FIFA 2000 featured Williams’ ‘It’s Only Us’ as its opening song, but this only happened thanks to a throwaway answer from the singer when leaving the Brit Awards in 1999.
At the awards, Williams won British Single Of The Year, British Male Solo Artist and British Video Of The Year.
“He comes out of the Brit Awards and the interviewer says, ‘What are you going to do now Robbie?’ And he said, ‘I’m going to go home and play my copy of FIFA 99,’” recalled Tom Stone, former vice president of Electronic Arts‘ European marketing division, in an interview with Time Extension.
“So we heard this, we called his management, and said, ‘Was Robbie serious? Was he really playing?’ And they go, ‘He loves FIFA,’” he continued. Fortunately, FIFA’s audio director was already in touch with Williams’ record label and so securing the singer and his team’s involvement in the newest FIFA entry was a walk in the park.
Yet, the team experienced some resistance to the idea. “There were a lot of people who thought he was wrong for the game because they still saw him as Take That and his bad thing with the press,” explained Marc Aubanel, senior producer of FIFA 2000.
But Williams and his manager wanted that “heartthrob” image to be left in the past, and featuring in FIFA which had a predominantly male audience was a “branding opportunity”.
The singer’s additional terms for the inclusion of ‘It’s Only Us’ were that he would be a player in the game and that his favourite club Port Vale would be added to FIFA 2000.
Electronic Arts obliged – he was mocapped and turned into a “Cyber Rob” 3D model that appeared in the game, the ‘It’s Only Us’ music video and on his official website.
“Robbie didn’t care about the [money] at all. He’s like, ‘If you get me in a mocap suit and I can be mo-capped and put into the game, I’ll do it for free,’” said Aubanel.
In other gaming news, Adidas and Marvel have revealed Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Symbiote-themed shoes as part of a larger collection to celebrate the game’s launch.