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The Future of EA Sports

How this year's FIFA, Madden and NHL plot the course for sports games on next-gen

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AI AND PROCESSING POWER

Because they're comparatively uninspiring to look at compared to say a Crysis or a Forza, many tend to underestimate the inherent difficulties of programming a sports title. FIFA, for example, has to keep track of 22 different players simultaneously, each of whom have to react to an ever-changing range of stimuli and variables at any given time.

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But it's no good just having them react to events on the field; they need to be proactive, altering their position in accordance to their opponent's movements and going on runs of their own when you have the ball. This is an area which has taken massive strides in massive years, but still EA want more.

And so FIFA 13 takes AI a step further - now your teammates will attempt to anticipate plays two moves ahead, hopefully bringing an end to those frustrating moments where you play a killer pass from deep in midfield, only to find that your strikers have pulled up like a Kieron Dyer hamstring.

Smarter players also make for braver players: fleet-footed forward will now openly flirt with the offside flag in a bid to get an edge over defenders. They'll curve their runs in an attempt to maintain their momentum.

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AI is one area that will plainly benefit from the increased processing power the next gen will bring, but Bilbey feels that currently, EA Sports' dev teams do not feel limited by current-gen hardware.

Instead, improvements will continue to be gradual and sustained, the additions bridging the gap between one generation and the next. And, as we found out while discussing the physics of American Football (of all things), EA has always planned it to be this way...

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