Team contact sports might be one of the most challenging video games to make when it comes to simulating reality. In addition to the AI controlling players on both sides, players have become more discerning and demanding when it comes to imitating the fluid and sometimes unpredictable movement of athletes, especially those that are supposed to mimic real-life people. That is the challenge that EA Sports is rising to meet with FIFA 22 and its “next-gen HyperMotion” tech that will be launching next quarter.
Gone are the days when sports video games like basketball and football (soccer for the US) looked like janky caricatures of the real thing. Realism has always been a goal for this genre, and today’s games sometimes look like they’re straight out of a live sports event. There’s always room for improvement, though, and that’s what EA is bragging about FIFA 22.
New to this latest installment in the long-running football franchise is HyperMotion, combining motion capture of 22 pro players and everyone’s favorite secret sauce, machine learning. This proprietary system learns from 8.7 million frames of match captures and writes new animation in real-time, according to EA Sports. The promise is a more realistic-looking game that almost looks and feels like the real thing.
Beyond the motion aspects, FIFA 22 will also deliver upgrades across the board, including an overhaul of the goalkeeper system. FIFA Ultimate Team, a.k.a. FUT, is, of course, an important part of the game’s appeal, and the new FUT Heroes brings new items for fans of the sport to collect.
FIFA 22 launches on October 1 on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PC (Origin and Steam), Stadia, and even on the PS4 and Xbox One. There are still a lot of questions that are left unanswered, however, like long-awaited cross-play support. There might also be some apprehension and caution for this year’s FIFA title, given how the previous installment was mired in loot box controversy.