to Leighton Baines everyone has a price, but who are the most coveted footballers in the world this January?        

Vice All News Time11 January 2014 11:38:41


January transfer window, top 50 players and targets: in pictures

11 January 2014 11:27:45 Sport

In pics: From Lionel Messi to Leighton Baines everyone has a price, but who are the most coveted footballers in the world this January?        

Vice All News Time11 January 2014 11:27:45


The 10 worst types of FIFA Ultimate Team players you can have the misfortune to meet online

30 December 2013 14:19:00 mirror - Sport

Resident FIFA 14 ace Dan Silver has issues. Lots of them.

Vice Sport Time30 December 2013 14:19:00


The 10 worst types of FIFA Ultimate Team players you can have the misfortune to meet online

30 December 2013 14:03:42 mirror - News

Resident FIFA 14 ace Dan Silver has issues. Lots of them.

Vice All News Time30 December 2013 14:03:42


Xbox One: Microsoft's latest console will automatically record your best moments on FIFA 14

24 October 2013 12:03:06 mirror - Sport

Microsoft's new console the Xbox One will automatically record your top moments in FIFA 14 - unlike it's Sony rival

Vice Sport Time24 October 2013 12:03:06


Xbox One: Microsoft's latest console will automatically record your best moments on FIFA 14

24 October 2013 12:01:29 mirror - News

Microsoft's new console the Xbox One will automatically record your top moments in FIFA 14 - unlike it's Sony rival

Vice All News Time24 October 2013 12:01:29


Fifa 14 banned by league leaders as footballers use it to research opponents

09 October 2013 12:42:51 mirror - Sport

Players are banned from playing Fifa before matches after playing as themselves against their league opponents

Vice Sport Time09 October 2013 12:42:51


FIFA 14 knocks GTA 5 off the top spot in sales chart

01 October 2013 11:44:23 mirror - News

GTA 5's initial takings have broken records, but it clearly was not enough to resist the popularity of EA Sports' best-loved franchise

Vice All News Time01 October 2013 11:44:23


FIFA 14: Is FIFA 14 an improvement on previous versions? Our round-up of reviews

27 September 2013 11:47:05 mirror - Sport

Mirror games editor Dan Silver enjoyed FIFA 14, but what do other experts and reviewers think? We have put together the best bits

Vice Sport Time27 September 2013 11:47:05


FIFA 14: Is FIFA 14 an improvement on previous versions? Our round-up of reviews

27 September 2013 11:23:35 mirror - News

Mirror games editor Dan Silver enjoyed FIFA 14, but what do other experts and reviewers think? We have put together the best bits

Vice All News Time27 September 2013 11:23:35


FIFA 14 review: The game's more polished and playable, but is it still top of the table?

23 September 2013 19:25:16 mirror - Sport

Dan Silver gets his boots on for the current generation of video games consoles' swansong appearance

Vice Sport Time23 September 2013 19:25:16


Grand Theft Auto 5 expected to lose Christmas chart battle to Call of Duty: Ghosts and FIFA 14

13 September 2013 10:47:36 mirror - News

Despite the early popularity of the Rockstar franchise, bookies have placed their bets on COD to be the UK's top Christmas video game ahead of FIFA 14

Vice All News Time13 September 2013 10:47:36


Fifa 14 demo: Was it any good?

11 September 2013 12:22:26 mirror - Sport

The new Fifa game has been released in demo form, judging from the early signs, it looks like it has promise

Vice Sport Time11 September 2013 12:22:26


FIFA 14: Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale not in top-20 free-kick takers

10 September 2013 18:44:17 Football | Mail Online

The makers of FIFA 2014 have controversially omitted Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale from their top-20 free-kick takers on this season's edition of the game.

Vice Football Time10 September 2013 18:44:17


FIFA 14: Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale not in top-20 free-kick takers

10 September 2013 17:40:21 Sport | Mail Online

The makers of FIFA 2014 have controversially omitted Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale from their top-20 free-kick takers on this season's edition of the game.

