Championship Manager moves to April kickoff

Next version of the football management simulator in development, set for 2009 release.

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The virtual football season may be well under way, with Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA battling it out in the game charts, but the battle to be top manager hasn't yet begun. Sports Interactive's Football Manager 2009 is set for a UK release on November 14--and today the launch plans for one of its major competitors, Beautiful Game Studios' Championship Manager 2009, were announced.

The new engine in all its current glory.
The new engine in all its current glory.

Roy Meredith, general manager of the Championship Manager franchise, told The GameSpot UK Podcast that the game would be in shops during April 2009. "I think it's fair to say we needed to make a lot of changes," said Meredith, "and get back to a lot of the fundamentals of what Champ Man was about." The development team, he added, was set to spend 100 percent more time and resources on completing this version than on previous Championship Manager games.

The 2009 game will feature a 3D match engine for the first time--using motion-captured movements to provide more than 500 animations per player. Meredith said that different camera angles would be available but wouldn't be drawn on whether a manager-style touchline view was possible.

Many of the game's new features, including the addition of the Home Leagues of Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, and Wales, were suggested by fans in the Championship Manager forums. "We have to listen to what people want," Meredith said.

Championship Manager fans wanting to try out the new-style action for themselves will be able to get a taste of the 2009 game in March, when a demo will be released. In the interim, you can check out the first screenshots for the game here.

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