Interview with Paul Hossack

FIFPlay interviewed Paul Hossack, online producer of FIFA 07:

Please introduce yourself and tell us what are you doing exactly at EA and since when?
Paul Hossack: I joined EA in 2003 as an Assistant Producer. This first game I produced was FIFA 2004 for the N-Gage. Almost four years later now, I’m the Line Producer for FIFA 08 PS2/PC, which is my 7th FIFA game I’m producing! As you know, last year I was the Online (and Front End) producer for FIFA 07 current gen.

I’m a rare breed of FIFA producer, I’m Canadian (almost all the football producers are European or Japanese). I played a lot of football growing up, playing for my city when I was 14 until my body couldn’t handle it anymore. Now I just play in our league at EA (20 teams).

How did you come up with Interactive Leagues in FIFA 07?
Paul Hossack: I can’t take credit for the original idea on this one, I was actually on vacation when it was born. It came from a miscommunication about a feature we never ended up making between Joe Booth (FIFA 07 Line Producer) and our marketing guys, it’s funny how some of the best ideas come about. When I heard the Interactive Leagues, I loved the idea and ran with it.

Some online FIFA players believe there are cheaters at EA servers: for example when you win against them there is no minus point for them and no positive for you. What do you think?
Paul Hossack: We’re aware of some problems that gamers are experiencing and we’re trying to fix them as I write this.

There are many bugs in “Play Online” feature in FIFA 07 like disconnection after scoring a goal, did you try to debug these errors will FIFA 08 have these bugs?
Paul Hossack: We definitely try to find and fix as many bugs as possible before we release the game. I’d never knowingly put out a game with serious disconnection problems like that. Unfortunately, we don’t always find all bugs in our testing. It’s especially difficult with online as there are so many factors. To that end, I’ve worked with my QA group in FIFA 08 to significantly increase the amount of effort we put on testing online.

Some valuable eSports competitions like WCG have restricted methods that could let you score through a game-play bug in FIFA 07, for instance: scoring directly from a corner kick, why there are no any rules at EA servers to prevent scoring a goal due to a bug?
Paul Hossack: The bigger issue here is that we don’t want those bugs in our game. If we find these issues in our testing, we fix them. Once the game has shipped, there’s no way for our servers to know that a goal was scored due to a bug that we didn’t know about before. It’s a bit of the chicken and the egg dilemma, but we continue to try to fix any and all issues we can.

What key features FIFA 08 producers should add to this game?
Paul Hossack: You’re asking the right guy as I’ve been leading the FIFA 08 PS2 and PC team since September last year. However, I don’t want to spoil the surprise. We’ve got some great features planned and we’ll be talking about them soon. We’ll be sure to give you the update.

For whom you would vote to be as FIFA 08 main Coverstar: Cristiano Ronaldo, Fabio Cannavaro, Miroslav Klose or Ronaldinho?
Paul Hossack: My voting doesn’t really matter anymore, as we just announced all the cover athletes for FIFA 08 a couple of days ago! I’m really happy with the footballers that we have this year. The only thing I’ll say is that I’m a Liverpool fan!


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