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The myriad emotions of FIFA 15

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The myriad emotions of FIFA 15

EA has just announced that the next FIFA game will introduce simulated player emotions, imbuing the tiny football men with every manner of mood and feeling known to science, transforming them from glassy eyed 3D automatons to living, breathing virtual creatures each with their own hopes and ambitions.

For example: one football man, upon doing an especially good kick, might feel "happy". Another, having witnessed a nice goal, might feel "humbled by the continuing spectacle of sport". It truly is an incredible time to be alive, and having now emulated the human condition down to the individual neuron, EA can finally create little football men capable of kicking the ball in a truly convincing manner.

But what emotions can we expect to see in FIFA 15, and what effects do they have on players? I'm glad you asked, because here they all are.

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Take another look at Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's quite good.

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Take another look at Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's quite good.

Whatever it was that draws millions to Star Wars, many were unconvinced that The Old Republic had it. The feeling of adventure, heroism, mysticism and drama just wasn’t quite right. In the old days, SWTOR just didn’t feel “Star Wars-y" enough for core fans. It’s not an opinion I ever held, but I am an extremely patient person and SWTOR, in the early days, was tailored to a player like me. But I struggled to argue with the naysayers on a critical point, it was a poor MMO.

Over two years have passed since Star Wars: The Old Republic launched.  And it has changed almost beyond recognition.

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FIFA 15 to endow footballers with "emotional intelligence"

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FIFA 15 to endow footballers with "emotional intelligence"

If you’re looking for emotion in football, you need only walk among the sensitive so-and-sos on the terraces.

“Foux du FIFA," they chant, tears of team-specific support streaming down their faces. “Ah-ee-ah."

That’s reflected in FIFA 15 in the dynamically-changing, club-distinguished cheers and chants of the crowd - and in the evolving relationships between players on the pitch.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic made $165m in 2013, according to SuperData report

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Star Wars: The Old Republic made $165m in 2013, according to SuperData report

Despite Guild Wars 2, Wildstar, and its own efforts to split its playerbase into have-mounts and have-mount-nots, Star Wars: The Old Republic remains one of the best PC MMOs around. 

That’s reflected in the findings of SuperData Research, who report that SWTOR made $165m last year. They say BioWare’s first MMO accounts for 8% of the market for MMOs with subscription options.

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EA are ending support for The Sims 2 - but giving away its expansions to digital owners

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EA are ending support for The Sims 2 - but giving away its expansions to digital owners

The recent hoo-hah about missing swimming pools and toddlers in The Sims 4 has only increased the relative cachet of Maxis’ 2004 opus. It was here that Will Wright and friends got their picket fence paradise spot on, just as they delivered on their rusk-to-reaper simulation for the first time.

It’s a spot of bad timing, then, that EA have chosen now to discontinue support of The Sims 2. There’ll be no new updates for the game in the future - though Origin buyers will receive every expansion and Stuff pack to date by way of compensation.

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EA hire eBay exec as their new CTO to help improve their games "as live services"

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EA hire eBay exec as their new CTO to help improve their games "as live services"

EA have made a Chief Technology Officer of an eBay veteran, the company revealed last night. Ken Moss comes from eBay’s Seattle office, where he headed up their Marketplace Technology, Science and Data organisation.

Moss will be responsible for overseeing the digital platform that has fuelled EA’s shift to “games as live services" - a move they’ve visibly struggled with over the past year.

“My goal is simple," writes Moss on his LinkedIn page. “to create services that make people’s lives better."

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EA's Frank Gibeau pinpoints mobile Dungeon Keeper's problem: "We innovated too much"

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EA's Frank Gibeau pinpoints mobile Dungeon Keeper's problem: "We innovated too much"

EA’s Frank Gibeau left his role at the head of the publisher’s PC and console-focused Labels division last year to become president of EA Mobile. Maybe the Dungeon Keeper license fell off a shelf and into his coat pocket, because it turned up a few months later, looking washed-out and smelling slightly damp, on iOS and Android.

EA CEO Andrew Wilson has already acknowledged that nu-Dungeon Keeper struggled to “stay true" to its namesake - but clearly failed to pass on the mea culpa memo to Gibeau. Instead, Frank thinks EA and Mythic “might have innovated too much".

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EA address fan upset over The Sims 4's missing pools and toddlers

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EA address fan upset over The Sims 4's missing pools and toddlers

Pools and toddlers don’t mix well, but they’ve been inextricably paired by one common factor: they’re both longstanding features that’ll be missing from The Sims 4.

