The Football Manager series is well known as a simulation of real world football, not a full blown RPG, but FM21 coming out this November will come with a heap of new features, including one that will go some small step towards letting you live out your Crusader Kings come Football Manager dreams.
It all comes down to interactions with players, press and anyone else who comes knocking on your door. Since press conferences and chats with players were first introduced to the series, they have been bland affairs. Yes, there have been options to decide on your tone of voice which contextually changed the things you can say, but that’s been about it.
These interactions are getting an overhaul for the new game, all led on with the new gesture system. These replace the tone of voice options and will allow you to dig into your personality. The Sports Interactive blog highlights some of these options, with the ability to literally throw a bottle across the dressing room at half-time particularly appealing for those who want to embody Jose Mourinho.
While you will be able to make use of gestures in private chats with your players or in team talks, press conferences will be where you can make your mark. The visual structure of these media events has been totally revamped and they now take place in a press room where you can gauge the atmosphere in the room and see how the various journalists perceive you. Smile at them or point your finger at them, you’re sure to really see the dynamics change with your media dealings.
You can’t expect FM21 to go full Crusader Kings and become a world full of treason, murder and horrible diseases, but the gestures look to go a long way to adding a dash of personality to proceedings. I’m sure you can play into the villain role by storming out of press conferences and throwing water bottles around, but you’ll still have to get the job done out on the pitch to keep in the good graces of the board.
As someone who in recent years has tended to respond to press conferences without too much thought, I have to say I’m delighted to see this part of the game receive some much needed TLC. There’s plenty more that Sports Interactive have already revealed about FM21, with the revamped end of season reviews always piquing my interest. If you prefer to keep tabs on the latest FM21 reveals through the socials, Sports Interactive head honcho Mile Jacobson will be revealing tidbits quite regularly on his Twitter.
It’s worth mentioning that Sports Interactive aren’t putting their heads totally in the sand with regards to Covid-19. Miles has written a detailed post about how FM21 will handle the pandemic, but the approach Sports Interactive are taking is best surmised in Miles’ own words “trying to be Covid free, whilst not completely ripping up the real football world”. It means that Covid-19 won’t appear as an illness in-game and fans will appear in stadiums from the start, but club finances at the start of a new game will reflect the impact that Covid-19 has wrought on football which will lead to a slightly different feeling few transfer windows until in-game budgets return to normal.
Having to decide how to approach something like Covid-19 in a game like this can’t have been easy on Miles and the team at Sports Interactive, and I have no doubt that some people won’t be happy with the approach being taken. Personally, it sounds like FM21 will strike a fine balance between realism and escapism. And that’s all I could have asked for.
Football Manager 21 is out November 24th with a two-week Beta period for those who pre-order via Steam or Epic.