EA has explained why the Euro 2012 event downloadable content for FIFA 12 does not include any gameplay or visual improvements whatsoever.
The DLC, due out 24th April for Ł15.99 on PS3 and PC, and 1800 MS Points on Xbox 360, adds new game modes, stadiums, balls and event paraphernalia, but on the pitch looks and plays exactly the same as FIFA 12, which launched last year.
Lead producer Sebastian Enrique told Eurogamer in an interview there were a number of factors that influenced the decision not to improve the gameplay, chief among them the feeling that FIFA 12 played well enough for the development team to feel comfortable focusing on other areas.
"We felt FIFA 12 gameplay was good enough - it's really good - it's not just good enough, that it allowed us to concentrate on providing a variety of game modes for people to enjoy. Plus, we are so close to whatever comes next [FIFA 13]."
Enrique said he wanted to avoid falling into the trap other event titles in the past had in drawing criticism from fans for being just slightly better versions of the main game in the series they had followed.
"If you go through all the forums, Eurogamer forums or any other forums, for Euro 2008 or the World Cup game, many people said, it feels like FIFA 10.5 gameplay. It's always a little bit, but not everything. So, why is that?
"In FIFA we have a big gameplay group dedicated to working on gameplay on FIFA. With an event title we wouldn't be able to get that. Ever. We could probably get one or two, I wouldn't say improvements but changes here and there. For me, it wasn't worth it."
Instead, the Euro 2012 team, which first began working on the game in April 2011, decided to spend its resources, time and effort on gameplay modes, such as the new Expedition mode.
In FIFA we have a big gameplay group dedicated to working on gameplay on FIFA. With an event title we wouldn't be able to get that. Ever. We could probably get one or two, I wouldn't say improvements but changes here and there. For me, it wasn't worth it.
"Let's use the excellent gameplay we have that people are used to, but concentrate on giving good game modes," Enrique said. "So instead of providing a mediocre experience here and there, let's try to get good game modes for the people to enjoy."
Enrique admitted he was tempted to improve player faces for the DLC - especially of those superstar players who will no doubt shine during the tournament, but resisted, believing money was better spent elsewhere.
"You have a certain amount of resources and money you can use, and you have to pick your battles. You have to ask, what do I think people will enjoy the most? Should I spend money having one brand new game mode, or should I spend money having nicer faces? It's a trade off. You pick the ones you believe are the right decision. But time will tell. We'll see what people enjoy the most."
Some fans have questioned the decision to ditch qualification - a long-running feature of FIFA event titles - for the Euro 2012 DLC. Enrique took this decision because, according to EA's statistics, hardly anyone bothered playing the qualifiers.
"When we were doing the concept for Euro, we gathered all the stats to see what people were playing in FIFA, what people played in the World Cup game, what people played in the Euro 08 game," he explained. "Seriously, not that many people played the qualifiers. Most of the people just jumped directly into the finals.
"You will have the hardcore guy, or the one that is really passionate and wants to play the qualifiers. But we have to say, okay, same as the gameplay thing, we just provide the finals that most people enjoy, and let's concentrate on improving the experience on the other game modes, the online tournament, having good matchmaking rules, or having a new experience with Expedition. That was why we decided not to have the qualifiers."