An encouraging sign for the latest installment of its annual soccer franchise, the FIFA 15 demo was downloaded more than 5.5 million times, according to a report from EA Sports on the day the full game launched.

The FIFA 15 Demo was released on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PC. For EA Sports, the FIFA 15 demo was considered its preseason, the dress rehearsal before the official release of the critically acclaimed series, according to Nick Channon, senior producer EA Sports FIFA.

"The launch of the FIFA 15 Demo is like our preseason and the first chance for millions of FIFA fans to get hands-on with the game," Channon said when the demo was released. "The demo is an early representation and taste of this year's game, and we welcome the chance to get fan feedback on our innovations and new features."

FIFA 15 benefits from the return of EA's in-house Ignite game engine, a software framework designed to breath more life and dynamism into the game's stadiums. That emotion arrives on the pitch in FIFA 15, as players and sideline personnel have been enhanced with more than 600 contextual emotions that arise in reaction to everything from overly aggressive tackles to demoralizing goals.

With Tim Howard's surreal goal keeping against Belgium's barrage still fresh in the minds of soccer fans, goalkeepers have evolved for the next generation in FIFA 15 and continue EA Sport's dedication to improving defense in its games this year. EA says goalkeepers were completely reworked and empowered with more than 50 save animations, using a fluidity that makes the Howard-like saves somewhat believable.

"Goalkeepers make better decisions in one-on-ones and when tracking the ball on crosses, corners and through balls towards their box," says EA. "Keepers in FIFA 15 command their area with more awareness and intelligence than ever before. Goalies will also read the flight of balls and you'll see more variety in how they react to swerving, dipping or turbulent shots."

In FIFA 15, EA Sports has spent more time working to improve the ball physics in the game. Each year it says it has just about perfected them, and its latest claims don't deviate from that trend.

"The movement of the ball in FIFA 15 changes the game," says EA. "You'll see accurate spin, curl and flight of the football as it moves realistically after each contact. Experience authentic ball physics while dribbling, passing, taking a touch or blocking a shot."

FIFA 15 is available now in the U.S. on PC, PS4, Xbox One and last-gen consoles.

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.