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Next-gen FIFA debuts on 360

PS3 version to follow in 2007.

Electronic Arts today unveiled the next-generation version of FIFA 07, promising a completely new experience based on an engine that's been two years in the making.

FIFA 07 will appear on Xbox 360 first, this autumn in the US and Europe, but producer Hugues Ricour, speaking to Eurogamer, confirmed that a PlayStation 3 version is in development for release next year.

EA Canada has rewritten the gameplay engine from the ground up - something that took "100,000 man-hours" according to Ricour - and consists of a new animation engine, physics engine and AI system.

Players will have proper "football brains", based on real-life attributes - similar to the way that Pro Evolution Soccer works - with the idea being that players will behave as they tend to in real life. "So for example, Frank Lampard has a very strong shot as an attribute, and his trait is his tendency to shoot from distance," Ricour told us. "So we know he does this quite often and he's tagged to specifically do it."

The 360's extra processing power has meant that all 22 players can be calculated this way - compared to maybe a third of that in the past - while the ball itself has been written away from the animation, hopefully helping FIFA to escape the feeling of ball-glued-to-foot.

Players will also be able to react to the ball and trap it in a huge variety of ways, dependent on context, and we're promised that the ball will curve and spin very dynamically. The buzzword appears to be "unpredictability".

EA is also promising online modes - though not the current-gen version's Interactive Leagues feature - that will allow for four-versus-four matches online, while Xbox Live will deliver a free transfer-window update in February, as well as streaming news relating to your club, including podcasts.

With changes to the Manager Mode too and news from 20 major leagues, according to Ricour, FIFA 07 sounds like it's shaping up nicely, and will be shown behind closed doors on Xbox 360 during this week's Games Convention in Leipzig ahead of its release this autumn.

To find out more about the Xbox 360 version, be sure to check out our interview with Hugues Ricour elsewhere on the site.

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Tom Bramwell

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Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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