EA Sports game Fifa 21 is paying tribute to late football prodigy Kiyan Prince by turning him into a playable character.
Prince was stabbed and killed aged 15. His return as a virtual professional footballer on the 15th anniversary of his death aims to raise awareness of knife crime.
Fifa worked to accurately recreate Prince as a player by consulting his family, friends, former teammates and coaches to develop his on-pitch characteristics and style of play.
The campaign, called “Long live the Prince”, is created by Engine Creative on a pro-bono basis with all proceeds raised going directly to the Kiyan Prince Foundation, the charity run by Prince’s father, Dr Mark Prince OBE.
For the anti-knife crime campaign, Prince has been signed for his former club, Queens Park Rangers, and given the squad number 30 to reflect the age he would be today. In addition, Match Attax will issue a Kiyan Prince playing card and major brands, including Adidas and JD, will sponsor him.
Aging-projection software was used to create a scientifically accurate image of how Prince would look today aged 30. This image was then developed by Framestore and photoreal artist Chris Scalf with input from the Prince family and help from Professor Hassan Ugail at the University of Bradford. Framestore brought the likeness to life in film through AI technology, partnering with Electric Lens Company (ELC).
To accompany the launch, a short film directed by David Dearlove through Engine Film was created to engage vulnerable kids across social and earned media, along with a series of ads fronted by the virtual Kiyan Prince, across press, out of home and on social media. Photography for the campaign was shot by David Clerihew with post-production by Framestore and Nineteentwenty.
Dr Mark Prince said: “I want my son to be remembered not for the tragedy of his death but for the triumph of his achievements. Through this campaign, the world finally gets to glimpse Kiyan’s incredible potential fulfilled. And hopefully, we can inspire other kids to be the best version of themselves too.”
To raise further awareness, top footballers, such as Raheem Sterling, and influencers, including F2Freestylers, will share their support on social media using the hashtag #longlivetheprince.
Mark Prince and former professional footballer Les Ferdinand, who is currently director of football at QPR, will also head up a major PR drive to help raise awareness and tell the story of the transformational effect the sponsorship money will have on the charity’s work.
The Kiyan Prince Foundation was set up in 2007. Mark Prince works with at-risk children, instilling a positive mindset in order to lead them away from knife crime and towards achieving their full potential. Money raised by the campaign will help the foundation to take its message to schools nationwide and set up a permanent base for the charity’s activities.
James Salmon, marketing director, EA Sports Fifa brand, said; “By adding Kiyan Prince in-game this year, we not only want to celebrate what an incredibly talented footballer he was and should have been, but also continue to offer EA Sports Fifa as a platform to raise awareness of the Kiyan Prince Foundation.”