For the first time ever, the Champions League will officially be in FIFA, bringing with it a brand new commentary team for the elite European competitions to go alongside the usual pairing of Martin Tyler and Alan Smith, who have been with the franchise since 2006 and 2011 respectively.
Derek Rae and Lee Dixon will provide the commentary for the Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup in FIFA 19, having spent weeks recording new audio for the debut of the competitions in the game.
Recording commentary for FIFA 19 was a new challenge for Rae, who began his broadcasting career describing Aberdeen games before joining the BBC and later ESPN, BT Sport and Fox. Unlike the Champions League games he regularly covers in real life, recording audio for FIFA 19 is done without visual aids, with Rae and Dixon given a range of scenarios to imagine and describe rather than reading from a script, which would dilute the realism of the voiceovers and ruin the chemistry between the duo.
"I think how it's done would be quite interesting to a lot of people," Rae told Goal. "When people are playing the game, they hear the commentator and maybe they take it for granted, but a lot and time and effort goes into it by the production team. It's a dual commentary, so it's myself and Lee Dixon.
"I know Lee from working with him on NBC for the US market. The two of us go into a studio and we basically record different scenarios according to what our producer Santi Jaramillo wants. He's the creative director for FIFA and he gives us our instructions.
"Essentially what they do is, rather than give us a script, they give us scenarios and we have to put them into a real situation and not just once, but many times over. It's actually challenging in a very good way. It makes you think about different ways of expressing yourself and different ways that work. Sometimes you'll try some things that don't work so well. It's a very collaborative process between the production team and ourselves as commentators."
Rae admits that working this way without any sort of visual aid or match footage to help describe the action took a small bit of getting used to, but he was able to adapt quickly thanks to over 30 years of broadcasting experience.
The process took almost a month in total, with Rae and Dixon returning to Los Angeles in July to add extra dialogue to the game as it neared completion ahead of its worldwide release date on September 28.
"It's big transition, you're used to watching something and putting words to that, but funnily enough, I didn't really find that too daunting, possibly because I've been commentating for so many years," he continued.
"I can quite easily in my mind paint the picture of a corner kick scenario where the big defender comes up from the back and heads it over the top, and what I would say under the circumstances. It definitely was a change, but a change in a good way and one I found very creative from the start.
"I think it was somewhere between 20 and 25 days by the end of it. We work on different things on different days. From the point of view of your voice, the production team are mindful of not doing a whole day where it's high intensity stuff because that can quickly ruin the vocal chords.
"We tend to pace it so that part of the day is lower intensity and then we reserve the higher intensity stuff for the end of a recording day. A lot of it is player names and doing player names in a different way each time, different intensity from very low level in possession of the ball to scoring a goal."
FIFA 19 will have more leagues, clubs and players than ever before, but not all of these are eligible for the Champions League or Europa League, meaning that Rae and Dixon's commentary is not quite as extensive as Tyler and Smith's, who also have to record audio for Major League Soccer and other competitions outside of Europe.
However, all of the major clubs in Europe have been comprehensively covered, which means that the Champions League will feel as lifelike as possible when playing - and listening - to FIFA 19. This involves recording many of the player names multiple times in order to provide variety and also make shots and goals feel as close to real life commentary as possible.
"It varies by player, but with the players who score goals a lot, we have four or five variations of those, from low intensity to the highest one," Rae explained. "We'd do that four or five times for the likes of [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi and Harry Kane. In this first year of the Champions League and Europa League, we've tried to do all the teams that will reasonably compete."
As the lead commentator for the new Champions League game mode, Rae has recorded the audio for the end of season trophy presentation, but that cannot be used to provide clarity as to who might lift the trophy next summer.
Instead, EA Sports treated Rae and former Arsenal defender Dixon to a special one-off final, which is unlikely to be repeated outside the realms of the video game.
"There was one scene where we did use a visual part of it and that was the trophy presentations for the Champions League and the Europa League," Rae admitted. "The reason for that is that it has to match up with a specific scene. Regular players of the game would have seen this kind of thing where a team wins the trophy and then the player goes to receive the trophy and pictures get taken and then they're celebrating with the fans. So that has to be done based on what we're seeing at the time.
"For that one, Lee and I went down one morning and they said 'we'd like you to do this first.' The guys in Vancouver have sent an example of it and they can mock it up any way they like. So because it was Lee and myself, the Champions League final they had mocked up was Aberdeen against Arsenal. Aberdeen won 1-0. So I was able to do those scenes with Graeme Shinnie of Aberdeen lifting the Champions League trophy!
"The real-life winner of the Champions League? It's always hard to say at the start of the campaign because you don't know who'll hit form at the right time. I do have a feeling that it's time for an English club to do it. Liverpool came so close last season, but perhaps it's Manchester City's turn. They have the right man to do it. He didn't do it with Bayern, but did with Barcelona, so can do it again.
"As for FIFA 19, it depends on how well you play the game, it could be anybody."