Football Manager and its forebears have long dominated the management sim landscape, and that dominance is showing no signs of slipping. According to developers Sports Interactive, the 2008 version sold in excess of 1 million copies having spent more than 20 weeks at the top of the UK PC games chart.
Studio head Miles Jacobson took the wraps off the latest annual installment yesterday, with the biggest change being a new 3D match system for the PC and Mac versions of the game. The team has worked on the engine for close to three years and was able to incorporate it into this year's version with help from Sega Japan's Virtua Striker team. Traditionalists need not worry though: The 2D view and highlights mode are still available for those who want them. Other updates include the obligatory updated player and team information, as well as widescreen support and the addition of press conferences.
Jacobson said the team has included about 100 new features in FM 2009, with 50 to 60 yet to be revealed. Football Manager is now available in 17 languages, and while the UK market still represents 45 percent to 50 percent of sales, the game's community is growing in such markets as France, Scandinavia, Spain, and Czech Republic. While there are no new leagues included this year, due to a lack of available researchers (Football Manager currently has 1,500 researchers), players should kept busy with the 51 countries, 5,000 clubs, and more than 350,000 players and staff represented in FM 2009.
While its big brother moves to 3D, Football Manager Handheld 2009 will see the addition of a new 2D match engine for the PSP. Fans that were holding out for a new Xbox 360 update, or indeed a PlayStation 3 debut this year, will have to wait. According to Jacobson, the team is taking "a year off from Xbox 360," citing a "crap" control system as his chief complaint, echoing his comments to GameSpot when explaining the delay to the 2008 edition.
Football Manager 2009 and Football Manager Handheld 2009 will launch on November 14. For more on the franchise read GameSpot's review of Football Manager 2008.