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FIFA series
FIFA series Logo.gif
FIFA series logo as of mid-2006
Developer(s) EA Sports
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Platform(s) Current:
Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Mobile Phone, Nintendo DS, Wii, iPhone

Notable past systems:
Mega Drive, SNES, PlayStation, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, 3DO, Sega 32X, Sega Game Gear, Sega Master System, Sega CD, Amiga, Nokia N-gage, Gizmondo, DOS

Release date(s) Annually, 1993-present
Genre(s) Association football
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer (all versions)

FIFA, also known as FIFA Football or FIFA Soccer, is a series of Association football video games, released annually by Electronic Arts under the EA Sports label. While there was no major competition when EA released the first titles in their Madden NFL and NHL series, football video games such as Sensible Soccer, Kick Off and Matchday Soccer had been developed since the late eighties and were already competitive in the games market when EA announced a football game as the next addition to their EA Sports label.

When the series began in late 1993 it was notable for being the first to have an official licence from FIFA, the world governing body of football. The latest installments in the series contain many exclusively-licenced leagues and teams from around the world, including the English Premier League and Football League, Italian Serie A, Spanish Primera Liga, German Bundesliga, French Ligue 1, Dutch Eredivisie,Mexican Primera, and US Major League Soccer, allowing the use of real leagues, clubs, and player names and likenesses within the games.

The main series has been complemented by additional installments based on single major tournaments, such as the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championship, and UEFA Champions League, as well as a series of football management titles.

As of 2009, the FIFA franchise is localized into 18 languages and sold in 37 countries; it is the most popular EA Sports franchise globally.[1]

Contents

History

The key points of EA's early advertising campaigns were the isometric view of the pitch, an innovation when other games used either top down, side scrolling or bird's eye views, as well as detailed graphics and animations, and of course the FIFA endorsement. It was shipped for Christmas 1993, named FIFA International Soccer, and was released for most of the popular console and computer platforms of the time.

While FIFA 95 did not add much other than the ability to play with club teams, FIFA 96 pushed the boundaries. For the first time with real player names by obtaining the FIFPro license, the PlayStation, PC, 32X and Sega Saturn versions used EA's "Virtual Stadium" engine, with 2D sprite players moving around a real-time 3D stadium. FIFA 97 improved on this with polygonal models for players and added an indoor soccer mode, but an early pinnacle was reached with FIFA: Road to World Cup 98. This version featured much improved graphics, a complete World Cup with qualifying rounds (including all national teams) and refined gameplay. Months later, World Cup 98, EA's first officially-licensed tournament game, gave each team a unique kit and broke a sequence of poor tournament-based video games started by US Gold's World Cup Carnival in 1986 and continued until Gremlin Interactive's Euro 96.

FIFA games have been met with some criticism, such as for the minimal improvements each title features over its predecessor. As the console market expanded, FIFA was challenged directly by other titles such as Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer (known as Winning Eleven in Japan and the US). Both FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer have a large following but FIFA sales could rise as much as 30 percent year-over-year in Europe, making FIFA the most profitable EA Sports title, thanks to its global audience and lower license costs compared to Madden.[2]

FIFA is the only video game series to be published on the same console platform (in this case both the Sony PlayStation & PlayStation 2) for ten successive years (Formerly FIFA Soccer 96 published in 1995, through to FIFA Soccer 2005 published in 2004; and then FIFA 2001 published in 2000, through to FIFA 10 published in 2009). EA's Madden NFL series appeared on the PlayStation for nine straight years.

Games in the series

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FIFA International Soccer

Known as EA Soccer during development and sometimes subsequently also known as FIFA '94,[3] the first game in the series was released in the weeks leading up to Christmas 1993. This greatly hyped football title broke with traditional 16-bit era games by presenting an isometric view rather than the more usual top-down view (Kick Off), side view (European Club Soccer), or bird's-eye view (Sensible Soccer). It only includes national teams, and real player names are not used. A notorious bug allows the player to score directly from an opposing goal kick by standing in front of the goalkeeper so that the ball rebounds off him into the net. The Sega Mega CD version was released under the title "FIFA International Soccer Championship Edition" it includes some features used in the next title, and is a highly polished version of the original. The game on the 3DO console sported pseudo-3D cameras and it was the most graphically advanced version.[4] Also, the game is playable on FIFA 06 for the PlayStation 2.

