It's not just the gaming public that gets a kick out of soccer. EA Sports gameplay producer Shaun Pejic lives and breathes the other football every day. The English game developer, who works in EA Sports' Vancouver studio, took some time away from the virtual pitch to talk about FIFA 14, the latest installment of the perennial international bestseller. Here are some tips and tricks straight from the producer's mouth.
What's your favorite FIFA team?
Liverpool – I've supported Liverpool for as long as I can remember. Growing up in England, Anfield was only a 40-minute drive from my house, and as a kid, I remember turning the TV on looking for the Liverpool result before the result of my father's team (who played for a League 2 team at the time), getting me in trouble with my mum.
What advice do you have for someone playing as this team?
Look to make a pass to Daniel Sturridge. He is a hidden gem and future star for Liverpool and England. He's able to hold off defenders using the new Protect The Ball feature, as well as having good feet to dribble around defenders when tackles fly in.
What's the best way to take advantage of Precision Movement?
The best thing about Precision Movement is that it's realistic to playing Football (Soccer) outside with your friends. When playing outside, if somebody is running as fast as they can towards you, all you need to do is to take a side step, and then run the direction he just came from. It would take him a few steps to slow down, turn and then build up the speed to catch up. Think about this when playing the game, it helps a lot.
Who are the go-to scorers, and what's the best way to take advantage of Pure Shot technology?
The great thing about Pure Shot is that any player in the game can strike the ball from outside the box with the new ball physics we implemented this year. You may have a better chance of scoring in the top corner of the net when controlling the best players in the world, such as Messi, Ronaldo, Bale and of course, Daniel Sturridge.
What's a good strategy to implement on defense?
One small trick when defending is to not sprint towards the attacker when he has the ball. You should slow down, jockey and anticipate where he might dribble towards. This will give you a good chance to get the ball off him and then counter attack.
How do you like to build your FIFA Ultimate Team, and who are some of the players on it?
In the past, I used to look for quick, strong players, but this year I'm actually looking for a variety of players in order to have a good balance throughout my team. A few of my first signings will be a big target man such as Ibrahimovic, and a smaller, agile player with a bunch of technical attributes, like Iniesta, to control the game in the middle of the park. Lastly, I'd like a player who can run all day long and out work other players on the pitch, so I'll be looking for a player such as Yaya Toure.
What strategies do you employ when taking this team out against the competition?
I play a very defensive game. Yes, I know that's boring and really frustrating to play against, but that's me. I love sitting back using the new Teammate Intelligence, letting the opponent pass the ball around in their own half, thinking they're like Barcelona and then...BOOM, I get the ball off them and strike a goal from outside the box before they've even realized what's going on. 1:0 to me! And then I'm back to playing defensive. I like to frustrate opponents.
FIFA 14 is currently available for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. It will release for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year.