FIFA 11’s Ultimate Team mode is coming on November 3rd and we had an opportunity to speak with Paul Hossack, producer of .FIFA 11 Ultimate Team. Check out the interview below.
GB: FIFA 11’s doing great, and it already has a plethora of features. With Ultimate Team, the experience is become only meatier. Do you have any other features like this in mind for the future? Or are they in store for FIFA 12?
Hossack: That’s a good question. I think there is a lot of untapped potential in FIFA Ultimate Team—there are so many ways to play it. The more popular it gets, the more we’ll experiment with different ways of delivering it. Essentially, I work with the team on figuring out what the FUT gamers want and prioritizing all the ideas. As for FIFA 12, the team is already into its design stage, reviewing all the feedback from fans and looking at ways to improve the experience but we are not prepared to share any of those ideas just yet.
GB: Ultimate Team in FIFA 10 was already great, and with the new Play-A-Friend compatibility, it looks even better. But can you please delve upon this new online functionality with Ultimate Team?
Hossack: First, the Play-A-Friend feature is really exciting for the team because it’s what we know the gamers have been asking for. Essentially, you can invite any of your friends for a head-to-head online match in FUT 11. When you are matching up, you can both pick which squad you will use, and can see the name and rating of the squad they are picking so you can get an even match-up. In Play A Friend matches, your players do not use up any contracts so you can play against your mates as much as you like. Also, no coins are awarded in Play A Friends matches to avoid exploits – so these matches are truly “Friendlies” (sorry for the pun).
We have some great online functionality on the web. With the FIFA Ultimate Team Web Tool ([www.easportsfootball.com/ultimateteam|http://www.easportsfootball.com/ultimateteam]) any FUT gamer can go to this web site and manage their team while they are away from their console (e.g. sneak in a little FUT while at the office or in class). We’ve expanded the functionality to include managing all your squads (great for getting a squad ready for the matches you’ll play when you get home), showing off your squad to friends online, full auctions for all item types. We also have some new features for returning FUT gamers. Starting Oct. 27 they can go to [www.easportsfootball.com/ultimateteam|http://www.easportsfootball.com/ultimateteam]and open their FUT 11 starter pack before the console game has even launched. On top of that, they can open up their loyalty gift (2 free gold packs). Each day they come back to the web up to Nov. 3, they will get a random daily gift (like packs, coins or bid tokens). Finally, we are introducing a new web-only feature called FUT Generations, where returning gamers can create a web squad where they can put both their best FUT 10 and FUT 11 players on the same squad and show it off to the world. We’re really excited about this last feature because we wanted to let all our FUT gamers know that all the effort they put into FUT 10 is still around and valuable.
GB: Do you have a mode where you have all the Ultimate Teams battling it out to emerge as the winner, like the Online FIFA World Cup in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa?
Hossack: We do not have one single tournament to determine one winner but there will be new dynamic tournaments released weekly in which gamers can challenge themselves against the best players in the world or the AI. This can get really exciting as we vary the entry requirements for your squad each week as well as the pay off for winning.
GB: Why is it that Ultimate Team is an exclusive feature for the PS3 and Xbox 360? I mean, the PC can easily handle such features, and the FIFA 11 website already allows players to make an Ultimate Team then and there.
Hossack: I wish it were as easy as cutting and pasting code and features from 360/PS3 to PC but the reality is the focus this year on PC was to customize the next gen engine specifically for PC. It was an enormous undertaking to customize the NG engine for PC and unfortunately we are not able to develop NG and PC features in parallel. We waited until the engine was mature enough and the gameplay had reached a high enough quality to begin the process. What the future looks like for PC and this feature I can’t say at this point.
GB: Can Ultimate Team can be used across all FIFA 11 modes, single player or multiplayer?
Hossack: Your Ultimate Team is designed to be used within Ultimate Team. We do have lots of ways to user your team (online and single-player dynamic tournaments, Play-A-Friend, one off matches), but you can’t take it into other FIFA mode.
GB: What kinds of weekly challenges will players be getting? Will they be all new modes, or will they be normal challenges as we have seen in the PSP FIFA games?
Hossack: There will be new dynamic tournaments released weekly which vary the entry requirements and pay-out each week. This adds a lot of variety as you have to craft different squads tailored for different tournaments … and building a team is half the fun in FUT. We are continuing with the Team of the Week feature – with an added featured that TOTW players will have a different look in-game making them much easier to spot when you open new packs or find them on the auction market.
GB: Can Ultimate Team can be shared online with our friends?
Hossack: From the FUT Web app, you can share your squads with your friends. There are 3 ways: post to Facebook, tweet the link, or copy the link to your squad and paste it anywhere (like in your forum sig, email to friends, etc.).
GB: Is there anything else you want to add about Ultimate Team?
Hossack: All your favourite packs from FUT 10 will be returning, and with no increase in price (either in coins or real money). We are introducing some new pack types. I won’t spill all the beans now, but there will be more variety, including mini-packs and some higher-value packs. We’ve also got a couple new pack promotions we think gamers will like. If you didn’t play FUT 10 much, most days there would be at least one limited-time and/or quantity pack promotion in the store. It really paid off to come back regularly to find special packs and great deals.Finally, we have added two new leagues (MLS and the Russian Premiere League) to the game, giving us 30 leagues in all and more than 8,000 players