  • Programming: Jan Tian, Brian Plank, Kevin Pickell
  • Art: George Ashcroft, Dianna Davies, David Adams, Suzan Germić, Mike Smith
  • Music & Sound: Jeff Dyck
  • Producer: Bruce McMillan
  • Development Director: Joey Della Savia
  • Product Manager: Neil Thewarapperuma

FIFA Soccer 95

  • Tagline: "The best console football can get"
  • Released for: Mega Drive
  • Release date: 8 July 1994

Using the same engine with only minor retouches, FIFA 95 introduced club teams to the series within eight national leagues: Brazil, Germany's Fußball-Bundesliga, Italy's Serie A, Spain's La Liga, England's Premier League, France's Ligue 1, Netherlands' Eredivisie and USA. Most of the leagues had their team lineup based on the 1993-94 season, and the teams, although recognisably real, all still had fictitious players, many of them even returning from the previous game. The USA League consists of teams and players from the A-League, the country's second division - subsequent editions would feature "artificial" division one leagues, a feature not corrected until the 2000 edition, when Major League Soccer was included for the first time. In addition, the Brazilian league contained only teams from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with the exception of Internacional, from Porto Alegre -- it would not be until FIFA 07 that Campeonato Brasileiro represented the country.

FIFA Soccer 96

This is the first FIFA game to feature real-time 3D graphics on the Sega Saturn, PlayStation, 32X, and PC versions, using technology called "Virtual Stadium". It is also the first in the series to present players with real player names and positions, with ranking, transfer and team customisation tools. However, the Brazilian teams had mostly inaccurate rosters, some of them even featuring long-retired players (this would only be corrected in FIFA 99). The SNES and Mega Drive versions use an updated version of FIFA 95's engine with new teams and graphics. It is also the first "FIFA" game to contain a player/team editor (in the Mega Drive and fifth-generation versions only). Also, in addition to the eight national leagues of the previous game, three leagues debuted in the game: Scottish Premier League, Allsvenskan and Malaysia Super League - a lineup that would stay for the next two editions as well. This was also the first fifa to have a proper introduction.

FIFA 97

The biggest change in FIFA '97 was the inclusion of 6-a-side indoor soccer mode and polygonal players, with motion capture provided by David Ginola. The game features a much higher number of playable leagues from England, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and even features the Malaysian league. The gameplay on the PC and 32-bit consoles, however, leaves a lot to be desired and is very sluggish. These versions also feature commentary by John Motson, partnered by Andy Gray, with Des Lynam introducing the matches.

FIFA: Road to World Cup 98

This game marked the start of an upward trend in the series. It boasted a refined graphics engine, team and player customisation options, 16 stadiums, improved artificial intelligence, a "Road to World Cup" mode with all FIFA-registered national teams, and a licensed soundtrack featuring popular musical artists of the time. The most ambitious of the series up to that point, it features many accurate team rosters even with reserves for national call up when playing in the round robin qualification modes. FIFA 98 was the first of the series to feature a licenced soundtrack, with "Song 2" by Blur used as the intro track for the game. It is the last FIFA game to be released on the 16-bit consoles that the series had originated on.

FIFA 99

While the indoor mode was no longer featured, the gameplay's fluidity and responsiveness was increased. The increasing number of websites dedicated to the game and a larger number of leagues (the Malaysian league was removed, and on its stead came two new leagues: the Jupiler League from Belgium and the Portuguese Primeira Liga; this came to be a problem when the owners of the rights to the Primeira Liga tried to pull the game from the shelves locally) ensured good sales. Graphically, it is a major improvement over FIFA '98, with the inclusion of basic facial animations and different players' heights as well as certain other cosmetic features such as improved kits and emblems, although they are unlicensed. Gamers may also create their own custom cups and leagues and select the teams they wish to participate. Another new features was the ability to manually change the referee's strictness, allowing major injuries and fouls to go un-noticed. In many peoples eyes this is seen as the best FIFA.