Vice Sport Time10 September 2013 17:40:21


Gareth Bale ranked 17th on FIFA 14's list of top 50 players

06 September 2013 15:13:31 Sport | Mail Online

Gareth Bale may be the world's most expensive player but he is only ranked 17th in FIFA 14's list of top footballers. The Welshman has less ability on the popular computer game than the likes of Wayne Rooney, ranked 13th, and Robin Van Persie, ranked sixth - the highest of any Premier League players.

Vice Sport Time06 September 2013 15:13:31


Gareth Bale ranked 17th on FIFA 14's list of top 50 players

06 September 2013 13:41:07 Football | Mail Online

Gareth Bale may be the world's most expensive player but he is only ranked 17th in FIFA 14's list of top footballers. The Welshman has less ability on the popular computer game than the likes of Wayne Rooney, ranked 13th, and Robin Van Persie, ranked sixth - the highest of any Premier League players.

Vice Football Time06 September 2013 13:41:07


Fifa 14 player ratings: Gareth Bale only 17th best player in the game, but Messi is comfortably at the top

05 September 2013 21:05:19 mirror - Sport

Which players made it into Fifa 14's top 50 highest-rated in the world? We have the full list, which has some surprise omissions and inclusions

Vice Sport Time05 September 2013 21:05:19


England have just two players in European top 50 - Wayne Rooney and Leighton Baines

12 June 2013 15:09:29 Sport | Mail Online

Only two English players have made it into the list of Europe's top 50 players ranked according to new performance statistics. The Bloomberg Sports list uses scientifically-based analysis to evaluate players.

Vice Sport Time12 June 2013 15:09:29


England have just two players in European top 50 - Wayne Rooney and Leighton Baines

12 June 2013 14:46:36 Football | Mail Online

Only two English players have made it into the list of Europe's top 50 players ranked according to new performance statistics. The Bloomberg Sports list uses scientifically-based analysis to evaluate players.

Vice Football Time12 June 2013 14:46:36


The 50 greatest British & Irish Lions

06 June 2013 15:21:33 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

Guardian sport have today unveiled their list of the greatest Lions players of all time. Explore the rankings here • Get the data • Our interactive of the 50 greatest Lions in history • More data journalism and data visualisations from the Guardian Gareth Edwards has been named the greatest Lion in history , in a list of the top 50 British and Irish Lions published today by the Guardian. A 12-strong panel of experts , including three former Lions captains, Bill Beaumont, Phil Bennett and Finlay Calder were asked to nominate players on the basis of their ability and their personal contribution to the Lions. Correspondents, editors and contributors from both the Guardian and the Observer were also involved. The process of coming up with a definitive top 50 didn't come easy. As rugby union correspondent, Robert Kitson describes: Setting out to pick the best of the best from 125 years of British and Irish tours is, let's be honest, about as simple as ranking your closest friends in order of preference. Some meant more 30 years ago than they do now. Kitson also explains some of the difficulties faced in comparing past and present players: Those picked by the Lions in the last four decades, without giving too much away, have tended to attract proportionally more votes than those who did so in the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s. The game has changed so profoundly that, frankly, measuring the modern professional up against his amateur predecessors is harder than ever. We still hope you agree that identifying the top 50 players ever to represent Britain and Ireland remains great fun. The ranking, which has slowly been revealed this week bit by bit is now published in full and the top 50 players ever to represent Britain and Ireland are listed below for you to view. Willie John McBride, Martin Johnson, JPR Williams, Barry John, Gerald Davies, Mike Gibson, Mervyn Davies, Phil Bennett and Brian O'Driscoll make up the rest of the top 10. If we break down the top 50 by nationality, England and Wales dominate with 16 players each on the list. There are also nine Scottish and nine Irish players in the top 50. The chart above shows how the rankings break down by position. The most common positions on the list are centre and fly-half, followed by lock and prop. The 1974 Lions tour is the best represented with 14 appearances on the list, followed by 1971 with 11. 1977 and 1997 both have ten appearances each. The full breakdown by nationality, position, Lions tour and Lions test record can be found in the downloadable spreadsheet along with points given by each judge. What do you think of the list and who do you think should be on there? Download the data • DATA: download the full spreadsheet More open data Data journalism and data visualisations from the Guardian Development and aid data • Search the world's global development data with our gateway Can you do more with this data? • Contact us at data@guardian.co.uk • Follow us on Twitter • Like us on Facebook British & Irish Lions Rugby union Lions tour 2013 Australia sport Ireland Ami Sedghi guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time06 June 2013 15:21:33


