Electronic Arts showed off next-generation versions of its FIFA, UFC, Madden NFL and NBA Live franchises at Microsoft's reveal event for the Xbox One today, and said all next-gen EA Sports titles will run on the new Ignite engine.
EA Sports president Andrew Wilson announced "a brand-new, broad strategic partnership between EA and Microsoft," and said that Xbox One and PlayStation 4 entries in all four franchises will be released within the next year. In addition, the Xbox One version of FIFA 14 will feature exclusive content for FIFA Ultimate Team.
"Fueled by EA Sports Ignite, EA Sports games will be alive with players who think, move and behave like real athletes and dynamic living worlds, transforming the way people play and experience games on next-gen consoles," said EA in a press release today.
The engine consists of a suite of cross-game technologies aimed at bringing sports to life with ever more realistic virtual athletes and environments. According to EA, Ignite's Human Intelligence will imbue in-game players with the capacity to think like real athletes, thanks to split-second decision-making skills like knowing where to get open and bracing for collisions. The engine's True Player Motion covers movement with a basis in biomechanics: Ignite models bodies, individual limbs and clothing to ensure players move according to the laws of physics. And Living Worlds means you'll feel like you're actually at a sports venue with thousands of raucous fans, all of whom are individually modeled in 3D and have their own behaviors.
with Ignite, "EA Sports games will be alive"
EA Labels president Frank Gibeau hinted at the cross-game engine earlier this month, saying that Ignite (sports games) and EA DICE's Frostbite 3 engine (action games) will power "all of our development on the new systems." EA's internal sports studios — EA Tiburon in Orlando, Fla., and EA Canada in Burnaby, British Columbia — have shared technology between themselves for current-generation titles: For example, Tiburon is using AI technology from FIFA and NHL for NCAA Football 14 this year. But developing all of EA's sports games on the same engine is unprecedented.
EA was conspicuously absent from Sony's PlayStation 4 unveiling in mid-February, but made a splash today with footage from three franchises that are vital for the publisher moving forward: FIFA, because it is one of the company's most lucrative properties and a global seller; UFC, because EA took over the series from THQ last year; and NBA Live, because EA is trying to save face after failing to deliver a new game in the franchise since 2009's NBA Live 10. EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen confirmed this morning that the next NBA Live game will appear on next-generation consoles.
You can check out the EA Sports Ignite reveal trailer — which contains pre-rendered target footage, not in-engine gameplay — below.