The EA Sports development team based in Burnaby, Vancouver have their own full-sized football field.
Their studio floor is replete with banners, pendants and all manner of shirts and associated football paraphernalia. This, then, is clearly a team who take the game extremely seriously indeed.
So as each development cycle in the long-running FIFA series draws to an end, their only thought is towards the next iteration. Which aspects to improve, which to shelve, and which exciting new gameplay additions can be introduced to an audience measured in the millions.
FIFA 13′s producer David Rutter is quick to summarise:
"The biggest changes are really grounded around a couple of things introduced Tactical Defending last year, which changed the defending system and really created a great balance between tactics and defending. We really want to build on that, and give users a lot more tools both in attacking and defending.
"It's about giving them a lot more options in that area, but maintaining that balance, that's become very, very important."
Central to this is the Player Impact Engine; a revolutionary revamp in FIFA 12 tailored this subsystem to specifically create a virtually limitless variety of outcomes around on-ball player collisions.
"We really like that idea, of creating these very different outcomes, we wanted to move that out to across the whole pitch", explains Rutter.
By mixing in improvements focused on both offence and defence, the most significant modifications set to arrive in the next instalment are what EA refers to as Attacking Intelligence, Complete Dribble, and Tactical Freekicks.
The first of these, Attacking Intelligence, will see defenders adopt a more hands-on approach with incoming attackers, their abilities now more finely tuned towards aggressive play. In addition, attackers will forfeit their ability to instantly receive control when taking a pass. It might sound all a bit biased, however the defenders first touch – ever so crucial at the highest levels of the game – will now need to be carefully managed to prevent loss of possession.
"Possession, ultimately, in real football is key, it's all about if you've got the ball, then you've got the opportunities, so we took the power of the Player Impact Engine and looked at what we could do. It was really down to the technology we could harness to drive the physics-driven collisions; what could we do in 13 that really brings out features within that", states Rutter.
Next on the long list of tweaks, Complete Dribble sounds like an ambitious description of an extremely complicated feature. Yet here, perhaps EA Sports has finally nailed it. At long last, the player will be able to move the ball sideways to their facing position using the left analogue stick, the animation of which appears smooth and entirely realistic.
"We did position dribbling last year, but one of the big things is to get that facing angle so you can face a defender, have your back to a defender and you'll keep your facing angle. You don't keep changing and giving the defender an opportunity to get the to the ball, but giving you all those skills to go around, get space, so you can get crosses and break down the defenders as well."
Not that Rutter discounts the complicated development involved, and why it's taken so long to implement:
"Each year we have a focus. Last year we brought in the precision dribbling, which gave us a great ability within tight spaces, this year it was really about attacking at speed and having that power of movement, so ultimately these things evolve as we go. It's a complicated system, and now we feel the time is right with the different systems we have within the game."
The same can be said of Tactical Freekicks, which will feature the ability to bluff players by instigating dummy runs, and added defence features such as adding or removing players to the wall, and the ability to send out runners for pot-shots.
"It's not just about kicking the ball over the wall now", elaborates Rutter.
"You've got options where you can lay balls off, you can send runners around the wall, and on the defending side you've got to maintain that balance. Really, it's building on some of the key technology we developed last year."
Where FIFA 12 began EA's so-called series revolution, FIFA 13 seems set to further evolve and refine the core fundamentals of the game to align it with its philosophy of providing more options across the whole pitch. The only problem with this approach is that there's always a percentage of the fanbase that won't tolerate such sweeping additions, and will likely stick to whichever release makes most sense to them.
Not that such concerns appear to phase EA Vancouver.
"If we can continue that revolution this year, by developing some of our technologies and really creating the systems where we have way more variety, we'll be able to create a much more realistic game", maintains the FIFA producer.
Much like the real game, it seems that EA's determination to chase goals will win in the end.