Moya Dodd: Australia's member at the Fifa top table

01 June 2013 02:47:00 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

One of three women appointed to Fifa's executive committee, Moya Dodd's credentials are impressive on and off the field The Football Federation Australia (FFA) spent more than $45m of public money on Australia's failed World Cup bid , but there was a small sign of progress on Friday when FFA board member Moya Dodd was co-opted to the top table of football's world governing body, Fifa . Dodd, from Sydney, was one of three women who joined the 24 men on the Fifa executive committee after a vote late on Friday night at the annual congress meeting held in Mauritius. Lydia Nsekera from Burundi was elected to the executive for a four-year term, while Dodd and Sonia Bien-Aime from the Turks and Caicos Islands were co-opted for 12 months. Nsekera joined the executive as a co-opted member 12 months ago as part of Fifa's attempts to modernise its governance. Dodd told the congress on Friday that her playing experience, her legal career and time on the executive of FFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) were all reasons to vote for her. "These three qualifications have prepared me well to serve on the Fifa executive committee." Dodd said she would bring a player's perspective to the executive. She highlighted a wish to contribute to improved governance practices concerning match manipulation and doping. Neither she, nor the other two candidates, made mention of the serial allegations of corruption that have dogged Fifa . Dodd received 47 of her 70 votes from the AFC who had agreed earlier in the month to support her candidacy. The other 23 votes are thought to have included the 'home nations' of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and a handful of other votes from Europe. The 12-member Oceania Confederation, to which Australia belonged until 2006, is also thought to have supported Dodd after their candidate earlier withdrew. Dodd's credentials for the Fifa role are impressive. She is a partner with law firm Gilbert + Tobin, working in the competition and regulation group and specialising in the media and telecommunications sectors. Prior to joining the law firm, she worked with Fairfax Digital Media and had a role with the National Association of Community Legal Centres. With the NACLC, Dodd got a taste of working with international organisations based in Switzerland when she was one of five association representatives at NGO consultations with the United Nations, along with her partner, Sandy Killick. But more compellingly for many, she is also a former elite player. Dodd started playing football as an 11-year-old – and she's barely stopped since. At 48, she has been a regular in the local over-35 women's competition in Sydney. Campaigning for the executive committee position has put a temporary halt to her grassroots playing career. She told the congress that she was getting "slower and slower but I keep playing because I love it." Dodd's one playing regret – in common with many Australian male players of her generation – is that she didn't play in a World Cup despite being a Matilda since 1986 and vice-captain of the team for five years. Australia didn't qualify for the first ever Women's World Cup in China in 1991 and, by the next one in 1995 held in Sweden, Dodd had a career-finishing injury. But even then, in the days of so-called 'old soccer', Dodd's next move suggested that her eye was on the power behind the game. She was named in the largely ceremonial role of head of delegation for the Matildas in their first World Cup. Such positions – even today – are routinely reserved as a reward for longstanding and loyal committee persons. While not viewed as particularly close to the FFA Chairman, Frank Lowy, Dodd nonetheless owes her place at Fifa's elite to Lowy's continuing support. Lowy appointed her to the FFA Board in 2007 from where she took up roles with the AFC – as something of a novelty for the very male-dominated regional body – culminating in her election as female vice-president in 2009. From her work with AFC and as a member of Fifa's legal committee, she has assiduously built personal connections and developed her network. Only recently, Dodd was a guest of another Fifa executive committee member, Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, in a visit to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. Along with the 37-year-old Prince Ali, and in her capacity as chair of the AFC women's committee, Dodd championed the popular cause of overturning the ban on wearing of the hijab for female muslim players. Dodd's quiet and unassuming style will suit the Fifa executive, just as it has Lowy and the seven other male members of the FFA Board. She made the point in an interview earlier this week that "there are no women at the top" in the vast majority of the 208 member associations of Fifaaround the world. Dodd's critics say she has done little to change that, or champion other women in executive roles, in either Australia or the Asian Confederation. Her supporters argue that the only way to change things in world football is from within and that it's better to be seated at the table than not. Fifa Australia sport Bonita Mersiades guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds      

