Every year we come back to Football Manager for more, and not just because Nicolas Anelka simply has to be playing for Juventus (although updated transfers are a big part of it). No, we come back for the continued updates Sports Interactive applies to our beloved football management sim.
Improved match centre, agents, training, scouting; Football Manager 2013’s new features were so abundant, Miles Jacobs had to announce them in a series of YouTube videos.
Of course, with the franchise’s continued growth – it’s not only the top football game on PC, but one of the top PC games period – you can expect the furore surrounding 2014’s release to be just as big as the last, if not bigger. With that in mind, here are some improvements and additions we want to see in Football Manager 2014, from the Premier League and beyond.
Media management is such an integral part of football management; to exclude it would be foolish. So when Sigames introduced the dynamic in 2009, fans were excited. Unfortunately, year-by-year, they have become increasingly repetitive, with the same questions and answers popping up at relative points in the season.
It’s a difficult thing to get right, as the psychological intricacies of the human mind can’t be conveyed within the mechanical confines of a video game. But simply varying the questions/answers, adding some more and rewording the existing ones might make it a more enjoyable part of the game. And we all know our assistant manager will say something stupid if we leave him to it!
Customisable Classic Mode
Classic mode was a brave and necessary addition. Sigames have recognised that their primary fan base is getting older (and maybe even more mature). They simply don’t have time to delve into a new career. Classic mode remedied that, making it possible to get that winning feeling while functioning as a normal human being should: eating, sleeping, socialising etc.
For me, though, classic mode was too fat free. It was devastating for me to discover how limited staff acquisitions were; scouting players, unearthing hidden gems and filtering out the bargain of the century is what I look for in Football Manager. Perhaps a compromise is in order. Being able to select from training, scouting, interaction and finances – to name but a few – would make classic mode a more customisable experience, and a more rewarding one as a result.
There’s nothing more infuriating than your hugely talented winger ruining attack after attack with a wild long shot. No, Shaun Maloney, we won’t stay up if you take a chance from 30 yards, 90% of the time. I recall a match: my team had 26 shots, one on target, and 23 long shots. This will not do. And I don’t care if “shoots from distance” is in your ‘preferred moves’.
“Lower his creativity, limit long shots to ‘never’”, you may trill, but needless to say, I did all that. Granted, it takes time to mould your players into the possession hogging, patient pythons of European football that you want them to be, but greater control over long shots is a must. If the option was there to have a chat with Maloney (on loan from Wigan and duly released) I would have, and it would have been a long, earnest chat.
Player Behaviour – playing it off an opponent for a corner
This might be a problem with the match engine, I’m not a techie, but a player attempting to win a corner by kicking the ball against an opponent happens too often. It’s ridiculous.
Sure, I’ve seen it in real life – perhaps three or four times over a season, but it happens with that frequency in one game of FM. If I were Pep Guardiola (God I wish I was Pep Guardiola) I’d simply tell my players to stop doing it. “Pass infield, set pieces aren’t our strong point,” I’d say.
Football Manager is still top of the class, and won’t be beaten for a long time, if ever. The sheer depth is engrossing, as I and many other fans can attest. Sigames promised ‘the best game they’ve ever made,’ and a ‘genre defying experience’ with Football Manager 2013. Problem is, they’ve got to do it all again with 2014, hopefully with the improvements suggested above.
Either way, I’ll be saying goodbye to my meticulously crafted squad of 26 – currently enjoying a relaxing pre-season in the hills of Tuscany as Fiorentina are next – and starting it all again come wintertime when the next instalment of this gaming juggernaut is unleashed.
Have you got any suggestions for Football Manager 2014? Are you itching for the woman’s leagues to be added? Perhaps you want greater control over stadia and finances? Let us know in the comments section below.