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SI boss discusses Eidos split, says next Football Manager will be “less conservative”


It’s always awkward running into your ex, unless you’re Miles Jacobson, head of Sports Interactive, and your ex (in the metaphorical and business sense, rather than a romantic one) is Ian Livingstone, president of Eidos. The Football Manager developer split from Eidos almost a decade ago (leaving their ex-publishers with nothing but the series’ name at the time, Championship Manager), and neither party had spoken openly about the schism until yesterday’s GameHorizon conference, where the estranged pair sat down for an on-stage tête-à-tête. Edge has the story, in which a candid Jacobson reveals how their current publisher Sega penned them an offer on the back of a curry house napkin. Brilliant.

Explaining the reasons why he felt Sports Interactive should quit Eidos, Jacobson claimed, “At the time we felt there was a lack of respect from Eidos for the work that we did. There seemed to be an attitude at the time in the industry that anyone could make games. Eidos wanted more control. We wanted more control. We were asking for high royalties.”

Nine months before the release of Championship Manager 4, Eidos set up Beautiful Game Studios, the studio who would go on to replace Sports Interactive following their departure. “They told me that BGS were making a platform game,” says Jacobson. “I thought our number was up.”

Livingstone countered with the claim that Eidos were simply “preparing for the future, as there was a rumour Sports Interactive was looking to leave.”

Interestingly, Jacobson parts with an arcane reference to the direction the next Football Manager game is taking, suggesting that it will be “less conservative” in its design. Lessening conservatism wasn’t a big concern in our What We Want From Football Manager 2013 feature, but it’ll be interesting to see how it practically translates. More vigorous kicks, perhaps?
John Terry in a big frilly blouse?
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