The community has been in slow-burn uproar for the past week - over 16,000 have signed a petition calling for their inclusion. EA have addressed their concerns in a new blog post - but its rationale is unlikely to satisfy many.

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EA CEO acknowledges Dungeon Keeper reboot struggled to "stay true to its essence"

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EA CEO acknowledges Dungeon Keeper reboot struggled to "stay true to its essence"

Nobody was pleased with Mythic’s Dungeon Keeper remake. Old Bullfrog fans didn’t like its social game stylings; Peter Molyneux didn’t like its “ridiculous" demands on player time; and absolutely nobody liked feeling cheated by its in-app purchases.

After a critical pummelling and a few months’ distance, even EA CEO Andrew Wilson isn’t particularly keen.

“For new players, it was kind of a cool game," he said. “For people who’d grown up playing Dungeon Keeper there was a disconnect there. In that aspect we didn't walk that line as well as we could have. And that’s a shame."

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Dragon Age: Inquisition followers are scared of horses, won’t be sold as DLC

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Dragon Age: Inquisition followers are scared of horses, won’t be sold as DLC

Mass Effect fans were less than pleased when AI companions were packaged off and sold as DLC, so there’s been a worry for a while that Bioware may do the same with Dragon Age: Inquisition. Mike Laidlaw, creative director for the game, put that fear to bed over the weekend but raised another.

Followers disappear at the sight of horses.

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Battlefield 4 patch will put an end to adamantium shield

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Battlefield 4 patch will put an end to adamantium shield

Battlefield 4’s DLC, Dragon’s Teeth, brought with it EA’s very own version of Captain America’s adamantium shield. The ballistic shield could deflect bullets, sure, but it could also deflect armour-piercing tank shells and, with a single hit, kill other players. Battlefield’s next patch will see an end to that.

It’s not the only thing being changed. DICE have been looking at “how to decrease the feeling of getting killed when behind cover." Hopefully they’ve managed this by preventing of you getting killed when behind cover. Just one of the reasons we put Battlefield 4 on trial for being a broken, bug-ridden mess.

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The Sims 4 will launch without swimming pools and toddlers (picket fences are still in)

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The Sims 4 will launch without swimming pools and toddlers (picket fences are still in)

For all its light satire and the ‘50s optimistism in its soundtrack, The Sims has always been deadly serious in letting players live the kind of suburban American dream most of us will never witness, let alone afford.

It turns out swimming pools are a huge part of that. News that they’d be missing from The Sims 4 at launch has been met with upset by the series’ community.

“Drowning sims is the sims," wrote one disgruntled Redditor. “You might as well take away the green diamonds over their heads while you’re at it."

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Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare now on PC - but it's "not a port"

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Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare now on PC - but it's "not a port"

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is a port. That is, it’s a new edition of a game released four months ago for Xbox One, developed specifically for PC. The definition is not up for dispute.

So why are PopCap saying that it’s not a port? I think they mean that it’s not a port in the derogatory sense - free of the poor framerates, low resolutions and iffy control schemes we’ve come to expect from console-first developers. Take a look for yourself.

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Two men complain about the Battlefield Hardline beta

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Two men complain about the Battlefield Hardline beta

Battlefield Hardline is a disappointing let down. No matter which way you slice up this pie, no matter whether you enjoy or resent what Battlefield Hardline actually is, the reality of the game simply doesn't tally with the beautifully choreographed trailer EA so proudly projected in front of thousands of salivating E3 attendees.

EA suggested this was a pure co-op bank robbery sim. In truth it's a loot grabbing free for all with little to no incentive to work together. EA suggested we'd have fully populated car chases and explosive getaway centrepieces. In truth we have self-serving gunmen spread thinly across a map, camping on rooftops, picking off lone players in a sort of dressed-up deathmatch mode. EA suggested this was something new. In truth it's something old, a game that feels tired and over-familiar from the first loadout screen.

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Battlefield 4's launch was a disaster because it was ambitious, says EA boss

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Battlefield 4's launch was a disaster because it was ambitious, says EA boss

When Battlefield 4 was announced, some worried aloud that it didn't look nearly different enough from its predecessor released just two years before.

But EA head Andrew Wilson reckons the game's problems - and boy, Battlefield 4 has had problems - stem from exactly the opposite issue: Battlefield 4 was too big an idea to fit its own development cycle.

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