EA Sports' FIFA series has become one of the most popular video games in the world. One of the ways they've managed to stay that way is by constantly adding features. This year, one of those features is enhanced goalkeeper movements. One of the players who EA modeled for FIFA 15 was United States and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard. SB Nation had the opportunity to talk to Howard about the experience of becoming a video game star.
Was this a new experience for you?
The motion capture was the first time I got to wear the tight suit and all the probes. It was really cool. I feel like it's a rite of passage for an athlete. They asked me a few weeks ago and I jumped at the opportunity. With the next-gen goalkeeping feature, they are trying to revamp the goalkeeping position on the FIFA 15 game. I wanted to be part of that. I think goalkeepers always get the short end of the stick, so the fact that they're revamping us goalkeepers better, I'm all for that.
How much do you play these games?
I have an 8-year-old son, I play with him. that's where I get my FIFA fix. He likes to be dad and I like to be Cristiano Ronaldo.
Have you found frustrations with the way goalkeepers move?
I think what the next-gen goalkeeping feature is going to add is more realistic, more dynamic, more explosive goalkeeper movements. Rather than just your run of the mill stand and dive, you're going to get more real-time type of action and movements.
I imagine you're excited about being able to use these new features.
I'm excited to play, but overall I think the goalkeeper position world-wide there have been some real strides. So many goalkeepers at this last World Cup were talked about for their outstanding performances. Rather than just scoring, I think it's going to be pretty cool to see your goalkeeper perform at an incredibly high level.
Do you get the sense that the goalkeeper position is starting to get a bit more love in general?
It almost seems like there has been a shift. What makes a change in that shift is having an idol, having a role model put in front of your face. I think that I've been able to do things with EA Sports today and the goalkeepers having such dominant performances in the World Cup, that's what people take notice of. I think a lot of kids probably went out into their backyard after some of those World Cup games and tried to be like some of the goalkeepers they saw. That's how you create role models.
Do you feel as though the perception of goalkeepers is starting to change in Europe as well?
It's starting to change. It's a naturally uncool position. Everyone wants to be a striker; I think I still want to be a striker. It's slowly changing worldwide. A lot of European goalkeepers have been outstanding the past few years, they are some of the best in the world. I think CONCACAF had a very good showing in terms of their goalkeeping, that's exciting as well.