Electronic Arts hopes that FIFA will be able to support 11-versus-11 play in time for the 2010 World Cup - so that its "Virtual World Cup" will consist of each country's best 11 players competing side by side.
Speaking to Eurogamer, FIFA 08 producer Joe Booth unveiled this year's "Be A Pro" mode, which lays the foundations for 11-versus-11 play in the next two years. Be A Pro gives you control of one player on a football team, with reward systems built around how well you contribute to the team.
"In the long term we have big plans. We'd like for the 2010 World Cup to have a virtual World Cup at the same time, and build an organisation in each territory that finds the best 11 players and flies them out to South Africa, and have a full-on tournament there," Booth said.
"That takes a number of steps to get us there - not only what we're doing with the engine and what we do with online, but it also means we have to build community structures around that."
In a Eurogamer interview published to coincide with the game's unveiling, Booth added: "What we're trying to get to is something that feels like offline. And that feels like it's at least a cycle away."