Women’s football is growing at an incredible pace around the world and we can find evidence of it everywhere. UEFA increased funding for women’s football by 50% and FIFA launched a global initiative to increase women’s participation. FIFA 19 made franchise history by adding the first fictional playable hero, Kim Hunter, to El Camino: Champions*. Get all the information on Kim Hunter’s creation and EA’s inclusion of women in FIFA 19 as told by Katie Scott, Senior Game Designer.

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The FIFA development team made every effort to accurately represent women during the development of the El Camino Trilogy.

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“From the beginning, when we first started thinking about the idea of ​​telling a story in FIFA, we wanted diverse representation,” says Scott. “In the words of our Narrative Director, Matt Turner, ‘Because we wanted to tell a realistic story, we chose to tell it with diversity in mind, because it’s reality.’

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El Camino started in FIFA 17 and revolves around the fictional character Alex Hunter. Alex Hunter is a multiracial character, the son of a white father and black mother, struggling to break into the English Premier League. As Hunter tries, he must contend with the shadow of his father, a former professional football player who abandoned his family.

While the team was off to a good start on their work recording El Camino, a visit from Disney Scott made it clear that much more could be done.

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« gave a lecture in our studio early last year. He told us that on many occasions throughout his career, he viewed a film or television series through the prism of diversity, highlighting important themes,” says Scott. “Some of them had a woman in the lead role, but none of the scenes had another woman in the background.”

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The idea of ​​analyzing how and where women are represented in the media has recently become popular thanks to the Bechdel test. These are the rules of the test:

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There must be at least 2 female characters. Both characters must talk to each other The subject of conversation must be something other than a male In the FIFA team we value structures that, such as e.g. B. the Bechdel test, serves the female representation. Diversity and inclusion became two factors of crucial importance to the team during the founding process for many reasons; The media has the ability to influence the way people see other people. EA SPORTS slogan is “It’s In The Game”. Women also play soccer in the real world, and all EA SPORTS franchises strive to make the game as realistic as possible.

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“The users of our games attach different importance to the need for representation. There are many reasons for this, and it’s definitely important to feel represented,” says Scott.

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“There is an excellent article published annually on Feminist Frequency that analyzes the gender of the main characters of the games presented at E3 each year. In it we find a fantastic quote: “It is not our practice to encourage boys or men to project themselves into female characters. Encouraging players to view the game universe through an exclusively female character helps challenge the idea that men cannot and should not identify with women as fully human beings. I think this is a very important opportunity for us to promote a more empathetic view of our users.

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Analyzing all the scenes, Scott noticed the absence of women in offices, training grounds, stadium corridors, and even during a women’s soccer game where no female character appeared in the background. This gave the impression that the female characters were not given enough resources or attention, making those characters seem shallow or artificial.

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After collecting this data and evidence, Scott conducted a diversity assessment. The evaluation encouraged thinking about true diversity when creating stories, characters and products.

“The statements were shared at EA and encouraged people,” explains Katie. “Finally, they helped us ask ourselves three very important questions. What are we doing to ensure we represent different demographics accurately? Are we unconsciously applying some bias to the game’s story? How often do we feature stories about underrepresented groups in our game? »

The arrival of Kim Hunter

With this in mind, El Camino: Campeones has placed as much emphasis on diversity and inclusion as research on budget or user experience.

“That’s how we ended up creating a great character like Kim Hunter,” says Scott. “A realistic female character who is strong, authentic and believable.”

All aspects of the script and story were discussed with women, which also led to discussions about Kim’s in-game mechanics. Kim is a completely different character than Alex Hunter and the gameplay needed to reflect that. She moves in a completely different world where her age and personality determine the way she communicates. While Alex can be ___y or humble, Kim can be impulsive or gentle.

In addition to his personality, adjustments have also been made to his behavior on the field. The team worked very hard to make the player’s movements as realistic as possible, especially during cutscenes.

“We brought women’s football to the game in FIFA 16 through authentic movements,” explains Scott. “We invested a lot this year in creating realistic animations for the female characters in cutscenes and adapting them to our game mechanics.”

US Women’s co-captain Alex Morgan also gave us valuable advice and helped us create Kim Hunter’s world on El Camino.

“Alex would say things like ‘I won’t say that’ or ‘We won’t say that,'” says Katie. “Alex explained to us how the team got on the field or how they listened to their coaches. He made suggestions to us; collaborated and worked with us. Your wonderful contributions helped us turn El Camino: Campeones into a true story based on real experiences. “

: Press release