While much of the buzz in the football management sim world of late has centred around next year's release of the massively multiplayer online game Football Manager Live, Sports Interactive and Sega haven't forgotten about the venerable offline version.
At a presentation in London for the release of Football Manager 08, Sports Interactive's managing director, Miles Jacobson, showed off the finished code of the title for the first time, giving the gathered press a glimpse of some of the 150-odd features that have made it into the franchise.
Jacobson explained that after extensive usability testing, the most significant changes and the majority of the development work this year has been with the aim of improving the look and feel of the game, to both open the game up to new players and make it a richer experience for old hands. This includes in-game assistants to help new players settle in.
The game features individual data and statistics gathered by a small army of researchers on about 300,000 players and coaches, and the development team is so confident that its database is accurate that it is releasing a list next week of 20 almost unheard-of youngsters it tips for success.
According to Sports Interactive, advice has also come from within the footballing world on how to make the game a more accurate experience. Following feedback from agents, win bonuses are now generally set by squad rather than by player, and feedback from Football League chairmen ensured that the ability to spread transfer-fee payments over time have been included.
Jacobson also confirmed that the game went into production yesterday--though the departure of John Gregory from QPR nearly pushed the release back--and is on track for release across Europe on Mac and PC on October 19. And, last but not least, an Xbox 360 version of the game has been announced, with no details as yet, other than it is due sometime next year.