Consequently, the Fifa team has sought to make players feel more responsive while defending. One result is the new "swing step" move where defenders are able to quickly switch direction while running back toward their own goal in front of an attacking player. This apparently stops the player from over-running and creating gaps for the opponent to accelerate through.
Channon says the AI defenders have also been tweaked so they work more as a unit. In one example he shows us, Real Madrid is just building an attack with Modric on the ball, so the right back is looking to run up the field. However, when the Croatian midfielder loses possession our defender immediately starts running back into position. "Last year he would have kept running forward for a while; he wouldn't have recognised the situation quite so quickly," says Channon. "This was creating gaping gaps which could get quite frustrating."
The designers have also changed the man-marking system so that defenders will now recognise if a player is making a threatening run and move in to intercept. Channon shows off a sequence in which Pique breaks out of position to track a run, prompting Rakitic to drift in a cover."Last year you probably would have been in on goal there,"says Channon."We're just tightening everything up a little bit."
"Previously, slide tackles were a bit all-or-nothing,"says Channon."If you missed, you were done. We wanted to make it more realistic."He shows off a sequence where Marcelo goes in to tackle Messi, who anticipates the slide and lifts the ball over the leg of the defender. However, if the sliding player hits the tackle button again, he gets quickly to his feet, allowing another stab at an interception."We can now branch out of the slide tackle animation at any point,"says Channon.
I try this on a few occasions and manage to get the timing all wrong, but it should allow more skilled players to control defensive plays more precisely. It also looks like defenders may be able to use this for mid-air blocks, creating rather impressive sliding interceptions.