FIFA 99 also features an elite league called the "European Dream League" in which 20 top teams from across Europe battle it out in a league format. It was also the first game to feature a block containing teams which did not pertain to any of the main leagues (back then, it was known as "Rest of Europe" since all teams were European, the vast majority of them featured either in the 1998-99 season of UEFA Champions League or of the UEFA Cup).

Commentary is provided by John Motson, with co-commentators Mark Lawrenson and Chris Waddle. Introductions are provided by Des Lynam and Gary Lineker. The player featured on the front of the game is Dennis Bergkamp.

FIFA 2000

Gameplay is fast, simple, and has a clear arcade feeling which failed to keep hardcore fans happy, especially with rival games such as International Superstar Soccer gaining in reputation. A new set piece system was introduced, whereby pressing a certain key results in a cross to a particular teammate. This system was used until the 2002 edition. It also features a passing indicator, whose colour, like a traffic light, varies depending on the direction of the pass and potential obstacles - red means a certain wrong pass, yellow means there is a 50/50 chance of success, and green indicates that possession will most probably not be lost in the course of the pass. For the first time, U.S. Major League Soccer (with licensed kits, a first on the mainstream series - World Cup 98 made use of licensed kits also) and six new leagues (Danish Faxe Kondi Ligaen, Greek Alpha Ethniki, Israeli Premier League, Korean K-League, Norwegian Tippeligaen and Turkish Premier League) are included. The game also features a special team block with classic squads, club teams and national teams, ranging from world famous lineups such as Real Madrid of the 1950s and Hungary of 1954, to less well-known teams such as IFK Gothenburg of the 1980s, Red Star Belgrade of the early 1990s and Rosenborg BK of the 1997.

Robbie Williams provided the title song with It's Only Us, which was also featured on the first and only FIFA soundtrack CD, released by EMI. He allegedly did this on the condition that the football team he supports, Port Vale, was included in the game, which it was, as a special feature team.

A Nintendo 64 beta version of FIFA 2000 exists though the game was not officially released for this platform.

Commentary is provided by Phil Schoen and Julie Foudy.

The player featured on the front of the game is Sol Campbell.

FIFA 2001

This title had a new graphics engine which allows each team to have its own detailed kit, and for some players, their own unique faces. Doing away with ordinary coloured pennants as club emblems, the license includes official club emblems for the first time, although certain leagues, like the Dutch league, are unlicensed. Slightly tweakable physics made the game a modding favorite for its fan community. The game also includes the entire Austrian Bundesliga as a playable league for the first time, albeit removing the Portuguese Liga and the Turkish Premier League. A "hack" feature is included, where the player can press R1 to attempt an intentional foul, such a high sliding tackle. This title was the first game of the series with a power bar for shooting.

A Nintendo 64 beta version of FIFA 2001 developed by THQ exists, though the game was not officially released for this platform.

Commentary is provided by John Motson and Mark Lawrenson.

The player featured on the front of the game is Paul Scholes.

FIFA Football 2002

Power bars for passes were introduced, and dribbling reduced in order to attain a higher challenge level. The power bar can also be customised to suit the gamer's preference. The game also includes club emblems for many more European clubs as well as for major Dutch clubs such as PSV, AFC Ajax and Feyenoord, although there was no Dutch league of any kind (they were under the "Rest of World" header). This game also features, for the first time, the Swiss Super League, at the cost of excluding the Greek League. A card reward system licensed from Panini was also introduced where, after winning a particular competition, a star player card is unlocked. There is also a bonus game with the nations that had automatically qualified for the 2002 World Cup (France, Japan and South Korea), in which the player tries to improve the FIFA ranking of their chosen team by participating in international friendlies.

Many of the international teams in the game are not licensed (some of them down to the players' names like the Netherlands), as well as smaller countries such as Latvia, who were only given numbers as player names. Also, to date, this was the last FIFA edition to feature a Japanese national team, since Japan Football Association would go on to concede exclusive rights to Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer series.

