It’s been a long year for us FM fans, many of us were left slightly underwhelmed by the evolution of the game between the 2012 and 13 versions and so nothing comes with more excitement than the next instalment, we wait with bated breath but so far there has been some new features published, some more exciting than others.
The big publicity ‘shout’ is that there are “More than 1,000 improvements and enhancements” but what does that really mean for the casual and veteran gamer?
Football Manager has always been played in very different ways by many different people but together we can all point to things that needed changing to make 2014 the best one yet, more accurate scouting, less in-game silly mistakes and unrealistic AI signings for example.
Only time will tell whether us FM aficionado’s will be satisfied with the next release but what we can be sure of is the next few weeks of excitement before we get our pale hits on it.
So far SI has released 10 ‘major’ changes set to come to the 2014 game, these are:
Available on Linux
Football Manager 2014 will be available on linux for the first time, though this makes no difference to me whatsoever, I’m sure this will open the game up to many and be a USP in its own right.
The new cloud save technology is a stroke of genius, though you are only talking about a small percentage of users who will use this feature to play on multiple computers, it’s a nice feature to show off. Will be interesting to see how this is policed, could I access the game at my friend’s house? If so how do SI know that its me playing it, not my friend?
Theres new Integration with the Steam Workshop which makes it easy for one to create and share customised content such as photo/logo packs, custom competitions, and custom challenges with the new Challenge Editor. Again, for me this isn’t a massive improvement as I wouldn’t use it but some will. I’m getting worried now though, I have been playing FM for over a decade and the 3 ‘flagship’ improvements that SI have made will not effect me in the slightest.
Realism on the transfer market
More realistic transfers and contracts – “yay!” – The revamped transfer module now includes and features a more realistic simulation for opposing clubs and managers when dealing with transfer offers. New transfer clauses have also been added, including the ability to loan a player back to the club he was just bought from. The old turn based transfer negotiation system has been revamped to a new live system. I love the sound of the ‘live’ system’ though judgement will have to wait.
A massively Improved UI – A new and major re-hash and redesign of the FM 2014 interface is coming, this includes all the key areas of the game, overview, transfers and scouting pages. Also the language in the game has been updated to more closely reflect the language of real world football.
Match engine updates
Improved match engine – Improvements in the 3D match engine including enhanced AI, better lighting and player animation, more realistic player reactions to in-game events, and many more improvements. This comes every year but always seems to not be quite enough, will have to wait and see I guess.
Redesigned tactics – I have been campaigning for a much more flexible tactics system involving ‘drag and drop’ formations. There has been no word on that but they do claim to have completely redesigned the tactics system to include much more personable and customisable facets.
More realistic and dynamic board interaction – Contract negotiations are more realistic with new added features like how managers and boards can now make demands a reveal their visions for the club in both the initial job interviews and contract renewal discussions. Managers may renegotiate a transfer and wage budgets to hopefully keep players loyal who have been offered another job. This is one thing we have been talking about for months and are glad to see SI have listened to the fans of the game.
News system overhaul – Managers can now respond to club matters right from their inbox. Also, news will now be colour-coded and include more detail. I’m not sure this was needed, perhaps it will help with the news that we actually care about but after a season or two you train your eyes to pick out the 1 email out of 100 you get that day that actually interests you, we always skip 99% of the messages anyway, this will just make it easier to ignore the ‘spam’ and IMO the time could have been spent elsewhere.
FM Classic Evolution
Evolution of Football Manager Classic – In addition to the new ability to choose more than three playable nations in Classic mode, there is a new Fast Play mode with Transfer Deadline Day, a Match Plan wizard and new unlockables.
Though the features that have been released so far are only 1% of the actual enhancements it does worry me that the above are the ‘flagship’ changes that SI are using to promote the game and to drive sales. What you can forgive them for though is the above are certainly targeted at the more casual gamer, so we can’t fully expect to see what changes will be under the bonnet of the game when its available to play in the next 2-3 weeks.
As an avid FM fan I would have loved to have seen the ten flagship features released by SI to have been:
1. Match engine improvements
2. Massively increased scouting accuracy
3. 100% customisable formations and tactics
4. Increased youth development options – more youngsters (8-16years old) from the off would negate boredom long-term because of regenerated players taking over
5. In-game manager earning investments
6. Training transparency, increased options and player benchmarking.
7. More realistic transfers and contracts
8. Increased scout communication/opinion on scouted players traits/ability to blend in – rather than just a star rating and a few lines
9. Team talk overhaul – at the moment its just another monotonous click before you get to the action.
10. More realistic board interaction.
Maybe these are all in the game, maybe it will be the best one yet, maybe I will go back to playing FM 2012, only time will tell but until then lets hope Football Manager 2014 is the best one yet!