I love this time of the year, the football season has just kicked off again, the roads are still quiet in the morning because all the kids are on holiday, oh and a new Football Manager title is announced. Following on with the usual numbering system Sports Interactive have announced that they expect Football Manager 2012 to be available before this Christmas.
For a game so stat heavy, it is only right that I pick out some choice numbers from the press release to share with you. The Football Manager series has sold over seven million copies with a cumulative 108 weeks at the top of the UK charts. It is promised that there will be over 800 new features in the upcoming version of the game which will include more than 50 playable leagues.
Sports Interactive have kindly provided a summary of a small number of those new features:
“Transfers & Contracts – significant changes to the transfer and contract systems, including loyalty bonuses, better implementation of amateur and youth contracts, an improved transfer centre and the ability to lock areas of the contract negotiation when you aren’t prepared to budge. This helps you to manage your budgets and gives you flexibility in what you offer money hungry players, or agents, as incentives.
Scouting improvements – using several real life scouting reports, a new in-game report has been devised which includes squad analysis, tactics information and information about goals scored and conceded alongside lots of other scouting improvements, giving you all the information you need to prepare before kick-off and throughout the season.
3D Match Improvements – new animations, a whole new crowd system, improved weather system, more stadiums, plus two brand new cameras – “Behind Goal” and “Director Cam” as well as all other camera angles being reversible – meaning you can watch and analyse every aspect of every game.
Manage Anywhere, Anytime – the ability to add or take away playable nations in your saved game as often as you want. Manage in that country at the start of the next season- meaning you don’t have to stay in the nations which are chosen by you to be playable at the start of your career.
Tone – a whole new level has been added to team talks and conversations, with the new tone system, which allows you to specify the way you want to say things – be as cool as a cucumber by saying things calmly or throw tea cups around by saying things with passion. There are 6 different tones to choose from with specific comments per tone.
Intelligent Interface – a new adaptive layout system, which means the higher your screen resolution, the more info is easily at your fingertips. The new interface also contains new filters, customisable columns, a new tactics screen, and lots of new overview screens.
Brand New Tutorial – standing separate from the main game, a mode to help new players find their way around the game easily, whilst also offering tips to experienced managers on how to get the most out of the game, as well as a new in-game “how to” system.”
The following video shows off the new interface system:
While that does look a bit funky, and very much a sign of how this truly is a PC series, it is the ability to add new leagues to a save game which really grabs my attention. In last years edition of the game I found a great deal of satisfaction from playing in some leagues which I don’t normally try my hand at, but to do that, I had to plan before I started a new game what countries I would be able to play in. With the option to add or remove nations on the fly, I will now be able to hop from managing in Wales to managing in Australia then Iceland at the drop of a hat without worrying that I didn’t select those nations at the start of the game.
Of course, the addition of an entirely separate game mode for the Tutorial is a smart move, as long as it is included in the demo, it is something which will really open the game up to a new audience. I have one wish though for what I want to see included in a future Football Manager game, something I doubt we will see, but it would be great if there was a challenge mode. I seem to remember something like this from LMA Manager on the PSX where you would take over a club at a certain point in the season and be tasked with avoiding relegation or securing continental qualification. Something like that would really push the series on.