Commentary is provided by John Motson and Andy Gray. The player featured on the front of the game is Thierry Henry.

FIFA Football 2003

FIFA 2003 features completely new gameplay from the previous titles. EA revamped the outdated DirectX 7 graphics used in FIFA 2001 and 2002, and introduced new graphics featuring more detailed stadiums, players, and kits. An Elite League composed of the best European teams is also included.

Commentary is provided by John Motson and Ally McCoist. The players featured on the front of the game are Ryan Giggs, Edgar Davids and Roberto Carlos.

FIFA Football 2004

While not adding much to the game engine, the biggest new inclusion in FIFA 2004 is secondary divisions, which allow the player to take lower ranked teams into the top leagues and competitions (a promotion/relegation system was present since the 2000 edition, but none up until this one featured second-tier leagues). A new gameplay feature dubbed "off the ball" was introduced, which is the ability to simultaneously control two players, in order, for example, to move a second player into the box in anticipation of a pass. The online mode was touted as the main feature. Another key feature is "Football Fusion", which allows owners of both FIFA 2004 and Total Club Manager 2004 to play games from TCM in FIFA 2004. This is also the first FIFA game to feature Latin American club teams aside from those of the Brazilian League; there are four from Mexico (América, Toluca, Monterrey and UNAM; a fifth team, Tigres, is present only in the Game Boy Advance version) and two from Argentina (Boca Juniors and River Plate). The title sequence, featuring Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry and Alessandro Del Piero was filmed at St James' Park, the home grounds of Newcastle United.

Commentary is provided by John Motson and Ally McCoist. The players featured on the front of the game are Thierry Henry, Alessandro Del Piero and Ronaldinho.

FIFA Football 2005

FIFA 2005 was released much earlier than the usual late October date to obtain a head start over Pro Evolution Soccer 4 and avoid clashing with EA Sports' own FIFA Street. The game features the return of the create-a-player mode, as well as an improved Career mode. The biggest difference compared to previous titles in the series is the inclusion of first-touch gameplay which provides gamers with the ability to perform "real-life" tricks and passes. It is also the first version to feature the full Mexican League. The game has no opening video, but its soundtrack is headlined by British DJ Paul Oakenfold, who composed the FIFA Theme especially for the game, using some sounds from the game such as crowd noises and commentary. This was the last title released for the original PlayStation in the US. The game also features authentic crowd chants edited by producer Dan Motut.

Commentary is provided by John Motson and Ally McCoist. The players featured on the front of the game are Patrick Vieira, Andriy Shevchenko and Fernando Morientes.

FIFA 06


FIFA's developers made a complete overhaul of the game engine for the 2006 installment of the game, claiming a dramatic increase in the control of play, having rewritten more than half the game's code. In addition to a renovation of the engine, which discards the "off the ball" system, the developers boasted a significantly more involved Career mode and the introduction of "team chemistry" which determines how well team members play together. This installment breaks with the long tradition of commentary from Match of the Day's John Motson and (more recently) Ally McCoist, who are replaced by ITV's Clive Tyldesley and Sky pundit Andy Gray, who had already worked in the series as guest commentator.

The players featured on the front of the game are Wayne Rooney and Ronaldinho.

FIFA 07

The main differences from the previous game are a new "Interactive Leagues" function, new stadiums such as the new Wembley Stadium and Emirates Stadium, and the ability to create custom teams and Turkcell Super Lig is returned after seven years of absence from the series. The game's front-end and graphics engine remain largely the same. The Xbox 360 version uses a completely new game engine which was created from scratch for the system. This Xbox 360 version also features a much reduced team line-up, completely removing all lower division teams and focusing on the four main European leagues, plus the Mexican Clausura and national teams.

Commentary is provided by Clive Tyldesley and Andy Gray. The players featured on the front of the game are Wayne Rooney and Ronaldinho.

FIFA 08

FIFA 08 introduced a major new game mode called "Be a Pro", in which the player controls only a single player on the field. This version also introduced a more fleshed out club section including the League of Ireland, and the Hyundai A-League of Australia, for the first time. Unlike FIFA 06 and 07 however, FIFA 08 does not include any memorable moments or season highlights.

