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On this day in 2006, Kiyan Prince was tragically stabbed as he tried to break up a fight outside his school in North London. At just 15-years-old, his dreams of becoming a professional footballer were cruelly taken away from him.
Playing for the QPR youth team, Kiyan, described as an outgoing and well-loved young man, was a promising young footballer that had the world at his feet but sadly, while intervening to prevent the bullying of another person, knife crime took his life.
To mark the 15 year anniversary of his death, EA Sports have paid tribute to the talented youngster by making him the world's first virtual player in FIFA. He now fulfils his childhood dream by returning to life as the professional footballer he should have been.
EA developers have worked closely with Kiyan's family, friends, former teammates and coaches to integrate him into the game. From ageing his appearance using images from his teen years, to developing his on-pitch characteristics and style of play, all based on speaking to those closest to him.
Kiyan has been developed as the superstar he would have been using advanced AI technology and photo-real illustration.
15 years ago today, Kiyan Prince lost his life.- EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) May 18, 2021
Today, we honour his legacy and the player he was destined to become.
Introducing @QPR's new number 30 @TheKPF @EFL #LONGLIVETHEPRINCE pic.twitter.com/tlVHu7JDt0
Ollie Wood-Smith, who is the Data Collection and Licensing Producer at EA Sports, says creating a player he had personally never seen play before was a unique challenge.
"Normally when creating a player to add to the game, there is plenty of online data and match footage for us to review, but it was totally different for Kiyan," he told SPORTbible.
"There was also the fact that Kiyan in-game is 30-years-old and at the peak of his career, so we had to create him as we'd envisage him now rather than purely how he looked and played as a youngster.
"There is so much data to compile for an in-game player including but certainly not limited to things like height, preferred foot, traits, body type and over 30 different attributes.
"The involvement of Kiyan's family and friends was vital as we went through and discussed every single data field one-by-one to make sure no stone was left unturned and that he will look and play like he should in-game."
Fans across the globe can now play as Kiyan in-game - something that Kyan's father, Dr Mark Prince OBE, hopes can be an inspiration to vulnerable young people.
"I want my son to be remembered not for the tragedy of his death but for the triumph of his achievements," he says.
"Through this campaign, my hope is that the world finally gets to glimpse Kiyan's incredible potential fulfilled. We get to honour his talent. And, hopefully, we can inspire other kids to honour their own talent too - whatever their own strengths might be."
"I could see Kiyan in there"
15 years after talented footballer Kiyan Prince was stabbed to death, his father Mark Prince tells #BBCBreakfast it's very emotional to see his son as a character in this year's FIFA computer game. pic.twitter.com/cObONwzSzb
- BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) May 18, 2021
In early 2007, following the tragedy of his son's death, Mark Prince created The Kiyan Prince Foundation; an organization that is committed to using Kiyan's legacy to combat knife crime and other forms of youth violence.
The Foundation's work has seen Kiyan's father honoured with an OBE and in 2019, QPR renamed their ground the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
In fact, the Championship club have honoured their former academy player by giving him the number 30 shirt for the 2021/22 campaign, acknowledging the age he would have been if he were alive today.
Kiyan Prince will be given the number :three::zero: shirt for our 2021/22 season.
The age he would have been :blue_heart:#QPR ' #LongLiveThePrince
- QPR FC (@QPR) May 18, 2021
Kiyan Prince will be available in Kick-Off Mode and Career Mode in FIFA 21 from 18th May on PC and from 19th May on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X'S and Xbox One consoles.
Within FIFA Ultimate Team, from May 18th players can access custom Kiyan Prince vanity items through the completion of in-game objectives, including a Kiyan Prince Foundation Kit inspired by the 04/05 QPR home kit, and an honorary TIFO of Kiyan that appears every time a goal is scored.
All brands involved in the campaign, including EA, Adidas and Topps Cards are donating money to the Kiyan Prince Foundation for licensing the likeness.
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