Preview of Fifa 22 - Make way for the new generation

Preview of Fifa 22 – Make way for the new generation

Hyper Motion. This is the keyword where all Trailer revealed From Fifa 22 it is all about. This is of course a great marketing term that means absolutely nothing. The trailer is packed with cool wireframes and electronic effects that reminded me of it Introduction to Euro 2000, explains that it has to do with the ultra-narrow motion capture suits. Fortunately, Line Producer Sam Rivera was able to explain what HyperMotion really is.

For the Fifa 22, EA is using Xsens motion capture suits. In the past, of course, motion capture was also used, but usually in the studio. The animation was specifically filmed. Then the “football player” was instructed to do a certain trick, or shoot at the goal several times. You get real moves, but they are not recorded during a real situation. This is different now.

These Xsens running suit-like costumes allow the actor to move very freely and recordings can also take place just about anywhere. And so EA thought: Why not just send 22 real players to the sacred turf for a real football match? This is what happened.

“Such real competition leads to higher intensity, all more athletic,” Rivera explains. In fact, things got so dangerous on the pitch that the referee had to be involved to steer the sessions in the right direction.

Since players are also captured in this way while not on the ball, EA also has a wealth of subtle animations that should make players more human. Think of a player wiping sweat or yelling at a teammate.

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From taking the ball, to duels in the air, but also the way players move as a team with the game and switch between attack and defense; Thanks to this new way of working, EA was able to score a large number of new animations on each level. EA is even adding more than three times as many animations this year as it is in the new Fifa game. More is always better!

But all those new animations only tell half the story of HyperMotion. The way animations are displayed on screen has also been significantly changed under the hood. For this purpose, EA applies machine learning for the first time. This again looks nice and heavy, but should basically result in a smoother transition between all the animations.

Exactly how it works is technically complicated to explain, but machine learning algorithms actually predict all kinds of different animations, as it were. So, while racing, what comes next can already be taken into account; Will the player shoot? Or does he just have to back off so he can take the ball well? Exactly as a real footballer would think about it.

In those crucial moments, I often saw a choppy transition between two animations in the previous FIFA, because the player’s feet would not actually appear in a natural way, for example. Then the player suddenly “jumped” into the shooting position, or jumped on the last move. This is precisely the problem that needs to be solved by the “flow” of machine learning.

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It all sounds cute and cute, of course, but now you’ll probably want to know what you’re noticing in practice. Fortunately, I’ve already played some Fifa 22 games on PS5 myself. Two things stand out almost immediately: the players are more flexible in receiving the ball, and the goalkeepers are no longer completely behind at the end.

These two aspects together ensure that Fifa 22 looks smoother and more realistic. Players easily take the ball from chest to foot, or subtly tap leather marbles from foot to foot to fly immediately toward the hole. But because the bouncers use their limbs better, the game is more balanced.

Great chances appear, but goalkeepers make saves on a regular basis. The goalkeepers also know how to kill the ball more often, so they give themselves a chance to grab the ball the second time, rather than a bouncing target. The hysteria in FIFA 21 seems to have calmed down a bit, without immediately becoming boring. Or at least, it looks like it now, who knows, after fifty games we will have built so much routine that we will conjure 6-11 on the scoreboard again.

If we actually put the beta on the shelf and analyze every replay frame by frame, the whole machine learning story alone won’t seem to be paying off. Especially when shooting, players still jump abnormally into position just as much. Sometimes we see steady feet moving half a meter, as if standing on ice. It often also happens that the ball was not touched at all, but changed direction. Well, that’s what a beta is, let’s just think.

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They look pretty cool, but beware: HyperMotion – and everything that comes with it – can only be admired on the new generation of gaming PCs. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were not completely forgotten; EA promises a number of modifications, among other things, to the behavior of the ball and the goalkeeper. If that includes cat rescues, that’s at least a huge step forward, but overall it looks pretty flimsy even on paper.

Undoubtedly, all content changes to FUT, Volta, and the Professional mode will still find their way to the previous generation of consoles, and EA will announce more on that later. But since the criticisms of FIFA 21 have not been soft, it would still be a loss if very little changed in the virtual realm.

We will know on October 1 whether these fears are justified. Then Fifa 22 will appear on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, Google Stadia with HyperMotion, and on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC without this new technology. The game will also be available on the Nintendo Switch as a “Legacy Edition,” with only crews, teams and stadiums updated.

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