'FIFA 13' on the Wii U: soccer for the casual and hardcore player

A football match between Chelsea and Liverpool takes place on the screen. The animated players make swift and fast movements across the crisp field of grass, passing the ball, dodging one another, and making smooth transitions between kicking goals and head-butting the ball.

A soccer match between Chelsea and Liverpool takes place on the screen. The animated players move quickly across the crisp field of grass, passing the ball, dodging one another, and making smooth transitions between kicking goals and head-butting the ball.

Off the screen, a real-world player holds the Wii U controller, analyzing their players from a top-down view. Making movements just as swift and smooth with their fingers, the player swipes through player stats, taps on team members to substitute them, and checks on the opponent's players, all while their game is still playing out on their television screen.

This, EA believes, is the way of the way of the future.

"I do think that touchscreens are the way of the future in the sense that it's a much more seamless process, you don't have to take yourself out of the game, you can do everything you want without breaking the play," says Matt Prior, a producer on FIFA 13 Wii U who has worked on the FIFA series for ten years.

Prior believes that the Wii U version of the game will finally bring the world of FIFA to people who have, until now, been intimidated by traditional consoles.

"I do think that touchscreens are the way of the future in the sense that it's a much more seamless process."

"We know that there's lots of people out there who love football who aren't gamers and want to dip their toes into the world of FIFA," Prior tells Polygon. "Back in the day you really had to be a gamer to play a game. It was a couple of pixels jumping around and you really needed the gaming gene to appreciate it. With [FIFA], it looks like football, it sounds like football, so even non-gamers can look at it, appreciate it and want to get involved in it.

"Up until now that's always been kind of hard to do because you needed a certain level of dexterity. You hand a 360 or PS3 to someone and they haven't got a clue what anything does, but you hand someone a touchscreen and they get it, so that really opened the door to those casual guys."

Prior says that touchscreens are now a way of life — from airplane entertainment screens to smart phones, touchscreens are intuitive and require little explaining. Prior believes that this alone lowers the barrier of entry and has allowed the development team to make a more accessible game without having to modify the core experience or dumbing down the game of soccer.

"That was one of the key things — we didn't want to break that core experience," Prior says. "FIFA's a brilliant game, it's won awards, we didn't want to break that. Everything we did for the Wii U version just complements it."

Prior explains that while the features in the Wii U version of the game significantly improve the player experience, players can choose to ignore those features and play the game without the touchscreen.

"If your friends play on the PS3 and they come over, they can play the Wii U version exactly as they would play the PS3. No one has to use any of that new functionality. That was really important to us, that the core experience remains the same.

"That said, what people will realize is [the touchscreen features are] very useful, even just on an informational level, so I think even the hardcores will leap on top of that and then longer term they might use more of those features. I think it caters to everyone."

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