After a change of developer it was a tough start for Beautiful Game Studios' Championship Manager games, but the developer is confident it can return veteran footy management sim to its former glory, with the latest and greatest 2007 edition which sports faster gameplay, thousands of players and a new, powerful match analysis tool sponsored by Pro Zone - the tool real managers use to plan their game.
We spoke to producer Luke Didd about the next season.
What goals did you have with the 2007 version of Championship Manager and what did you want to clean up from 2006?
Luke Didd: The first thing we really wanted to clean-up was the core gameplay so we could make sure the transfers, the match engine and the overall gaming experience was improved significantly. We feel that we've achieved that for this version and again now you find that people are buying the right sort of players for the right sort of money and the match engine generally plays a much better game of football - players are much more aware of everyone on the pitch and can make passes and so on.
Beyond that we wanted to improve the appearance of the game - that's one of the things we were criticised on so we got new skins. And we wanted new content that hadn't been seen before. Although Team Talk was a new feature we wanted to take it a bit further so you can make tactical players more accessible.
The match analysis tool really increases the depth of the game, really allows you to analyse every bit of action that goes on on the pitch.
And the good thing with that tool is if you notice that your defender is giving the ball away for example, by using the tool you can analyse that and work out ways to make that not happen.
Things you can do with the tool are training, different passing instructions and so on. So they are the things increasing the depth of our game, making sure what we have is good, including match engine and the transfer side and then making sure that we're challenging our rivals in management.
Can you tell us how the Pro Zone deal came about for your Match Analysis Tool?
LD: How it came about was quite weird. When we released CM5 unfortunately the match engine took a bit of criticism so one of the things we wanted to do was really understand our match engine and how it worked.
So we actually developed a debug tool that allowed us to see why passes weren't going where they should be, why shots weren't hitting the target and why generally things weren't happening.
We were looking at that and obviously it became more apparent over the past few years that there was actually a tool out there that managers were using, so we decided to basically enhance that tool in to a sellable feature, give a lot more options.
It does help to have Mervin who can really help us to enhance the tool so we can capture what real managers would do with a tool and make sure that the tool that we've produced gives you that essence of what a real manager would expect to see.
How has the community factored into your plans for CM2007?
LD: Obviously we've got the forums up and we've now got approaching 100,000 members. Generally what we do when we develop any of our games is listen to complaints and we also listen to the things that people like. We listen to suggestions that we're given; obviously we're given some very bizarre suggestions and also some very good ones too and we try to implement them into the game.