The latest instalment of cult classic, Football Manager, hits our shelves on November 4th and it’s packed with a host of exciting new features. Sports Interactive’s Miles Jacobsen is pulling out all the stops to make it the most immersive managerial experience to date.
RealSport takes a look at some of the game’s new features.
Sports Interactive have promised a range of new feature for the match experience including new animations, improved AI decision-making and reactions, a new camera angle and enhanced visuals on and around the pitch.
Firstly, new for FM17, there will be a different camera angle. It’s called ‘behind goal low’ and, as described, it’s a low down camera angle set behind the goal so you can follow all the goal-mouth action.
From this angle, you’ll be able to closely monitor the trajectory of the ball from crosses and long-range efforts and have a good idea of how your team is maintaining their shape.
Graphics improvements have also been promised, including enhanced lighting and shadows, improvements to stadiums, including dynamic LED advertising boards, and even the grass.
There’s also 1500 new motion capture elements. For instance, goalkeepers can now execute more realistic reactive saves and players head the ball and shoot more intuitively, akin to reality. This also allows the players to move more fluidly than before and change direction quicker.
Other interesting features include better pre-match presentation, including pre-match handshakes, rule updates, such as the referee’s vanishing spray used on free kicks and the one-person kick-offs.
The match engine has also benefitted from a number of AI enhancements. For example, the number of decisions a player makes per second has doubled, meaning players are more aware of their situation and options and will consider these when deciding what to do with the ball. Thus, we’ll see more ‘real world’ split second decision-making, particularly with defenders and goalkeepers.
All this makes for a more accurate representation of reality, particularly when you take into account the improved AI managers, who will use player roles better than before. Don’t expect the game to be as easy as before.
Social Media & Inbox
To reflect the growing importance of social media in our daily lives, Sports Interactive have added a ‘social feed’ tab. It allows fans, managers, the media and competitions to share their latest news and express their views and opinions.
It’s part of a wider revamp of the news and inbox sections, and will be the home of fan opinion polls, reactions and transfer rumours. Posts will even contain video links to notable goals.
As a result of the new social feed, your inbox will subsequently no longer become clogged by these sorts of stories, keeping it strictly related to the important information, like injury reports, training reports and transfers.
As part of the inbox revamp, furthermore, you will now receive more information in the emails themselves, reducing the need to navigate away from the inbox when making a decision, like choosing a captain.
Your backroom staff now offer you more advice than ever through the inbox, including detailed advice on training, transfers and the development of your youth players, reflecting their increasing important in the real world.
Transfers & Contracts
Dealing with the transfer market is now more authentic than ever to replicate the situations that real life managers find themselves in, especially with the addition of pre-contract discussions with players who may not be that interested in joining you.
These will take place with either the player or his agent and allow you to set out how you expect them to fit in to the side, their goals for the duration of they stay or responsibilities you want them to adopt. It’s a chance to sell the player your club. Once agreed they’re set as promises you’re expected to keep.
Transfer sagas can now play out over a much longer period and other clubs are more astute and intelligent when choosing their targets or negotiating with you. You can keep up to date with all of this in the dedicated transfer window tab.
Also new is a third clause lock down option, meaning that you can agree to lock down a specific clause or bonus without locking down the value. There’s also a bunch of new transfer clauses to choose from.
You can now add your own face into the game onto your touchline manager avatar. All you need to do is upload a photo from your computer onto the game and add some guidance points. Let the technology do the rest.
There’s also more variety in appearance options and clothing choices. Due to growing popular demands, users can now change the colour of their avatar’s tie.
Backroom advice is now spread across the game instead of being concentrated all in one place. Relevant staff members provide contextual advice for the area of the game that you’re looking at.
For example, clicking on a player’s profile may bring up advice from a coach on the player’s training schedule. These may also appear on the tactics screen whilst adjusting your tactics.
Backroom advice also covers more content, such as how to deal with unhappy players. New staff are also added, like data analysts and sport scientists to reflect the development of the real world game. These data analysts will form part of your scouting team and sport scientists support your medical team to reduce the reoccurrences of injuries.
Players also begin to embark on their journey into coaching earlier in their careers if they so desire. Before reaching the latter stages of their careers, players may decide to gain their coaching badges if they’re thinking of staying in the game.
Scouting has also undergone some improvements to make the experience more realistic and to gain a fully rounded view of any potential signings.
Opposition reports have been redesigned to pack in more information on key players and their overall team ability in addition to key stats from the competition the match is part of. You can check their likely formations, playing styles and mentality.
Another new feature is that whilst scouting, you can request a highlights package of the player you are watching, which will display in a pop-up area.
Match analysis received a massive overhaul in FM16 as part of Sports Interactive’s partnership with Prozone (now rebranded to STATS), which has been continued by introducing several new types of match analysis.
You can see snapshots of at what moment games were won and lost on the ‘overview’ screen of the match analysis drop-down menu. This will also display team heat maps and pick out key statistical information to indicate the success or failure of your formation and tactics.
You can also now view where on the pitch possession was won and lost and where individual touches of the ball were made. There’re also new graphics for action zones and to highlight the focus of attacks during the match. Assists are also now a selectable category.
Attention to Detail
Press conferences have also been updated, allowing for more contextualised questions and other managers now have the ability to offer their two cents on your situation.
FM17 also adds a new layer of depth to player personalities, with more detailed information on their character. Determination and professionalism will, thus, have a larger bearing on their careers, in addition to adaptability affecting the likelihood of foreign players wanting to move abroad.
Players will also decline more gradually over time, reflective of the way this occurs in reality.
In FM17, the board now come to you more times than they have done in previous year’s games. They’re more dynamic and realistic to work closely with you, the manager. Some chairman will also seek your opinion on budgets and facilities after a takeover.
‘Sugar daddies’ –the owners that like to heavily invest in their club- are more realistic. They’re more strategic and advanced logically with which clubs they choose for investment and some can even invest in clubs, wipe off their debt and take profit over the long-term.
For those long-term savers, you can now view every player that has ever played for your club, and where they are now, on the club’s information screen.
Re-gen names now can feature double-barrelled surnames to reflect the trends in real football.
In line with their official FIFA recognition, Kosovo and Gibraltar have now been added to all international qualification groups in tournaments for which they’re eligible.
Lastly, as always all match rules, team and league data have been updated to take in account transfers in line with the new season.