Football Manager 2012: 'Our competition is ourselves'

SI boss Miles Jacobson talks revolutionary new features and Football Manager in the future...

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So there's a lot in there from a revolution side but the evolution is very important as well. We've got 800 changes in there, not including the changes we've made to rule groups. That's pretty much double what we had last year, which was already double what we had the year before. So I think it shows something about our production practices at the studio and new production practices that we put in after FM 2009 have been working quite well as well.

The whole game feels so much nicer. I've been very fortunate to have been playing it for a few months and we've still got a few things to iron out, which is why we're not releasing it tomorrow but we're getting there.

One other thing that makes a really big difference that we've announced today - and I don't think there are any screenshots of this, which is really frustrating - is the ability to lock certain areas of the contract negotiations when you aren't prepared to budge.


With that, let's say you're offering the player 4K a week and the player wants 6K a week but you can't pay him 6K. You can actually lock the 4K offer and his agent will go and look for other ways to get the money.

As you're negotiating the deal, he'll come back with a load of clauses or might not, he might just accept it anyway. Things like that really do add an extra element to the game, it sounds like a small thing but it does add a lot to when you're playing the game and that's where the evolution side comes in. I think a lot of the evolutionary features, including the match engine improvements and the extra camera angles. It is evolution but it looks quite a bit better than FM 11.

I guarantee by the time the game comes out you will be sick of reading about Football Manager 2012 because there are going to be a lot of announcements.

What's the far future for match engine. I can remember only a few years ago when dots on a screen were all we had, so it's already come a long way. Is the vision to reach to something like FIFA levels of presentation or does that defeat the object entirely?

There are a few reasons why I don't think that would work for us. For a start, with FIFA, they've got a database with about 15,000 players or something like that that they model. We've got 500,000 players and staff so we wouldn't be looking to model all of those.

Second when you're playing an action game it's quite a bit different to a management game. With a management game you need to be able to see a lot more of the pitch because you need to be able to see what your right back's doing while your right winger's pegging it up the wing. That's not really necessary in an action game.

So we're not striving for FIFA's look, we're actually striving to look like a real game of football and trying to have the lighting of a real game of football but with a little bit of leeway to be able to see the ball and for players' skin colours not to change too much when they go into shadows.


But obviously we look at FIFA and we look at Pro Evo and what the guys and girls on those teams do is nothing short of fantastic but they're very different experiences to what we're trying to do.

Gameplay will always be the most important for us, we're very very proud of the strides that our match viewer has made for the 3D view and you can see that this year. We will definitely look to improve that over the long term as we do every area of the game but we're not striving to try and beat FIFA because I think each game's different.

I've got huge respect for Dave Rutter and his team over there who work on those titles and we enjoy playing them a lot but I'm sure there are areas of our match engine that they would love to be able to live up to as well.

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