At the centre of today’s FM 2013 blowout was a singularity, an unknown quantity amongst iterative improvements. It’s called Classic Mode, and it’s designed to let you play a full season - lean, but satisfying - in eight to ten hours. It’s also to have entirely optional paid-for unlocks, to smooth out progress for those who want it. SI boss Miles Jacobson tells us: “It’s basically allowing people to define the way they want to play the game”.
Jacobson draws comparison with Angry Birds’ Golden Eagle - the paid-for level skip button - or the option to buy coins required to build another floor in Tiny Tower.
“As an example, I was playing the game last night, playing as my Watford team and we’ve got a not bad transfer budget considering the league that we’re in, but the kinds of players I want to buy are players that are going to be good enough for the Premier League,” he explains.
“So I tend to be looking for younger players that I can mould. They are, as they are in real life, a lot more expensive now than maybe they were a few years ago, and a lot of the players I was looking at were Brazilian or Argentinian.
“Now, they don’t have international caps, they’re players who don’t have second passports or second nationalities, and I was getting refused work permits, and then a little button was there on the screen for ‘Remove Work Permit Need.’ Now, if I’m able to press that, and pay my 70p or 99p or however much they end up being, to get rid of work permits and be able to get the players that I want to for my Watford team to get us in a push for promotion, then that’s something that I might do.”
The emphasis here is firmly clamped around the word ‘optional’. Jacobson tells us that it’s merely a case of “allowing people to do that stuff should they want to”.
“If they want it to remain real-world, to not have that stuff taken out, then fine, it doesn’t have to be. But if you want to take it really far, you’re managing a lower league team in Scotland and you want Lionel Messi to sign, you can do that as well with the system that we’ve got set up.”
Paid unlocks will only be a feature in Classic Mode - if you’re sticking to full-fat FM, you won’t be bothered by prompts to remove speed bumps. Rather, you’ll be free to struggle with work permits and taxes just as the pros do.
So: how will the presence of the occasional 99p button on the UI affect your FM experience, do you think?