Vice All News Time01 June 2013 02:47:00


Moya Dodd: Australia's member at the Fifa top table

01 June 2013 02:46:15 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

One of three women appointed to Fifa's executive committee, Moya Dodd's credentials are impressive on and off the field The Football Federation Australia (FFA) spent more than $45m of public money on Australia's failed World Cup bid , but there was a small sign of progress on Friday when FFA board member Moya Dodd was co-opted to the top table of football's world governing body, Fifa . Dodd, from Sydney, was one of three women who joined the 24 men on the Fifa executive committee after a vote late on Friday night at the annual congress meeting held in Mauritius. Lydia Nsekera from Burundi was elected to the executive for a four-year term, while Dodd and Sonia Bien-Aime from the Turks and Caicos Islands were co-opted for 12 months. Nsekera joined the executive as a co-opted member 12 months ago as part of Fifa's attempts to modernise its governance. Dodd told the congress on Friday that her playing experience, her legal career and time on the executive of FFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) were all reasons to vote for her. "These three qualifications have prepared me well to serve on the Fifa executive committee." Dodd said she would bring a player's perspective to the executive. She highlighted a wish to contribute to improved governance practices concerning match manipulation and doping. Neither she, nor the other two candidates, made mention of the serial allegations of corruption that have dogged Fifa . Dodd received 47 of her 70 votes from the AFC who had agreed earlier in the month to support her candidacy. The other 23 votes are thought to have included the 'home nations' of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and a handful of other votes from Europe. The 12-member Oceania Confederation, to which Australia belonged until 2006, is also thought to have supported Dodd after their candidate earlier withdrew. Dodd's credentials for the Fifa role are impressive. She is a partner with law firm Gilbert + Tobin, working in the competition and regulation group and specialising in the media and telecommunications sectors. Prior to joining the law firm, she worked with Fairfax Digital Media and had a role with the National Association of Community Legal Centres. With the NACLC, Dodd got a taste of working with international organisations based in Switzerland when she was one of five association representatives at NGO consultations with the United Nations, along with her partner, Sandy Killick. But more compellingly for many, she is also a former elite player. Dodd started playing football as an 11-year-old – and she's barely stopped since. At 48, she has been a regular in the local over-35 women's competition in Sydney. Campaigning for the executive committee position has put a temporary halt to her grassroots playing career. She told the congress that she was getting "slower and slower but I keep playing because I love it." Dodd's one playing regret – in common with many Australian male players of her generation – is that she didn't play in a World Cup despite being a Matilda since 1986 and vice-captain of the team for five years. Australia didn't qualify for the first ever Women's World Cup in China in 1991 and, by the next one in 1995 held in Sweden, Dodd had a career-finishing injury. But even then, in the days of so-called 'old soccer', Dodd's next move suggested that her eye was on the power behind the game. She was named in the largely ceremonial role of head of delegation for the Matildas in their first World Cup. Such positions – even today – are routinely reserved as a reward for longstanding and loyal committee persons. While not viewed as particularly close to the FFA Chairman, Frank Lowy, Dodd nonetheless owes her place at Fifa's elite to Lowy's continuing support. Lowy appointed her to the FFA Board in 2007 from where she took up roles with the AFC – as something of a novelty for the very male-dominated regional body – culminating in her election as female vice-president in 2009. From her work with AFC and as a member of Fifa's legal committee, she has assiduously built personal connections and developed her network. Only recently, Dodd was a guest of another Fifa executive committee member, Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, in a visit to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. Along with the 37-year-old Prince Ali, and in her capacity as chair of the AFC women's committee, Dodd championed the popular cause of overturning the ban on wearing of the hijab for female muslim players. Dodd's quiet and unassuming style will suit the Fifa executive, just as it has Lowy and the seven other male members of the FFA Board. She made the point in an interview earlier this week that "there are no women at the top" in the vast majority of the 208 member associations of Fifaaround the world. Dodd's critics say she has done little to change that, or champion other women in executive roles, in either Australia or the Asian Confederation. Her supporters argue that the only way to change things in world football is from within and that it's better to be seated at the table than not. Fifa Australia sport Bonita Mersiades guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds      

