It’s All Over: FIFA Manager 14 Is The Last In The Series

By Graham Smith on November 25th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.

Like Manchester City versus Tottenham or whatever.

Football is a game of two halves, and so is this post. Snarky FC kicks off.

EA Sports have announced that FIFA Manager 14 will be the last in the series. Which is probably just as well, because those games were rubbish. They’re the equivalent of when footballers launch their own line of cologne. It’s an obligatory brand extension which makes a lot of money for everyone involved, but the only people who should buy it are those who want to douse their lives with the shallow, stench-ridden work of millionaires.

Let me pass this ball along.

Now freelancer teammate Philippa Warr is on the ball. Over IM.

Pip: the title implies you’re managing FIFA and who on earth in their right mind would want to try that?
game objectives: attempt to convince general public that FIFA is not corrupt and shit
have successful conversation with Sepp Blatter about not being a twat re: female outfits
manage to navigate press call regarding 2022 world cup without igniting homophobia row

Oof! It’s the end of the first half and it’s 6-0 to Snarky FC. But now Atlético Feels Bad About Being So Snarky FC are kicking off.

Isn’t it always a little sad when a long-running game series comes to an end? FIFA Manager has been going for over a decade, and while it was never the best game in the genre, it clearly had an audience. The “Open Letter from Gerald” which announced the decision to stop producing them is glum, and all the more so due to the genuine sadness of the commenters posting underneath. I genuinely hope the team can move on to new things.

It also leaves the genre in a strange place. Football Manager 2014 is great, but with Championship Manager vanishing in 2011, Sports Interactive no longer have any competition. The closest you have to an alternative is something like New Star Soccer, which while excellent, plays in a different league. There was never really a sense that Sports Interactive were making their game in response to any rival, but competition and choice are only ever a good thing from a gamer’s perspective. And no, those awful free-to-play MMO things don’t count, because they’ve all been rubbish so far.

Foul! Referee Adam Smith has run on to the field. In the RPS chatroom.

Adam: It looked like it was pretending to be a simulation but I didn’t believe it. Too fiddly and opaque.

Penalty to Snarky FM. They score it and win. Full time. Football is over forever. John and Alec go wild with celebration in the stands.

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47 Comments »

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  1. Bull0 says:

    TIL there are Football Manager and FIFA Manager games, and they’re separate entities

  2. Syt says:

    I’ve never played the FIFA series a lot, but I always loved Gerald Köhler’s original work in Germany: the Anstoß series (On The Ball in non-German countries) which at the time mixed serious sim, snark, and dark humour into a pretty unforgettable mix.

    Doping, bribery, impossible questions during your coach’s exam, and a deep statistical engine (for the time). Shame that it ended after three outings (though the last couldn’t quite capture the magic of #2 and its expansion).

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      c-Row says:

      Most importantly, Anstoß and its great competitor from Software 2000 (not counting post-Hattrick editions) appeared to be games where you had fun. Whenever I saw a screenshot from FIFA Manager it looked like work.

  3. Keyrock says:

    This is pretty grim news. Foot-to-ball Manager 14 is already just a small iteration to Foot-to-ball Manager 13. With zero competition, there is a definite possibility that the Foot-to-ball Manager series will completely stagnate.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      This is a common view even among FM players, but for one thing, it ignores the competition they already have in the form of free mods that give you the latest player rosters before the new game is even released. Steam Workshop support in FM14 makes that even easier.

      A one year development cycle is really short, even when you’re just talking about bringing new features to an existing game. It’s not easy. But there’s no reason to suspect that the devs are going to slack off or SI will fire staff just because they no longer have direct commercial competition. That doesn’t really make sense.

      True competition might’ve given them a kick in the ass to finally improve the 3D engine or the simulation quality or whatever, but FIFA Manager was nowhere near that. It was a simplistic game with a terrible skeuomorphic UI, so people who wanted anything like Football Manager have always been stuck with just Football Manager.

    • dsch says:

      FM is going downhill pretty quickly. I’m not just talking about the complete (and completely unnecessary) folly of the ‘new’ tactics system this year, which obfuscated tactical instructions so much that it turns into a mind-reading exercise if you want to know what you are actually doing. The studio head, Miles Jacobson, really has no idea what he’s doing, from the increasing microtransactions (mooted for this year: a paid real-time data editor) to the PR disasters (‘We don’t care if our customers in Australia are being ripped off.’) to the uninformed or downright misleading comments about piracy (‘x million pirates!’–gloss over the fact that the pirated version was not playable for months). I’d say he’s going to bring down the franchise if not for the fact that there is now no competition. As it is, we’ll just have to settle for increasing mediocrity.

  4. yogibbear says:

    Foot-to-ball manager games need to start including female player databases. Else I think we should all start a riot. Preferably without just putting a bow on top of Wayne Rooney’s head.

  5. Piecewise says:

    Better turn the comments off on this article too, otherwise someone might bring up the fact that anita is a massive fucking fraud who doesn’t play the games she whines about and just steals footage from LP’ers. And that her research involves 10 minutes on TVtropes and another 10 furiously skewing the information to her own desires.

    • iucounu says:

      Oh, fuck off.

      • mechabuddha says:

        On the plus side, I’ve discovered the purpose of the “block” option.

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      AndrewC says:

      A wild Dreary Cretin appears!

