Simon Humber, Creative Director of the FIFA series, passed away earlier this year after a fight with cancer. Simon was a huge fan of Portsmouth FC and in tribute to him the FIFA team have included Fratton Park stadium in FIFA 16.
“When you make video games, you spend a great deal of time with people, and shipping an annual title makes a team very close. I worked with Simon daily for seven years, and feel like I – and the team – lost a family member. In terms of his legacy within FIFA, he was the daddy of Ultimate Team, and played a big role in career mode – many of the features coming this year were ones he was leading development on.” - David Rutter, VP and GM, EA SPORTS FIFA, speaking to The Guardian earlier this year.
As development for FIFA 16 was hitting its stride, the team at EA Canada started working with Portsmouth FC to include Fratton Park as a tribute to Simon. From visiting the site to interacting with ground staff, the aim was to make sure that the 117-year-old stadium was authentically replicated in the game.
"Simon was well-known among Pompey fans, his love of life, humorous and caring character ensured he was loved by all who met him. His passion for Pompey, the FIFA game and football in general, was infectious and as such he leaves a legacy of having made a hugely positive impact across all three. Everyone at Pompey is honoured that Fratton Park will appear in FIFA 16 and I know Simon would be ever so proud to see his club featured in this way. He would no doubt hope that it helps spread the word about his beloved club."-Ashley Brown, Director at PFC, on the Pompey Supporters' Trust board
During his time at Electronic Arts Simon worked on a number of games, including serving as Lead Producer on 2010 FIFA World Cup and Creative Director on the more recent FIFA releases.
“On FIFA, Simon was the man behind some of my favourite features with Alan McInally commentary topping that list. I had the pleasure of working on lots of features with him, spending hours creating and analysing Excel spreadsheets that would be the foundation for intricate implementations.” - Adam Bell, Software Engineer, EA SPORTS FIFA
Simon was also deeply involved and connected to the FIFA community, regularly participating with fans on forums and by email.
"It was probably that remarkable ability to think outside the box, which then led to Simon presiding over what is perhaps the greatest FIFA game of all time: 2010 FIFA World Cup. Simon was Lead Producer on that game, and once again community feedback was at the heart of his time in charge. If you were on the FIFA scene at the time, I’m sure you’ll remember just how active Simon was on the forums, replying, challenging, and destroying stupid suggestions with great regularity. But as well as that, he was watching and listening intently too. And it was his keen ear to the ground which led to a raft of kit, flag, and general accuracy changes after the game had shipped. It didn’t matter how small EA's mistake was, he knew that in a game shaped around national allegiance it made a big difference to someone. And that’s something I think Simon really understood about the FIFA community, and it showed." - David Bryant, Futhead.
In addition to including Fratton Park, there will also be a subtle tribute to Simon inside the stadium. When playing FIFA 16, if you look towards the goalmouth you will notice a 'wreath of flowers' laid to honour Simon, just as the club and its supporters did in an incredible gesture earlier in May.