Vice All News Time01 June 2013 02:46:15


Football's 50 top transfer window targets – in pictures

30 May 2013 12:03:38 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

As the transfer window opens, we highlight 50 of the most sought-after players in the world, from Edinson Cavani to Luis Suárez Jonny Weeks Sachin Nakrani        

Vice All News Time30 May 2013 12:03:38


Football's 50 top transfer window targets – in pictures

30 May 2013 11:52:19 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

As the transfer window opens, we highlight 50 of the most sought-after players in the world, from Edinson Cavani to Luis Suárez Jonny Weeks Sachin Nakrani        

Vice All News Time30 May 2013 11:52:19


Fifa 14 preview: skill games, career mode and more

18 April 2013 23:53:34 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

In our second look at the latest Fifa, here's a glance at some of the other new features we can expect to see in the update Free kick. Penalty. In the real game these words are likely to be greeted with expectant joy from supporters and players on the right side of the decision. In the Fifa series, though, they often invoke indifference or even dread. That's because, for many, scoring from a set-piece in Fifa is a sort of halcyon moment, as rare, magical and incomprehensible as falling in love at first sight, or viewing a meteor shower. My free kick attempts will tend to go anywhere – row Z, out for a throw in, into another game – rather than the goal. Most of the time, I just opt for a short pass. And penalties? The controls seemed so sensitive I always ended up tapping most of mine limply down the middle, like Gareth Southgate at Euro 96 – over and over again. Last year, however, the Fifa development team at EA Sports finally realised something had to be done, so they introduced Skill Games, a selection of mini-challenges designed to teach you how to use various in-game moves and systems. The shooting and crossing ones were useful, but the set-piece tutorials were a bloody revelation, finally letting average gamers into an arcane world of penalty-taking confidence. Now, at least 68% of my kicks go into one of the corners of the net, rather than into the fuzzy face of a simply animated spectator. And it's great because it doesn't feel like a tutorial mode: in each challenge you can continually improve on your performance so it's like a series of mini-games rather than going to football school and being told you're an idiot. It's little wonder then that this new feature has been a success. According to EA, 2.29bn skill games have been played since the launch of Fifa 13 last autumn. And so for Fifa 14, the mode is to be extended – familiar challenges are going to be tweaked, and new tasks are being added. During a recent demo session, producer Nick Channon showed off a selection of the newcomers. One is a distance shooting exercise with a line of balls just outside the 18-yard area – the player has to run along and belt all of these into the goal. More interesting though are the team mate exercises. In one, your player has to run the length of the pitch making one-two passes with other players en route, before finally shooting. Better still, there's a little group task, where seven players in a small box must one-touch pass the ball between them for as long as possible as defenders run about trying to intercept. This one will be familiar to anyone who's actually played for a team, and brings more of a sense of actual football practise to the mode. Elsewhere, the studio is making some key changes to the Career Mode, which lets you compete as a manager or player over a number of seasons. The user interface is being completely overhauled to make it easier to navigate and more logical – the squad screen, for example, has a nice graphic of your first eleven, with each icon showing a range of stats so you get a visual representation rather than having to drill down into multiple screens. From the brief glimpse I got, there's a slight look of Windows 