EA's guidance was limited to briefing the players and coaching team that the match was an "must-win game." But the game required any extra edge. "Just as inbuy FUT 22 Coins a real sporting event, when players subbed on and off. We were able to be able to capture tired defenders and young forwards in the beginning of the game," recalls Eaves. "You could feel the anger. There were so many fouls within the first five minutes that it was exactly what we wanted."
These off-the-ball moves - shouting, pointing, and posing are priceless to EA in capturing the physicality and intensity of a live game. "If an action-sports stuntman slides over anyone in a motion capture space they pop back up, but it doesn't match the aggression of an actual fight," explains Eaves. "In this game it's real. The player gets up and is angry. We absorb all of that energy and bring it into the game."
It was by recording 22 players for 90 minutes that EA could produce enough animated, 8.75 million frames, to power its new 'HyperMotion technology. Machine learning then kicks in. "Previously the moment a player is able to approach the ball in order to execute the next move - such as a shot, pass or dribble - - we've selected one of our animations from the database" Eaves explains. "But it's not aware about the context. All the data it gathers trains the network and helps blend animations."
But how can the desire for realism influence a game that ultimately squeezes all of the excitement of professional soccer into ten minutes or so of gameplay? "It's positive," says FIFA YouTuber and streamer Chris Wood, aka Chesnoid Gaming. "The primary purpose of sporting video games is the ability to reproduce what you see in real live every single weekend. The game is brought into the present. Rather than five-minute halves of a video game it's closer to five minute portions of a real football game."
The goal is to ensure that the tiny movements, feints and dashes recorded in southern Spain will help inform how the top players around the globe move when they play in FIFA 22 Coins. For instance, take Mo Salah: the nuances as he traps the ball, his delicate touches while he accelerates, skips past defenders who are lunging at him, and then bears down on goal and slams it into his goal.