FIFA 10 producer Dave Rutter has told Eurogamer TV that the addition of 360-degree control in this year's update is "going to totally change the way you play the game".
The move away from traditional eight-direction play was flagged up as this season's headline addition during the game's unveiling at the terminally trophyless Arsenal's Emirates Stadium back in April. And Rutter admitted the team was "really worried that it was going to freak people out the first time they played it."
"It makes a very big experience difference," he said. "What we found is, the first five or six minutes you're a lot more inaccurate on your thumb than you think you are. [But] within a couple of minutes you've totally got it.
"You're going to be able to move to any area of the pitch you want literally just by pushing yourself there, rather than having to take multiple angles to get there - and that really changes the way the game plays."
And Rutter argued that this feature, along with a raft of other improvements, would be enough for FIFA 09 fans to justify shelling out for another annual update.
"There are bigger changes afoot for FIFA 10 that we haven't told you about yet," he teased. "There will be bigger changes for [FIFA] 11 as well - we've got some stuff that is in very, very early stages of thought rather than work at the moment that we want to try and do - but certainly for FIFA 10 there's a lot more to come out yet."
FIFA 10 kicks off this autumn on all major formats.