8 about it all – it has that clean, box-based feel. Apparently, email notifications can also be tailored so you're not constantly interrupted by irrelevant spam as you advance though the season - now, only really important messages will be mandatory reads. Fifa 14 is also adding a new global scouting network, which will allow managers to set up searches for fresh talent based on player traits and tendencies rather than stats. For Channon, this is about creating a much more authentic system. "A manager doesn't go in saying I want a 75 rated player," he says. "Instead, with the new scouting system you say, I want a pacy winger, I want a good holding midfielder, I want a big striker I can play the ball up to. You can then go and scout those players. Clearly if you're after a Messi or an Ibrahimovic, you're not going to have to scout them, but what about a longer term player who's cheaper but has the potential to grow? Instead of searching all the ratings, you can think about the types of players you want and scout based on that." So in Fifa 14, you get a series of putdown menus providing specific wish lists to your scout. You can define that you'd like, say, a tall centre back from South America with good dribbling skills; your scout then packs his sun tan lotion and he's off. Apparently, the longer you leave him out there, the more accurate his report becomes, so there's a long term challenge here, stretching out the transfer system so that it takes in the whole season. "We have a dedicated database team working on all this, which is now quite big thanks to the Match Day feature, says Channon. "They have processes in place for managing player stats and traits. But the game still has to be fun. We have to maintain the entertainment factor." Talking about all the changes, Channon says that part of the challenge is learning from feedback, but not reacting immediately. "We look at what the team thinks, what we've learned, things we couldn't get to - then as soon as the demo hits, we get customer feedback. And then when the game is released we get a massive amount more. But we can't just react to the first couple of days. Look at tactical defending: when we first released the demo, the reaction was 'oh my goodness, this is really different', but actually that quickly went away because everyone got used to it. We know that when we make big changes like first touch control, people initially react negatively, but often they'll say, this makes sense, I can't go back." So. just a few extra snippets from Fifa 14 there, and EA will no doubt be revealing more about multiplayer aspects as we head into summer. And while the release date is likely to be the end of September, the big question is over what formats the game will appear on. At the start of our press demo last week, EA made it clear that they wold only be discussing the PS3, Xbox and PC versions of the game – which of course, pretty much confirmed that next-gen versions will be announced. It's likely we'll get Fifa 14 for current platforms in September, then updated special editions for the new PlayStation and Xbox platforms later. One thing's for sure, we can expect ever closer integration with the real sport and an increasingly pervasive feel to the series. Last year's Match Day feature ripped information and stories from the actual season and put them into the commentary and player form stats. Meanwhile, the EA Sports Football Club smartphone app also allowed Ultimate Team fans to play around with their squads while on the move. EA Sports is keen on expanding these elements – it wants us to be constantly in touch with the game; on phones, tablets and consoles, wherever we are, checking team info, tweaking formations, comparing real-world news to in-game seasons. Of course, some people hate all of this, but it's increasingly where big gaming franchises are going – and it will get much more interesting with the next-gen machines. EA just doesn't want to talk about it. Yet. • You can read our main preview of Fifa 14 here .

