Soccer nerds rejoice! EA Sports, maker of the wildly successful FIFA video game, has produced a 24-minute long film exploring which players should make it into the FIFA 16 "Team of the Year."
The film, entitled "The Quest for the Best," follows U.K. comedian and soccer fanatic Lloyd Griffith as he travels the world, quizzing experts including star players past and present such as Lionel Messi, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Adebayo Akinfenwa on their choices. He also talks to a range of other experts, including Charly Rexach, the FC Barcelona scout who is credited with discovering Messi.
The documentary-style film, created by agency Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, replays the conversations, or should that be ‘raging arguments’, that millions of soccer fans have about the year’s golden eleven. Who should make the cut for the ultimate soccer team? No other question counts at this time of year.
Griffiths is an engaging host, who also, quite unexpectedly, sings amazingly well. Wieden + Kennedy creative director, Craig Williams, explains that selecting the right host was key to the project. "This film was made for fans of football and FIFA [the EA video game] alike," he says. "The hardest bit was finding the host, someone you can believe in. Someone who would go on this 'quest', and would take us on this journey with him and know something about football. Someone almost obsessive. We think Lloyd nails this with his quirky wit and endless charm. He carries the piece effortlessly."
Williams also says that cutting the film into chunks was considered and rejected. "We were going to divide it up into shorter episodes like a series, but that would have made it less immersive," he says, adding, "We think having it as long as it is, well, if you're a real fan of football, it makes it all the more compelling to find out in the end who's the best." It can be viewed in the U.K. on Sky Sports or globally on EA Sports FIFA YouTube channel.
The film comes in advance of the FIFA Ballon d’Or announcement on January 11, when soccer’s best player of the year is officially anointed. The award is decided by votes from national team coaches and captains, as well as football journalists from around the world. It has recently been dominated by Lionel Messi (2010, 2011, 2012) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2013, 2014), and prompts fanatical debate every year. Perhaps this year will be Neymar’s turn but leaked reports suggest it will be Messi’s year once again, although FIFA claims the so-called leak is a hoax.
At the same time, the FIFA FIFPro World XI is decided by a vote from professional players from 58 national players’ associations, which form the Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (FIFPro). Following the official announcement, the world’s top 11 players will be available for gamers on FIFA 16’s Ultimate Team mode, along with Lloyd's chosen team.