Despite being a big real life football fan, and despite spending a lot of time playing the real thing, I've never paid all that much attention to what goes on 'off the ball' in a game of FIFA. I'm vaguely aware that AI controlled players are making smart runs, full backs are tracking wingers — all that stuff. But I've never thought about that process, or the way it impacts my in-game experience. I've always just taken it for granted, and this is why I found this developer diary so intriguing.
Particularly in the last third, off the ball running — the type, the timing — is paramount. It's an instinct that generally seperates talented strikers from the ones that actually score buckets of goals. Think about players like Raul, for example. He was hardly as technical as, say, Ronaldo, but he is one of the most successful strikers of all time because of how he moved off the ball.
It seems as though FIFA 13 has had a bit of an overhaul in this area, which makes me keen to play it — just to see how it actually affects my experience. I have often found myself shouting at the TV during matches, asking why certain players didn't run into that specific space. What I'm really hoping for, I suppose, is a more fluid game of attacking football. If this video is to be believed, that's exactly what EA is trying to provide.