Sports Interactive, the UK developer of the phenomenally successful Championship Manager series of soccer management games, today announced that it is working on a hockey management game for release next year. Eastside Hockey Manager: Franchise Edition is effectively a sequel to the original Eastside Hockey Manager, a freely downloadable game developed by a small team in Finland and released in 2000.
The latest shareware version was spotted by Sports Interactive's head of development, Marc Vaughan, who was so impressed with the efforts of designer Risto "Riz" Remes and his team that he started talking to them about ways they could work together. The result is that Riz now lives and works in England as a full-time employee of Sports Interactive, developing the Franchise Edition of EHM--which will benefit from the same technology that has helped the Championship Manager games dominate European sales charts with every new installment in the 10-year-old franchise.
"This is like a dream come true for me," Remes said. "When I decided to start work on the original Eastside Hockey Manager, I never thought I'd one day be working with the Sports Interactive team. They were the inspiration for our game; it's amazing to think we're now colleagues. We've been working closely with the key programmers from the CM titles and their expertise has really inspired us."
"For such a small team, the boys did a fantastic job with the original Eastside Hockey Manager--and our goal is to help them take their vision as far as possible," Vaughan said. "The Eastside Hockey project was a triumph of programming and research on a similar scale to the original Championship Manager game, which is why we were so keen to get involved. By using our expertise within the genre and Riz's unrivalled passion for the sport of ice hockey, we're confident Eastside Hockey Manager: Franchise Edition will quickly generate the same dedicated following as Championship Manager."
Eastside Hockey Manager: Franchise Edition will allow players to take charge of any one of hundreds of ice hockey teams throughout the world. The game is scheduled for release in 2003, although no publisher has been announced at this time.