In 2012, FIFA producer Aaron McHardy sat down with FIFA Soccer blog to answer some questions about scripting – and whether or not it still existed.
“This scripting behaviour…I can absolutely say this in not in gameplay… we hate this kind of logic,” he said.
“Some racing games use this ‘rubber banding’ logic to keep races tight but it’s not something that we do.”
Fast forward a few years and EA’s stance on the matter remains the same. Yet the existence of scripting is still a major talking point – and one that threatens to impact FIFA 18.
It refers to the notion that the game automatically changes the momentum during a match if it becomes too one sided – keeping it competitive.
So, if you’re winning 5-0, the game recognises the imbalance and boosts the opposition’s ability whilst simultaneously hampering yours.
This could be manifested in a number of ways – through decreased shot accuracy or goalkeeping prowess.
So, where does all this talk come from?
Fans point to FIFA 06, which was the first in the series to feature a momentum ‘bar’.
Dots next to the team name would indicate how well the team was performing at a given point in time. This was thought to affect player performance and ‘luck’.
After all, if a better player is thrashing another, lesser player, tedium will set in fast for both parties.
A lot of the entertainment in a match is feeling a tangible shift in momentum – knowing that even though you’re 3-0 down you can still come back.
Does is still exist?
Whilst the bar is gone, momentum – it’s alleged – still exists to keep people playing and help deliver these ‘comeback’ moments that happen in real-life.
This is despite EA standing firm on its stance that such a mechanism does not exist.
Late last year, one curious player claimed to find a hidden ‘momentum’ code buried in the game’s files.
“I am no programmer or anything, but out of curiosity I was looking through some of the FIFA 17 game files,” he wrote on Reddit.
“I found the following in the file “Initfs-Win32”:
“The file can be found on PC at Origin Games > Fifa 17 > Update > Patch > Data.”
This was followed by another discovery, with Reddit user u/CatalystFCP revealing a code that’s alleged to show how momentum works.
So, what next?
This latest finding has caused many fans to demand that EA take action to explain the code’s existence.
One user wrote on Reddit: “I been saying this for years and people didn’t believe me that this was build into the game years ago.
“I cant believe EA would just expect us to forget about the momentum meter.”
In the meantime, some fans have started to figure out how to crack the alleged momentum code.
One gamer wrote: “If you want to simply take advantage of momentum, take less shots, keep low possession, don’t score early, and (use) a bronze bench.”
While this makeshift solution will offer respite for some, EA must be prepared to field some difficult questions as FIFA 18 gets closer.