In Microsoft's E3 keynote yesterday, a demonstration of voice-command Kinect support in FIFA 13 yesterday left the impression that if you're on the adverse end of an official's decision and you swear at the judgment, you could draw a booking for dissent. It sure looked that way on the video. There was a bleep and an official showing a yellow card and everything.
I was then corrected, told by an EA Sports representative that swearing would be recognised but it would only trigger a tut-tutting from the game's commentator, Martin Tyler.
So, today, I asked Matt Bilbey, the President of Football for EA Sports — this guy runs the title — what the deal was. "When you swear at the TV screen, now," I said, "what exactly is it that happens?"
"Yellow card," Bilbey said, in a matter-of-fact English accent. "Well, you'll get a warning, and then it will ultimately —
"It ends up becoming reflected in the in-game commentary." said Colin Macrae, the game's senior spokesman.
OK, despite Macrae's backsave I pressed on. If you continue swearing, I asked Bilbey, you will be booked for dissent?
"It will ... we will get to that," he said.
"Yes," said Macrae.
Regardless, there is some sort of interaction between you and the game if you unload all manner of flith flarn flarn filth when you get called offside. So just how many languages does that involve? Because FIFA's audience is every bit as global as FIFA's.
"Across multiple languages," said Bilbey. They're still figuring out how many will be supported, but in the Microsoft presentation, not only will the game recognise distinct languages, it'll represent dialects. And the favoured invective of those cultures.
"I'd forward it to you but I think the in house filter systems would drop it out and I'd get a call from IT," Macrae laughed. "But it is ... relatively extensive. And colourful."
This is going to require a full test when the game releases. At last, one thing about football I am competent to judge.
Bilbey himself isn't above using a little blue language in the beautiful sport. "I moved to Vancouver (the home of FIFA) 11 years ago, and I played amateur football," he said. "There are things you can say on a soccer pitch that would be passable in England. But the first or second game, I said something, and literally even my teammates were like, 'Whoa there, buddy.'"