Since its North American release on Sept. 27 — and its subsequent global launch three days later — EA Sports' FIFA 12 has sold an estimated 3.2 million units worldwide, making it the biggest launch in the history of sports videogames.
This year, the venerable button-mashing soccer extravaganza features something it never has before for the current generation of consoles: an MLS stadium.
Nestled among the San Siros and Old Traffords of the world is a digitized version of the newly renovated BC Place, home of the Vancouver Whitecaps. Creating a true-to-life rendering of this state-of-the-art venue was no easy feat, as it was being refurbished at the same time that the game was being developed.
“BC Place took just under a month to create from scratch,” says Hiron Bhowmik, lead environment artist for FIFA 12.
“We had between three to five artists working on the project during that time, and since BC Place was under construction, we couldn’t take photos that would be usable for our modeling purposes," Bhowmik explained. "Therefore, we worked with various architectural references and drawings provided to us by officials at BC place to recreate the stadium virtually.“
The results are splendid. The virtual BC Place is as bright, clean and modern as its real-life counterpart, something Bhowmik and his team worked hard to achieve.
“We worked very closely with BC Place officials to make sure we had all the major architectural elements in place so that we presented the stadium authentically,” says Bhowmik. “We feel like we captured BC Place beautifully and authentically.”
But even though FIFA 12 has been released and the doors of BC Place have been opened, the work is not yet done for the EA Sports environmental artist team.
“We feel like we captured BC Place beautifully and authentically, but now that the stadium is complete, we would love to add in some of the finer details that we did not have access to during construction."