Get your studs out and put your favourite kit on, because FIFA 12 comes out today on the Android Market, assuming you own a PLAY that is.
Yesterday we spoke with EA Mobile’s Andrei Lazarescu and Alexandru Ruse alongside Sony Ericsson’s Tim Harrison (Head of Content and Marketing) to talk not only about the latest iteration of FIFA, but the PLAY as a mobile gaming device and its place in the mobile market as it is today, 8 months on from launch.
First off let’s talk about the game. The FIFA franchise should be no stranger to any gamer with an appreciation for the sports genre as a whole. A mainstay of soccer titles only really rivaled by the Pro Evolution family (which saw its mobile contender come exclusively to the PLAY early last month). The full fat console version of FIFA 12 (that’s FIFA Soccer 12 to those of you in the US) launched back in September but this mobile variant has had to wait in the wings for its debut.
We’ve had a bit of hands on time with it and it certainly impressed off the bat, with some pretty engrossing gameplay once a match really got underway, and this coming from a gamer who doesn’t typically like sports titles. The PLAY’s hardware doesn’t seem to struggle either which of course is key and character animations as well as gameplay run smoothly.
Close up shots do reveal a lack of the fidelity in the character models, but it’s to be expected when you take into account the typical way you’d view the game on that 4″ display. The gameplay is fluid and fun, the commentary varied and interesting and with a host of options like Leagues, Cups, Quick Match and Daily Challenge, there’s enough to potentially keep players coming back for quite some time.
Andrei and Alex have been involved with the mobile versions of FIFA for a few years now and were keen to explain what it was that makes FIFA 12 so special.
“This year fans can expect greater gameplay depth, authentic commentaries, updated team formats, the world’s top leagues, and new replay systems and stadium, designs to make for a more powerful FIFA mobile experience” Andrei explained.
The PLAY’s hardware came in to question multiple times throughout the conversation but the two seemed confident that it was a solid gaming platform to develop for and will be for some time to come.
Alex mentioned that, “We were pretty amazed by the PLAY’s performance during development. It really is a very powerful device. I don’t think it will become obsolete in a year’s time – developers won’t really build for one super high-end device and upgrading game engines takes time too.”
So from those behind FIFA 12, there’s concrete support and confidence at releasing such a mainstream title on such a unique platform as the Xperia PLAY, but there might be more to this than meets the eye. Not only has the PLAY recently taken a hefty price drop for the holiday season, but top tier titles such as FIFA 12 are not only exclusive to the PLAY but for a limited time free. Sony Ericsson clearly want to push the PLAY as this year’s stocking-filler of choice, but it’s a choice that will be left up to the consumers.
If you are lucky enough to own an Xperia PLAY you can pick up a number of EA titles for free right now as part of their “Get in the Game” promotion, including FIFA 12, but the festive generosity doesn’t appear to stop there. FIFA 12 will also become available to the newest members of the rest of the Xperia family (the Arc, Arc S, Neo, Ray and Pro) in the not too distant future, despite their lack of hardware controls. The exclusivity deal is set to expire next February and the price tag of zero will no doubt expire even sooner, so be quick (get the game here) if you want to be first on the pitch.