After a short stay in the US I moved to Canada and I joined Electronic Arts here in Canada as a Quality Assurance tester in 2005. The first game I worked on was FIFA 2006 and I have since worked on all successive FIFA titles as well as Champions League, World Cup, EURO and the Rugby 06 and 07 titles. I joined the Data Collection Group in November 2006 where I currently work as a producer.
The Data Collection Group is responsible for collecting data for all players and teams that is used for all of EA’s Football titles. We manage the integration of this data into the game as well as work with the artists and game teams to make sure the art assets are as close to real life as possible and to make sure the data is being used properly for the AI.
Can you please explain us briefly, what happens when a new league like A-League must be added to the game? David Grant: When we add a new league to the game we firstly need to acquire the license for the league or for each team individually. Our Business Affairs and Licensing teams in the UK are responsible for contacting the league and teams and they then negotiate the terms of these agreements.
After we have confirmed that we will be adding a new league or new teams we then need to gather all of the data that is related to the league, teams and players. To do this we need to add people to our ever growing community which is currently at 100+ Data Editors and 300+ Data Reviewers.
Let me explain the Data Editor and Data Reviewer projects briefly. A Data Editor is a paid contract and the editor is responsible for a set number of teams. The Data Editor has set deadlines for the work that is required of them and they are responsible for making sure that all players are assigned to the correct teams and they also collect all data that we use in game for the teams and players that they are responsible for. Our Data Editors are some of the biggest football and FIFA fans out there and they are very dedicated to making the data as realistic as possible.
The Data Reviewer project is unpaid but is a great way for people to get some feedback for their favourite players and teams into the game. This Data Reviewer has no deadlines and is not responsible for collecting any data, it is just an opportunity for FIFA and football fans to help us to improve the data quality, so it is perfect for people that don’t have a lot of spare time to spend editing data but can occasionally provide some feedback on the players and teams that we have in game. When we need new Data Editors we will normally first check with our Data Reviewers for suitable candidates.
We are always trying to increase our community by adding people with great football knowledge from all around the world, so we have an website that use to identify these people. You can access this site here: http://www.eafootballtalentscout.com
Do you play FIFA 08 at home, or at EA, how do you see the gameplay of FIFA 08? David Grant:I tend to play FIFA 08 mostly at work. I think the gameplay has improved a lot since last year with the biggest improvements on the 360 and PS3 versions of the game.
Our AI team has worked very hard to improve the quality of the gameplay for FIFA 08 and I think there is a very noticeable improvement on previous years.
You are of course a football fan, what is your favourite club? David Grant: I have been a supporter of Manchester United since I started playing football as a young boy, mostly because of players like Peter Schmeichel, Roy Keane, Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs and the baby faced assassin Ole-Gunnar SolskjÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¦r.
But I do enjoy watching football from all over the world to see the different styles of play and to look out for younger up and coming players.
There are many fans’ suggestions at FIFPlay.com about adding new leagues like Russian, Argentinean, and Chilean to FIFA 09; would it be possible to see those leagues in the next version of FIFA 09? David Grant: For confidentiality reasons, I cannot release that information.
What features would you put in FIFA 09 if you were a producer for FIFA 2009? David Grant: I would keep the focus mostly on gameplay and making players act as they do in real life. I would also like to see players change and grow as they do throughout the regular season so I would work on a feature that would allow that.
I would also eventually like to see the user be able to create their own assets that could be used in game and shared among other gamers.
Which band/music you think should be in EA Trax for FIFA 09? David Grant: I like discovering new bands in different regions so it would be great if we could get a good range of artists from every country to put into the game.