EA’s FIFA Soccer 12, due to be released next year, will have a Vancouver connection — and not just because EA Games, the make of FIFA, is based in Burnaby.
No, it’s because the Vancouver Whitecaps and EA have become partners to promote the game and even develop it. It's the first such partnership between EA and a North American soccer club.
"It was a very easy decision to make," EA Sports vice-president Matt Bilbey said in an interview at the company's Burnaby studio. "We believe in the Whitecaps' vision to become one of the top soccer clubs in the world and we want to help them achieve it."
The deal allows the video game developer to showcase its FIFA Soccer games through the Whitecaps -- including signage, broadcast and game applications. It will have exclusive access to Whitecaps players for motion-capture technology that makes video games more realistic. Bilbey said EA will also use Whitecaps players, staff and fans to test early versions of its soccer products.
Bilbey said the Whitecaps and a renovated BC Place Stadium will become part of FIFA Soccer 12, to be released next year.
BC Place is currently undergoing $563 million in renovations and Bilbey expects FIFA Soccer 12 will allow fans to play with the Whitecaps Major League Soccer team in the upgraded stadium before it is actually completed next fall.
It’s pretty cool that a small (by international standards) team like the Whitecaps are getting such publicity like this — good on EA Games for supporting the home team. I’m sure that Major League Soccer, the league the Whitecaps belong to, will love the credibility and prestige that comes with being featured so prominently in an EA game, and more importantly, the free marketing that accompanies a feature in the game.
And it looks like FIFA Soccer 12 will be our first look at the renovated BC Place — which may be the only opportunity to see the thing in our lifetimes.