The real-life football season is well under way, which means that we’ve already had plenty of time to build some ire and awe at the goings on. Would you have put up with Rooney’s shenanigans, or would you have packed him off to Madrid sooner than you could say ‘octogenarian escort lady’? And if you had limitless funds, would you really be so obvious as to play three defensive midfielders every time you went up against anyone half-decent?
We spoke to Miles Jacobson, Sports Interactive Studio Director, about what to expect once the game steps onto the pitch for tomorrow’s kick-off.
bit-tech:So what are the headline inclusions for Football Manager 2011?
Miles Jacobson: It depends who you are and how you play the game. We’ve had a complete re-vamp of training inside the game, including a whole new thing called Match Preparation. That came about by us going to training sessions inside football clubs; seeing how they do it.
You can now focus on certain things before matches, from defensive awareness to team bonding
Everything we do is steered by things in real life. Another example of that is agents. When you’re negotiating contracts now, if a player has an agent, you’ll be negotiating with the agent. And it’s not just a case of [us] changing some text on the screen and having the same system, we’ve got a different contract negotiation system now, whereby you are in a room, sitting down with the agent. There’s more back and forth.
Again, that’s come about because a bunch of agents play the game. They called us up: ‘Can we help you?’ Yeah, sure, great.
BT:For 12.5 per cent?
MJ: No – this is weird - for absolutely nothing! No agents have demanded payment for their help in this computer game, and we haven’t harmed any of them either!
There will be different types of agent in the game, ranging from nice chaps to extremely ruthless ones. The new back-and-forth interaction system has also been used for private chats with players – a huge improvement over previous games’ tendency to communicate with players via press releases – and board negotiations. It works like a more refined version of the press conferences of previous years. Press conferences themselves have seen an extra 100 questions added, and the previous 500 questions tweaked to read better.
The new Set Piece Creator is more intuitive than the drop-down menus of old
We’ve also changed the way that news works inside the game, so everything’s on one screen, and it’s a lot more configurable, so that people can get as much or as little news as they want to.
We’ve added dynamic league reputation into the game too, so if you’re doing really well in the Northern Irish league, the reputation of the league will go up, the prize money will go up, you will be able to attract better players.
BT:What about graphical improvements?
MJ: [We’ve] improved the graphics in the match engine – there’s over 100 new animations. All the old animations have been improved and player emotions [mean] you see them get upset if they make stupid mistake. There’s also better player models, better crowd models, better stadium models – it’s a proper re-visit and re-vamp, with lots of new stuff as well.
We’ve improved and added a load of extra things to the Match Analysis system too, so you can now see where all the throw-ins and corners have been taken during the game. There’s also a new heatmap system so you can actually see where each individual player has moved throughout the whole game. If you need them pushing forwards you can give them instructions to do so.