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Quality you can swear at: EA Sports talks FIFA 13, Kinect and UFC

Label president Andrew Wilson on yelling at tellies

Brace yourself for some shocking behind-the-scenes insight. "We sat down and took notice of what we do when we play FIFA," says president of EA Sports Andrew Wilson. "We found that people scream at the screen on a fairly regular basis." Never let it be said that EA doesn't do its research, although we could have saved him a bit of time just by showing the accumulated spittle on the OXM telly after a lunchtime game.

The only surprise is that Wilson's examples are less profane. "I was calling for runners - knowing full well that I had to press a button to get a runner but I was still shouting - and when I got a slide tackle I'd be calling 'referee!'" Thus was born the newest addition to FIFA: using Kinect to listen to shouted commands for certain options.


"We learned from the Wii that gimmicks don't make any sense," he says. "We want every new control that we bring to the experience to extend and enhance it." That meant junking the idea of Kinect-powered goal kicks that fans had previously feared.

"We experimented with it," Wilson admits. "It felt disjointed and distracting. The concept of sitting down with a controller, then standing up, sitting down, standing up - it doesn't really represent a fluid way to play the game."

Can we look forward to more swearing recognition in future? Well, maybe. "The team are looking for every opportunity to deliver a more authentic experience for gamers. The more we can integrate voice into the game, the better."

Wilson won't be drawn on future developments for EA Sports, save to say that the publisher will definitely and unsurprisingly be supporting the next Xbox. "Kinect will continue to evolve with the Xbox in whatever that next generation is, whenever it comes," he smiles.

Fighting forward
And of course, there's new baby UFC: transferred from embattled THQ, and set to benefit from the tech EA has on the shelf from the Fight Night franchise - although Wilson stresses that the game will be a "fresh look" at the genre, to deliver "the future of MMA and not the past."

He's got a kind word for the unloved EA MMA, too: "EA Sports MMA had what at the time was the best grappling engine in all of sports. It had a system where you could actually run real-time live events with live commentary that wasn't being done anywhere else in the industry, not just sports. But EA Sports MMA was missing one fundamental thing: the UFC."


"The reality is, we wanted to be in mixed martial arts. Demonstrating an ability to build the game even in the absence of the UFC helped put us in a better position today. Some of that tech is still really relevant, still very advanced, and we will use some of it for certain."

And how about other licences, like the much-requested rugby and cricket titles? "I started my career building rugby and cricket games. I have a lot of passion around rugby in particular, and I would love the opportunity to do that again at some point. But we have to be very careful we don't try and climb too many mountains at the same time." So never say never, but Stuart Broad won't be on a game box just yet.