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'UEFA Euro 2012' interview: EA talks why it went digital for expansion

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UEFA Euro 2012 expansion first images

© EA

UEFA Euro 2012 is another landmark release for EA, a company that continues to embrace digital releases. Traditionally a boxed product, the European tournament's official game is an expansion to the best-selling FIFA 12, adding 53 national teams, eight stadiums and an all-new Expedition mode.

We chat to lead producer Sebastian Enrique about why it has gone digital and how it uses FIFA 12's features.

Why go digital for this expansion?
"Two things: On one side, we have people asking in forums if we could have this type of Euro game as DLC, and on the other side we had FIFA 12 that was a really successful game. Seriously there are 1.5 million people playing the game everyday, so it's enough of a userbase to allow us to put those things together and say yes, it's possible for us to put out DLC for FIFA."

So it's the success of FIFA 12 in particular that has allowed it to happen now?
"Exactly, because the userbase is so massive now, that we can do business where we can offer a DLC that is £15.99 compared to a retail product of £40 inside FIFA and actually make money out of it.

"So it allows us to do what the community wanted, and we wanted as well, because we think it's worth it because we're FIFA players as well, we like to incorporate more experiences into FIFA."

UEFA Euro 2012 expansion first images

© EA



What are the advantages of going digital?
"Building it allowed us the decision to say OK, we're inside the world of FIFA, we integrate things like football clubs, we can use the same levels. So there are things that we can share and take from the FIFA engine, and use them for game but it's UEFA.

"From the user side, I think it's easier - you just download and find your game there in your game, but it's FIFA. Jumping into Euro is not difficult, it's not like you have to take the disc, so it's everything in the same world."

Are there any particular features that it leverages from FIFA 12?
"For the commentary, it's Euro-specific commentary, for English, French, Italian, Spanish, Germany, Dutch and Polish. But we're still using FIFA 12 lines, we're not having a 5GB DLC, it's under 700MB, because we're reusing content from FIFA."

UEFA Euro 2012 expansion first images

© EA



It comes with the Expedition mode, which is like a board game. Were you inspired by any particular board games when making this?
"Yes, all those board games where you have a map, those where you make war and go conquering things. We tried to take something not specifically related to violence, but to reuse the map strategy elements of moving from country to country, like dominating things.

"At the same time we've incorporated other elements of other strategy games, like when you win players, what tactics are you going to use? Because probably you have strong midfielders and defenders.

"All lightweight elements about strategy and tactics, mixing with the world of football. At the same time, it's something good for UEFA and Euro in general, because who has the time to go and see every single team?"

Another thing you're having is challenges...
"From April 24th until the tournament starts, we're going to populate one or two challenges a week leading to the qualifiers, so games that are really important in the qualifiers. Once the tournament starts, we're going to start populating with matches that are happening in Poland and Ukraine. We're going to start increasing the frequency, we're going to try and have a quick turnaround of games.

"If you have a match day today, we're going to try and populate a tournament with matches related to that game. And continuously doing that until the tournament ends. Then we come back to it with a one-per-week frequency, until the tournament is over.

"But the idea is to have engaging content while all the hype of the tournament is right there, so if England was beaten by France in the first game they can go and have revenge and have it right there in the game."

UEFA Euro 2012 expansion first images

© EA



Does it add any more content or use Ultimate Team at all?
"No, there is no crossover between Ultimate Team and Euro, mainly because of licensing restrictions. You've got to think that one thing is FIFA and one thing is UEFA, so there is a line we cannot cross. There is some things we can use, but not everything.

"So for example in Euro, you can use some of the goals we offer in FIFA, we can use some of the stadiums that we offer in FIFA, but the crossover is not that big."

Would this be something you would consider for the World Cup or even things you haven't even covered before, such as the African Cup of Nations?
"So for the first time we do something like this, like a big game going digital for a really important tournament - Euro is one of the most important tournaments in the world – as I mentioned before, the end userbase with FIFA allowed us to do that. If we're going to repeat it in future, I'm not sure, but definitely come Euro that is going to influence that decision."

UEFA Euro 2012 is available from today as a FIFA 12 expansion for 1,800 Microsoft Points / £15.99.

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