Annual sports game franchises are often some of the most difficult games to market, due to some years now quite having the leap forward that fans would like before buying a whole new iteration. This leads some players to only pick up a new game in a sports franchise every few years, but it looks like EA Sports is definitely trying to make their games must buys this year. We already told you plenty about Madden 22’s new features that we’ll see come to fruition next month, with FIFA 22 coming about a month later. FIFA is definitely coming off of one of the lesser received entries and it looks like the development team at EA Vancouver is very serious about improving the level of reception with the release of FIFA 22 and a major part of that is the new Hypermotion Technology that we got to see in action during a recent preview.
Exclusive to the next-gen version of FIFA 22 on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, Hypermotion Technology is the all new way that the development team has built up the gameplay, the technology of which has been in the works for around three years. There are many parts to Hypermotion Technology that are very important, with the first being Advanced 11v11 Match Capture. This is the first time they have ever done this with a FIFA game, typically in the past just having players in mocap suits and doing small one-on-one motion capture or maybe just do it with a few players at a time that utilized optical motion capture. This time around though, they have taken things to the next level by having 22 players in mocap suits at the same time while using what is known as Xsens technology. This allows for much more natural movement and reactions when performing motion capture than ever before.
Having the full 11v11 match capture is very important to the implementation of Hypermotion Technology, but it wouldn’t be possible without machine learning as well. Machine learning is the method used to teach the computer real soccer and translating that into realistic animations. More specifically, Lead Gameplay Producer Sam Rivera stated that the machine learning is based on 8.7 million frames of the 11v11 mocap to create real movements that weren’t possible in the past.
The combination of the Advanced 11v11 Match Capture and machine learning has led to six new features in the gameplay that are going to be very important this year. The first of these is Full Team Authentic Motion, which includes 4,000 new animations in the game that are more fluid and realistic, which is the largest animation refresh in the series’ history. This is paired with the ML – Flow feature, which is the actual machine learning algorithm. ML – Flow actually writes new animations in real-time, which cleans up while making more futbol behaviors than in the past.
Tactical A.I. is also a big part of the gameplay in FIFA 22, which is only possible thanks to the power of the new consoles and both advanced 11v11 match capture and machine learning. The goal here was to create a “deeper intelligence” with all players on the pitch. Improving the level of tactical realism was a major goal by the team here and it has led to attacking players now being able to make six times more decisions per seconds, including more speed and reaction time. The defensive A.I. has also been redone to where the players play more as a team than ever before, which should really enhance the overall experience.
Improving the player animations was a big goal for the development team and Kinetic Air Battles exemplifies that. When two players would end up in the air going after the ball in the past, sometimes the animations would get a little questionable and not seem very realistic. The new changes as a result of the new Hypermotion Technology though has really focused on making the in-air interactions between players be as true to life as possible with much cleaner outcomes.
The air is not the only place where the dev team looked to have better control either, as Composed Ball Control is also a new feature in the gameplay as well. Advanced 11v11 Match Capture and machine learning has really helped to make the ball control feel more natural than ever. Combined with the new animations, you will really feel like you are in full control of the ball at all times when playing offense. This also works well with the new True Ball Physics in the game where things like friction and trajectory make it feel like a real ball was put right into the game.
Lastly, the Advanced 11v11 Match Capture has also allowed for Player Humanization in the game. Not only are the soccer aspects much improved with the animations, but also are the players themselves in how they interact. While in the game, players will talk to one another, whether they are teammates or the opposition, which really just adds something a little extra to the overall gameplay.
While those are the six features that have been added as a result of Advanced 11v11 Match Capture and machine learning, there are also some other gameplay additions that are coming in the game as well. In fact, these are the features that will also be found in the last-gen version. One of those is known as Explosive Sprint, which has changed the way sprint works in the game. In the past, the only option was to hold down the sprint button and your player would go faster than usual. Explosive Sprint though is all about acceleration versus just pushing the ball forward. This was implemented to replicate real life behavior where a player will run even faster to go and try to stop the ball or go in for the shot.
Goalkeepers haven’t been forgotten about either, as FIFA 22 has rewritten the goalkeeper system to allow for smarter decision making and more reliable shot stopping. To help with this, they have taken some of the positioning personalities of different goalkeepers in the sport and put them in the game. This now allows for a lot more saves that you would have never seen be made in the game before.
FIFA 22 will release for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia on October 1. Just remember that the Hypermotion Technology features will be exclusive to next-gen versions only, with PC getting the last-gen version this year. Stay tuned for more to come over the next couple of months leading up to the release of the game for more information about the various game modes in the game.