In a recent pre-season friendly between defending Italian champions AC Milan and German side (and GamesCom’s favorite) FC Köln, the presenters tried something I never remember as seen on the football field before: they attached cameras to some of the players, so anyone watching from home can get closest to the action.
Here’s what it looks like in action. There are first-person parts throughout this highlight clip, from the pre-match handshakes to the match itself, but I set autoplay to the moment poor Köln defender Timo Hübers got stuck before seen in the front seat a delicate little finish by Olivier Giroud:
Maybe I simply played too much FIFAbut everything about that — especially the impeller — made me think, hey, this is definitely something we’re going to see one day. FIFAeven if it’s only in onePlayer mode.
It’s not a radical departure for the series; The game’s ‘Pro’ camera setting has been around for years and was created to provide a more ‘realistic’ experience. You can check it out below and compare it to the shot above (especially when players sprint, getting the camera close), but note that controlling an entire team with the ‘Pro’ camera like this is a madness. It is most useful when you only control a single player at a time:
You might be thinking, how can you hope to play a sports game in first person mode? Surely playing video games on a 2D screen can’t recreate the experience of playing a sport making full use of your peripheral vision and 360-degree hearing? And it won’t really make game play much more difficult?
To that I would say, you’re right! You’d need all kinds of complex indicators to set up passes and crosses, and football has so much running and looking away from the ball that it would make positioning a nightmare. I would also say that I don’t care, because NFL 2K17 did it, and as hard (and even broken in parts!) as it was, it also a huge amount of fun, and one of the features fans remember most fondly about the series:
Sure, a first-person mode would make runs and a lot of defending almost impossible, and even make me slightly sick with all that head wobble and pumping arms, but if a FIFA game can ever add a first-person mode like that—dragging us away from its usual TV-presenter viewpoint and into the field itself—it would still rule, if only for the spectacle.