Sega and Modern Dream have managed to sustain the mildly-amused goodwill of the gaming public in the month since Typing of the Dead’s release via downloadable dictionary updates, in much the same way a dancing rodent might confound its grinning audience for minutes on end with a succession of funny hats.
First Overkill took a turn for the Jacobean with the £2 Shakespeare wordset, and now it’s further secured its reputation for cheap, filthy fun with a Football Manager equivalent.
Football Manager 14 offers the most comprehensive simulation of the if-not-beautiful-then-quite-pretty game we’re ever likely to know. Even EA have been forced to admit defeat, retiring the FIFA Manager series earlier this week.
But it’s not quite a true simulation. It turns out there are elements of real football that Miles Jacobson and his team at Sports Interactive would rather forget.
There are two countries in which football management games bewilder the rest of the globe by selling like billyo: England and Germany. It’s the latter where FIFA Manager developers Bright Future reside, but even there they’ve been forced to watch year after year as that other FM claimed hearts and shelf space in their stead.
FIFA Manager was an EA series, so it doesn’t get to be on Steam. Perhaps that’s a small mercy - the numbers would not have been kind. That’s why EA Sports have announced that FIFA Manager 2014 will be the last installment in the subseries.
Our Spotlight units plug content our journalists have made, that our advertisers want to promote. Sometimes the promotion is paid for, but the content they go to is always independent with no client oversight or approval.
Battlefield 4 was a boxed PC game that came out last week. But despite levelution, despite umpteen trailers, it was ultimately no match for the quiet landslide that happens when the latest iteration of Football Manager hits shelves in the United Kingdom, where people famously quite like football.
Today was the big kick-off day for football managers across the country. Yet for some of those budding managers, their day was ruined. Not by players being rained off the pitch or the ball being improperly inflated, but by technical issues marring the activation process of Football Manager 2014 on Steam.
Some players’ beta failed to update to full retail release, whilst others failed to be supplied with a retail release code altogether. Another group of players were region locked out of the game. It’s another ‘launch disaster’ for 2013, but don’t fret too much. Sports Interactive are aware of all the issues and are working hard on getting them fixed. SI team members have been addressing forum users all day, and hopefully resolutions are on their way.
We investigated a little ourselves, and have the fullest picture we could paint for you.
If you’re a budding manager of all things football, you no doubt already have this year’s iteration of Football Manager on pre-order from an outlet of your choice. The good news today is that if you did indeed pre-order, then from right this second you can be bossing around players and buying news one in the beta version of Football Manager 2014.
Here’s something we could all do over the weekend: build an intricate web of ever-changing statistics modelled on real-world systems, and then transpose them back into something that, to a casual observer, looks an awful lot like real-world people at work.
Don’t feel up to it? Thought not. Thankfully, Sports Interactive have the time and the wherewithal to build something just like that: the 3D match engine for Football Manager 2014. Here it is in action.
Sports Interactive have done “a load of work" in smartening up their Football Manager data editor for Steam Workshop this year. Its tools will be both easier to use and more extensive than in previous iterations.
Sports Interactive director Miles Jacobson has revisited the sheet on which he’d penciled down FM 2014’s potential release date to go over it in permanent marker. Nearby employees were heard to gasp at his recklessness.
“I get so many requests for the release date on Twitter," he said, “but we’ll only ever announce a date when we’re sure we’re going to hit it."
I have a theory: that at least part of the reason for Football Manager 2013’s formidable concurrent player total is that, given a cursory glance by a passing boss, it looks a lot like work. For a majority of its playtime, FM13 is graphs, calendars and email inboxes - the data may be fictional, but needs to be sorted and sifted all the same. It is the ideal SFW game.
Sports Interactive, for their part, have to be pretend Google. Pretend Analytics, pretend Calendar, pretend Gmail. The following two videos detail the vast number of usability tweaks coming to the series in its next iteration.
If you’re a manager at one of the country's top football clubs, then your email client is pretty important. It’s likely to be crammed each day with transfer news, questions from the press, and notes from physio that your star player won’t be able to make the next game for fear that his knee will collapse. Navigating all those emails needs to be seamless, so Sports Interactive have rethought Football Manager’s inbox to make the job less taxing. Check the streamlined UI out in a new trailer.
Football Manager 2014 is coming to Linux! Hooray! And that’s in the properly interconnected, Steam-enabled sense of the phrase.
“People are trying to get their heads around this a little bit," Sports Interactive’s Miles Jacobson told PCGN. “That if you buy the Linux version, if you have a Linux desktop at home, a Windows laptop and a Mac at work, you buy it once, and you can upload your save game to the cloud to be able to just carry on your save game wherever you are."
There’s still one place Football Manager isn’t, though: Windows RT. And there’s a very good reason for that.
Football Manager 2013 was Sports Interactive’s big push to accommodate a neglected yet growing part of their audience: the no-longer-young men without the luxury of managing their squads through the wee hours like they used to. For them, SI built Football Manager Classic - a liposuctioned remix of the full-fat FM experience - and in-game microtransactions that would allow players a shortcut when faced with a long grind toward promotion.
SI head Miles Jacobson told us that the latter in particular have proven to be spectacularly popular.
My favourite jumper and a packet of a polos for your top player. That’s the sort of unrealistic transfer request you won’t be finding in the next Football Manager. Instead, expect ‘real world’ combinations of cash and loans, sub bench appearance fees and a new system to turn those those turn-based negotiations ‘live’.
Of course, you’ll still be able to trade players through the old “tried and tested" method if you like. That’s the game Sports Interactive are pitching for 2014: more sophisticated than ever, but mindful of its past.
Visit the Steam stats page on any given Friday (or indeed Sunday, or Monday) and you’ll see Football Manager holding its own in the upper echelons of the most-played list. Today it’s the third-most played game on the service, boasting 58,733 players at its peak.
Also today, Sega revealed their financial results and confirmed what we’ve suspected for a while: FM13 has sold by the bucketload. And that Aliens: Colonial Marines has made a much bigger splash than it deserves.
Gosh, here’s me approaching a bank holiday Monday with the concerned frown befitting a Slow News Day, and it turns out to be nothing of the sort. In fact several major developers have, by calamitous coincidence, made sweeping announcements over the course of the morning that will likely change the landscape of PC gaming beyond recognition. Positively seismic, they are! We can barely keep up, so have taken the liberty of arranging the many announcements here for your delectation.
I've been plugging away at this experiment in playing on in-game day of Football Manager 2012 for each day of real life. It's now finished, and available as an ebook.
Check it out for an in-depth exploration of the nature and appeal of football management simulations.
An entry has appeared in the Steam database that confirms that Football Manager 2014 is on its way, ending absolutely no speculation about the future of the enormously successful management series. We can also confirm that the world is still spinning and we expect the sun to rise tomorrow morning, though the celestial body was not available for comment.