If you're into football games on the PC and had hoped that EA would consider it ‘next-gen’ enough to combine FIFA 22 with their fancy HyperMotion tech, a mixture of mo-cap and machine learning for player animations, then you have very specific tastes. Also, you’re out of luck. FIFA 22 on the PC will once again be cast from the ancient ‘last-gen’ console versions, relying solely on motion capture to convey the silky moves of Ian Football Jr.
You need to know what it is in order to know what you’re missing out on. The tech is so integral to the game that the whole trailer is based on it.
Foot-to-ballers wore special suits that recorded them playing. EA blathered: “Every touch, tackle, sprint and duel from all 22 players playing at high intensity for the first time ever, capturing data that powers over 4000 new animations in FIFA 22 to raise the footballing intensity, responsiveness, and physicality of every player in the game.”
Combined with the new tech, that data can be used to write new animations on the pitch in real time. Unless you’re on the PC, in which case you’ll have to make do with whatever the hell you call non-machine-learned animations. I’m so angry that I refuse to find out, in case some poor person Googles it and gets sad reading this story.
This relegation to the 'last-gen' league of FIFA versions also happened with FIFA 21, though that didn’t have HyperMotion. As Eurogamer pointed out, executive producer Aaron McHardy’s reasoned that this was to let all types of PC gamers get in on the game, and not just high-end users. He said:
"When we looked at what generation to put the PC game on, we looked at our fans and what capabilities they had with the hardware they have. [...] In order to run the gen five game, our min spec would have been at a spot that would have left a lot of people out in the cold not being able to play the game. So we made the choice to keep the PC version of the game on the gen four version of FIFA so that we can open the doors and be inclusive to everybody who wants to play FIFA."
We don't currently know what FIFA 22's minimum PC requirements are just yet, but the minimum specs for FIFA 21 (which has a not inconsiderable 33,073 players in-game right now) as listed on Steam include either an Intel Core i3-6100 or AMD Athlon X4 880K processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 2GB or AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB grpahics card, and 8GB of RAM. The GTX 660 alone was released all the way back in September 2012, which only 0.24% of Steam users still have in their PC right now according to the latest Steam hardware survey page. The most used card, by comparison, is the much more recent (but still quite old) Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with 9.59%.
That means FIFA’s current technology requirements lag around nine years behind modern PC gaming, while the most popular graphics card on Steam is around five years old. I’m in the horrible position of being annoyed that we don’t get new things, while also slightly seeing their point. Ugh! I don't like it. Nuance is for cowards.
In any case, FIFA 22 is out on October 2nd. I guess by then we’ll have seen both versions of the game in action to know how big the differences are.