Vice All News Time18 April 2013 23:53:34


Fifa 14 – preview

17 April 2013 14:14:56 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

Overhauled ball physics, smarter defending and new sprinting controls are key additions to the latest footie sim from EA In modern football, it is the playmakers we idolise; the magicians who can orchestrate attacks as well as score. Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández, Andrea Pirlo, Lionel Messi … mostly, they are deep-lying forwards or creative midfielders; they don't get in on the end of long, lofted passes, they sculpt goals. This is where Fifa 14 wants to go. Every year, when the latest Fifa is shipped, the team gets together, sifts through feedback, from within the studio and from customers, and works out where to go next. This time there was a rather weighty conclusion: Fifa is too fast. There is something about the system, the physics, the controls, whatever that leads toward end-to-end gameplay. All the action is happening around the 18-yard area. Everything is compressed. "That's not as realistic as we'd like," says series producer Nick Channon as he introduces a roomful of journalists to the latest instalment. "When you look at the modern game, it's much more about building up through the midfield. The best teams move the ball around, switch sides, attack on the wings, they attack from everywhere – that's something we want to bring into Fifa. The exhilaration of scoring great goals isn't just about the shot, it's about how you get there." So for Fifa 14, the big emphasis is on build-up play, on anticipation and on off-the-ball movement; it's about driving through the midfield, rather than lofting balls over it. For a start, the team has completely re-worked how dribbling at speed works. It turns out that in most football simulations, when the gamer hits the sprint button, the onscreen player is limited to a turning circle of just 22.5 degrees – which means you get these long, wide turning arcs. Fifa 14 has done away with that; you'll now be able to turn at any angle while sprinting, leading defenders up the pitch before darting back, or winding through opponents. To ensure this isn't over-powered, however, the movement physics is getting a new addition: momentum. Now, if your player quickly changes direction, or turns completely, you'll get a brief pause as they transfer weight from one foot to the other. Channon runs through early footage of a sharp about turn on screen, and the effect looks immediately more authentic. Beyond that, we didn't get any hands-on time so I've no idea how losing this historic 22.5-degree turning circle is going to affect things, but it should make for much less predictability in the midfield. Which is the whole point, of course. On that note, Fifa 14 is also set to build on last year's first-touch control system, which varies how effectively a player receives the ball depending on his skill, position and the speed and angle of delivery. This time, EA Sports is introducing variable dribble touches, so sprinting players will push the ball forward at differing distances, again based on their skills; a stylish midfielder will keep the ball close to them, but a hulking defender may well push it out further, giving opposing players the chance to steal possession. Whatever, the days of having the ball stick to the runner's feet are over. "It will transform how you think about spiriting," says Channon. What we're getting so far is a shift in balance toward defenders, and that continues into the demo. The next big change is in marking, which Channon feels tended to be loose enough in Fifa 13 for players to turn defenders reasonably easily. Now it's being tightened up, thanks to a change to the AI. Apparently, in previous iterations of the game, computer-controlled players would make their defensive decisions in a single frame of animation, often breaking away from attackers if another forward player was spotted in a threatening position. Now they assess situations over multiple frames which means they're less likely to act on split-second decisions, instead staying focused to track the player on the ball. As a consequence, one cheap route to goal has been closed up. Channon talks about how, in the past, if a ball was cleared from the box, it would almost always fall to an attacking player, allowing the ball to be recycled. Now, however, those players are likely to have tight defensive markers. "It's not about making the game more difficult," insists Channon. "It's about making it more fun." By taking away some of game's repetitive tics, the idea is that the action will feel more authentic, and more representative of the real sport. And to balance things up, there are additions to the attacking intelligence of AI players. They can now make three different types of forward move: spinning out and running in behind defenders; running along the back line to stay onside, and backing in to defenders to create space. Each one is a visual cue to gamers, and as with the variable ball control while sprinting, it adds more personality to individual players – powerful centre forwards will have much more success backing into and tussling with defenders than lighter strikers. "The new runs make a huge difference," says Channon later. "The big one is the backing in to defenders, being able to play the ball in to the feet of a striker is important, you see it a lot in the real game. And being able to turn the defender gives you other opportunities. It's all about balance – with the tightening up of marking, it means the game will be less backwards and forwards. We're not changing the actual game speed at all, but it will slow down naturally, you'll be able to look at different options and vary your game. It won't be about getting cheap goals." Adding to the sense of physicality is a new "protect the ball" move, accessible by pressing the left trigger. Hitting this slows the player down, but allows them to shield the ball while dribbling, sticking out an arm or angling their body to see off opposing players. Gameplay producer Aaron McHardy likens the new control system to a racing sim, with sprint on the right trigger acting as accelerate, and "protect the ball" on the left as brake. The idea is that players can now battle through midfield, dictating and varying pace, while probing for decent passes. Players can also use left trigger to jostle for a loose ball, or to counteract a defender using the B button to pull at his opponent. The most intriguing update, though, is to scoring. In the past, player animations didn't tell the full story about a shooting chance. If you hit the shoot button during an animation sequence, the player would be snapped into the correct position – a slightly awkward process. Now, strikers will adjust their stride and angle realistically and this will signal how truly prepared they are. Channon talks about how EA would get feedback from gamers mystified why a certain shot flew well wide or dribbled pathetically into the keeper's arms – now, a new set of animations will provide visual tells: you'll know if the ball is too close to the attacker's feet, if they're going to have to attempt a rushed shot; and by watching closely, there will be a chance to pull out of a strike and instead pass the ball or feint and set up for a better chance. Defenders will get their own version of this. When going in for a tackle in Fifa 13, the defender is essentially committed for the duration of the fixed animation cycle – time it slightly wrong and your man is left floundering. In Fifa 14, however, the more phased appro

Vice All News Time17 April 2013 14:14:56