Developer Interview: FIFA Ultimate Team

Thanks to our friends at XCN, we have a developer interview with Paul Hossack, the Line Producer on FIFA Ultimate Team.

In the interview he talks about how EA expanded on last years version, training and development of your players, gameplay improvements and more.

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Read on for the full interview.

FIFA 10 Ultimate Team Q&A 

1. In what way will you be expanding on last year’s success with FIFA Ultimate Team? 

We were really blown away by the success of FIFA 09 Ultimate Team. So many gamers played the mode, and played it a lot. It was great to see how much gamers enjoyed building squads, trading with other gamers and then taking their teams on the pitch to show how good they were. 

We have done a lot to improve FUT 10, and it all revolves around the feedback we got from our gamers last year who asked for more authenticity and more depth. We dramatically increased the number of leagues and players included. We are adding new dynamic tournaments that launch every week. We have significantly updated the chemistry system to make it more flexible and authentic. And now, gamers can manage multiple squads, using all of their players in any of their squad. 

2. Will players be able to play their friends in Ultimate Team, or does the add-on only match players with random opponents? 

In FUT 10, you are match-made against random opponents in online matches and tournaments. We have definitely heard the request to play against friends. However, it would take a lot of effort to ensure such a feature was not exploitable. We didn’t want to just throw in something that wasn’t great. Instead, we focused first on the fundamentals of the game working on adding authenticity and depth to the game. But we do hear you, and it’s on our list. 

3. Can you use your own Pro Player? If so, can you unlock things for him? 

You cannot use your Virtual Pro in FUT 10. This decision was based on user feedback that the Ultimate Team game was all about putting together a squad of the best footballers in the world. Gamers told us that having 6’9” strikers that no one had heard of didn’t fit the spirit of the game, and we agree. FUT is about authenticity. 

4. Is every player still capable of being trained to the 99 rating? Will there be an overall team maximum rating (eg: any combination of 11 but with an overall rating of no more than 900)? 

We changed the training system so that Training Items affect a player’s attributes for the next match only, after which they return to their original rating. Training is temporary. We think this is an important change. No longer will you face teams of nobody players all rated 99. Gamers told us that this just didn’t feel right. The best footballers of the world should be the best players in FUT 10. 

5. What gameplay improvements are going to be included that you think our readers would be especially interested in? Have you made any adjustments to the “Legendary” difficulty mode?

FUT 10 relies on FIFA 10 for its excellent gameplay. As in FUT 09, your team’s performance is heavily influenced by the chemistry you build in your squad. A great refinement we’ve added this year is that the chemistry boost given to players in gameplay is given to the players that earned the chemistry, unlike last year where all players got the same boost from the team’s overall chemistry. This means that if you build up great chemistry up the right side of your squad, then the right side of your squad will play much better than the left. They will have better trapping, passing, make better runs, have more accurate shots, etc. This is a very rewarding sensation as you feel each player improve on the pitch as you improve their chemistry. 

6.  Will FIFA 10 Ultimate Team have a playable offline mode, or do you have to be online? 

FUT 10 is an online-only service which requires that you have an online connection at all times while playing. This applies to when you are in the menus, and even when playing against the CPU in single-player matches or tournaments. This is done to ensure that there is no cheating when gamers are offline (e.g. powering off if you are losing). 

7. Are your developers big Aston Villa fans? They seem untouchable! :)

Not quite. I and Adam, Lead Designer, both support Liverpool. But even we can’t affect the players’ ratings. That’s handled by our team of data collection experts who collect player ratings and info for all of the EA SPORTS football products. One thing were are really excited about this year is that we have increased the number of leagues in FUT from 19 to 29, adding great leagues such as the Portuguese league, the Brazilian league, the Spanish 2nd, and more. This has had the related bonus of increasing the number of available players from around 4,000 to over 7,500 this year. We are really excited about this increase in authenticity that will let more gamers build the ultimate team made of their own favourite players. 

8. Are you going to do something special, like a re-launch campaign or something to promote it on Xbox 360? 

We have a number of plans to get gamers excited about FUT 10 and its launch on February 25. The exciting thing for us is that it isn’t just about the launch, but about all the things we will do post-launch to get the experience fresh for gamers. This includes releasing one new online and one new single-player Featured Tournament every week, frequent promotions and new pack available in the store (some for a limited-time only), and weekly updates to ratings of the top 11 ‘on-form’ players (based on real-world performance) when found in new packs that week. As a whole, we intend to provide a lot of reasons and ways for gamers to enjoy FUT 10 for a long time. 

9. Do you have any plans for the future of Ultimate Team that you couldn’t include this time around?

FIFA Ultimate Team is a very young game. We have lots of ideas of how we could make it even better. This year we really focused on getting the fundamentals right based on gamer feedback and we can’t wait until everyone can jump in and start building their squads. 

10.  And finally, how much is Fifa 10 Ultimate Team going to cost? What will the Microsoft Point cost of booster packs be? Can you give us a release date? 

FIFA 10 Ultimate Team is half the price of the previous version, includes a 5 game free trial and is available now.  

Thanks for your time!

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