This past week was a big one for fans of Football Manager, a documentary on the game was released in select cinemas across the UK, a release date was confirmed (November 7th for those who didn’t read the title of the post) and a massive amount of new features and improvements have been revealed. Good times indeed.
If I am honest, everything you need to know is in that half-hour video from Sports Interactive head-honcho Miles Jacobson, but there are a few of the changes and new features that I want to quickly talk about.
I’ll cover the ‘boring’ stuff first with the new, and much improved, user interface. The game has come a long way since my entry to the series with Championship Manager 3, none more so than the interface. Over the years it has reflected changes in how people use computers, and this year is no exception with perhaps the biggest shake-up in recent editions. The main menu bar has been moved off the top row and now sits in the left hand channel. It is a manner which makes me think of the current WordPress admin areas, and that is a compliment.
Another key aspect that grabs my eye is the change to how you search. You no longer need to find the search button and enter text in another box, now you will be able to start typing in the bar which tells you what screen you are currently on. Think of how modern web browsers like Chrome work and you will have an idea.
The next big change for me is the introduction of managerial styles. This goes hand-in-hand with smaller tweaks to you as a manager where you can now choose more than one favourite club along with different languages to speak. The main change really starts to push the game into RPG territory as you can decide what kind of manager you are. Do you spend your day on the training ground developing your players, or are you an office-boss who is a great man manager? I’m going to have to think long and hard about what style I go for, but the ability to further develop skills through coaching badges and qualifications is another great addition.
One last thing to mention about yourself as a manager – I really like the idea of having in-depth interviews for new jobs. It ties in nicely with the managerial style, and should prove to be a great bit of fun when you try to explain away a relegation from the Premiership with a top club (Man City or Liverpool perhaps?).
How you scout for, and search for players has been radically overhauled and, what was once two entirely separate entities have been brought together. Rather than opening the search portal and entering different positions and playing styles, you can now ask your scouting team to find that type of player. As you develop your knowledge of a player, you will see their abilities as a range before ultimately finding out their fixed attribute. It is a small tweak, but one that makes infinite sense. The scout report overview as seen above follows recent trends in UI design with a much more visually interesting breakdown of player pros and cons.
Elsewhere there are changes to the 3D match engine, but personally these don’t interest me greatly. I will though appreciate a broader variety in stadium designs.
Media interaction is being developed further, you will see a noticeable difference between tabloid and broadsheet journalists, and you might even see pre-match tunnel interviews for the really big games.
The final in-game change I want to quickly touch on is the promise of improved financial management from the board and an ever increased focus on the commercial side of the game. That was always something I paid close attention to when playing as The New Saints, and I full support Sports Interactive diving into more detail on the back room business of football.
Sports Interactive are getting involved with the Movember Foundation and you might see players start to sport a moustache during November.
Another big-addition which doesn’t directly affect how you play the game is in-built Twitch streaming. I’m not sure how many people will be interested in watching others play the game, but I’m not a big Twitch user, so I wait to be proved wrong.
There is more that I haven’t touched on (training and tactics for example), but check out the video from Miles for all the details. It is looking like the game is taking a big leap forward, bring on November I say.