The debut version for the Wii introduced motion controls for shooting, as well as three mini-games that make use of the Wii Remote.

Commentary is provided by Clive Tyldesley and Andy Gray. The players featured on the front of the game are Wayne Rooney and Ronaldinho.

FIFA 09

FIFA 09 was released on 3 October 2008 in Europe and 14 October 2008 in North America. It features a revamped collision system and an option for 10 versus 10 "Be a Pro" online matches, and the new "Adidas Live Season" feature, which updates all the players' stats in a particular league based on the player's form in real life. Although the feature is activated through microtransactions, gamers have access to one free league of their choice from the moment they activate the service to the end of the 2008-09 season.

Online play has also been improved in FIFA 09, with a feature called "FIFA 09 Clubs" allowing players to form or join clubs and field their strongest team online. The game has met with generally positive reception from reviewers.

Clive Tyldesley and Andy Gray provide the commentary in the English version again. However in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, Tyldesley is replaced by Martin Tyler. For the first time, users can also purchase extra commentator voices in different languages from the PlayStation Store (PlayStation 3) and Xbox Live Marketplace (Xbox 360).[5] Another option for the English language being Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend.

FIFA 10

Fifa 10 is the latest addition of the Fifa Series. The game has an extended Manager Mode which includes a new Assistant Manager can be used to take care of the team's line-up and to rotate the squad based on importance of the upcoming match and improved finances. The "Player Experience and Growth System" has changed.Player growth will now be determined by in-game performance, demands placed on the player, and achievements based on the player's particular position. The games also features 50 stadiums and 31 leagues. It also includes 360 degrees player control instead of the 8-direction control in previous games.

Other titles

Outside the yearly series, also from EA Sports:

  • FIFA 64
    The first FIFA game on the Nintendo 64 console, released in late 1997 and similar to the 32-bit versions of FIFA '97
  • FA Premier League Stars series
    Two games, in 2000 and 2001, FIFA was based primarily around the English Premier League, though localised versions of the second game were released in Germany, France, Spain and South Korea
  • FIFA Soccer World Championship
    Released only in Japan in 2000, this PlayStation 2 exclusive was the first installment of the series on a 6th Generation console.
  • Champions League series
    Only two games were released in the series; (2004-05, 2006-07) the license has since been taken by Konami
  • FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup
    Released in 2005, this was the first FIFA game for a 7th Generation console. Road to FIFA World Cup is an Xbox 360 exclusive and preceded the release of FIFA World Cup 2006 on the PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, and other consoles by several months. It offers superior graphics to previous versions, though at the expense of many gameplay features. For the first time in the FIFA series, it allows the player to practise shooting against the goalkeeper while each match is loading
  • FIFA Online 2
    (FIFA Online 2) is co-developed by EA and South Korean developer Neowiz who has a game portal named Pmang, has thus far been released in various countries and regions. As of July 2006 the game has a record of 180,000 simultaneous users. In the end of 2008 a South East Asian version was announced and began commercial service on 23 January 2009

FIFA World Cup licensed games

UEFA European Championship licensed games

Similarly to their FIFA World Cup games above, in 2000 EA began releasing a series of licensed games to tie in with the UEFA European Championship tournaments.

Street football games

In 2005 EA introduced FIFA Street, a street soccer based spin-off franchise.

Management games

Since 1997 EA Sports have regularly released football management games, most of which have made use of their FIFA or FA Premier League licenses in their titles. The majority of these games were developed by EA themselves, though some have been developed by third parties such as Krisalis Software and Bright Future GmbH.

Soundtracks

Licenced music tracks were first used in the FIFA series with the release of FIFA: Road to World Cup 98, and have been used in every title since. The series has featured main themes from such successful acts as Editors, Muse, Kings of Leon, Bloc Party, Oasis, Fatboy Slim, Robbie Williams, Duffy, Moby, and Gorillaz, and each game also contains a selection of tracks from contemporary album releases of the time, generally revolving around indie rock, electronica and world music.

References

External links


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