For years, players have accused FIFA of including “scripting”, or “cheating”, where in certain situations it looks like the AI is favoured or specific players are more effective during key moments in matches. We have all suffered goals where, no matter what we do, the ball just finds its way into the net, or the other way around, as balls just refuses to go in the opponent’s goal. EA has always been very firm in denying any notion of scripting/cheating, and continues to do so, but players have dig out some interesting stuff in FIFA 17’s code.
A FIFA player on Reddit shared info a few months ago with regards to the game’s code, suggesting it does indeed change behaviours depending on a number of variables. User score, and when it scores, for instance, can lead to an increase in the AI’s difficulty. Other parameters refer to “Super Sub”, increasing that substitute’s value during the game. Fatigue, determination, and concentration are other variables working in the background that can impact the game.
In other words, yes, the game definitely tinkers with the match experience, but it seems that it’s not with a view to fixing results, it’s just that it makes it easier for the AI to score, for instance. According to Matt Prior, talking with Eurogamer, this is not cheating, it’s just “the kind of thing that happens in football.”
“There is [an] error in some of the algorithms for traps [trapping the ball]. That’s in-built throughout the game, but that’s all measured on an individual level. It doesn’t take into account, oh, this is 1-0 in the 90th minute, let’s give this guy more error. It’s very much individual. And as a result it can happen at any time. That’s part of the beauty of the sport. That can be frustrating at times, but that’s the nature of football.”
We once also asked EA Sports about scripting, and we got a similar reply: “First of all, that just doesn’t exist (laughs). That’s the truth. I’ve been on record, maybe years, saying it doesn’t exist. But that’s not to say that we don’t understand that there’s something that people are feeling that they don’t like. And to be honest it was, again I go back to pre-production, it was at the forefront in things we talk about, it’s like what is it that’s causing people frustration in the game that makes them feel like we’re doing something underhanded, which we’re not”.
So, what do you make of all of this? Do you agree that this kind of tinkering with the game’s stats during a match if a fair representation of football?