EA’s ongoing Spotlight series – a kind of precursor to the upcoming EA Play Live press conference later this week – has showcased the first snippets of raw FIFA 22 gameplay, utilising the new HyperMotion technology the publisher has been boasting about. There are a lot of buzzwords at play here – including Machine Learning and much more – but the bottom line is that it’s promising more authentic, natural animations by capturing 22 players on a pitch at once.
Ordinarily, the publisher would head into a motion capture stage and author new animations with actors – but this year it captured an entire 90 minute match, which has resulted in more natural tumbles, sprints, and shots. The idea is that the game – on the PlayStation 5, at least, this is next-gen technology remember – can now write new animations on the fly to match what’s happening on the screen, meaning players will adjust their body shape depending on what you’re trying to do.
The proof, of course, will be in the pudding – but there’s certainly a noticeable difference to the way players bring down the ball in the clips shown. There are also tons of new goalkeeper animations – a huge alteration this year – as well as entirely new ball physics. Certainly, there’s a fluidity to what’s being shown, although the ball still doesn’t appear to move with that flawless authenticity modern versions of PES have managed to achieve.
Still, it’s hard to draw too many conclusions from these relatively short clips. We like the way players have a bit more personality than before, calling for the ball when there’s a pass on or indicating where they’d like it to be played. And the overall presentation also looks stunning in some scenes, as always, thanks to the bottomless budget of EA Sports’ flagship series. The balance and game feel will be key, though, and we just can’t draw any conclusions on that until it’s in our hands.