    • vasek45 says:

      This gentleman is insane but I somewhat understand him being like that.
      I can’t wait until there will finally be as many game devs as film directors so everybody will have something to play, including feminists and green wing and everybody will be happy.
      And this stream of articles in videogames media which could be summed up under the line “this is offending to a certain group!” will finally come to an end. Everybody will finally be playing the games with art direction they like and want and if you’re offended by something you’ll just go and play something else.
      Good times ahead, people!

      • Kollega says:

        I second this. Gaming needs diversification, badly. And we can already see this diversification rolling in in the shape of indie developers. So yeah… good times ahead, most certainly.

      • Freud says:

        I think you underestimate the enjoyment some take in being upset. They won’t just happily play their stuff. They will, as loudly as ever, complain about the stuff others are playing.

        I mean, RPS could just avoid reviewing Call of Duty (single player) since the reviews are more predictable than the actual games at this point, but it’s a ritual they enjoy.

        • Bull0 says:

          I get the impression a large proportion of the readership enjoy reading about how the most recent call of duty is predictably crap, too, to be fair.

        • Grygus says:

          Actually I keep hoping RPS will tell me to play a CoD-type game. The genre does not interest me but it’s always good to be surprised.

      • Grygus says:

        Well, I don’t think the point is that, “this is offensive to someone,” so much as it is, “you are unintentionally offending people because you never stopped to question your own assumptions.” Assuming you aren’t the kind of person who likes offending people for no reason, taking in these disparate points of view will help you become the kind of person you already assume you are. Dismissing them as entitled whining only serves to strengthen what you already know, which can only be the path to truth if you assume from the start that you are the objective possessor of crystalline Truth, which would require towering arrogance and ignorance the likes of which few would admit.

        You don’t have to agree with everything these types of positions are saying, but if you won’t even consider them then you are acting against the best interests of both society and yourself.

        • vasek45 says:

          The thing is, as cynical as it sounds, I’m fine with people who are unintentionally offending others to continue doing that because, well, they have an enormous audience of people who say “fuck this shit, i am not offended and so you shouldn’t”,
          And I understand _why_ people are offended and why these articles keep appearing. Contoversy is good because in the end it makes at least a small proportion of readers and those involved question their deeds. It’s that it just gets tiresome and RPS seems to not have any other points of view rather than the one they actively push.
          So I proposed a simple theortical solution to this — diversity in videogames which is gonna be good for everybody.
          I’d also be glad about more games being more meaningful in the message they want to send IN CASE they want to. It all falls under category “Diversity” in the end. There must be games with that point of view, with another, and with this one too and there have to be games which don’t have message at all and others which are just wicked and sick. Like in movie industry, to which i’ve made a comparison in first place.

    • dsch says:

      Won’t happen. They need some place to congratulate themselves on being enlightened.

    • dsch says:

      To be fair, the point is not that RPS shouldn’t cover these issues, it’s that it shouldn’t give so much prominence to bad research.

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        PikaBot says:

        Ironically, the reality is that nobody would have given a tin shit about Anita Sarkeesian or her video series if neckbeards like Piecewise hadn’t flipped out and turned her into the Spooky Video Games Boogeybitch.

        • Grygus says:

          It is true that I only watched her video to understand what he was on about. Streisand effect.

          • dsch says:

            It doesn’t reflect well on the intellectual sophistication of RPS’s editorial leadership, though, along with other things like the PA boycott. It’s especially disappointing since John Walker has such a high reputation as a games journalist.

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            Nogo says:

            “intellectual sophistication of RPS’s editorial leadership”

            lol, what site are you visiting? Because the one I’m on did an MSpaint review of the PC. (Which was lovely)

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Well, I think turning off the comments section may have been a fair call to make. We already know two things: RPS care about this issue a great deal and are not going to stop talking about it. Also the comments sections on those are just about rife with circular arguments and some quite vicious attitudes on both sides.

      Turning off the comments not only deprives the opposition of a little soapbox – of course they can and should respond elsewhere (where contextually appropriate) but also reduces the fervour surrounding the article. It let’s the piece stand on it’s own and not devolve, as it often does, into talk more about the reaction and the page hits.

      It’s just my two pennies but it’s RPS’ blog so figure it’s their call to make.

      • The Random One says:

        I’m more distressed by the idea that the comments section costs a fortune to maintain. If someone is charging John a fortune for this unintuitive, ugly, broken clusterfuck it’d be more honest to just stab him in the gut and take his credit cards.

        Hey John! Hey! HEY! You looked into any hosting alternatives? I know you blokes are short of money, but switching the site to a real hosting would do wonders, as well as replacing the comments with something prettier like Disqus or forum integration. Just because you’re a glorified blog it don’t mean you have to look like one!

        • Stardreamer says:

          Was there really any need for that colossal piece of dickishness?

      • Stardreamer says:

        I applaud the decision to avoid another 600 comment thread of abuse and nastiness.

        I will also applaud sincere attempts to stop it happening in this one. If you can’t deliver a comment with even basic respect, Piecewise, Dsch, kindly take it elsewhere. Nobody’s interested in more of your bile.

    • Freud says:

      In a cruel twist of faith, your random icon has what seems to be a pink bow on its head.

  6. Zankmam says:

    Since the article mentioned it, I have to ask: Is there really no good “F2P MMO Football Manager” game?

  7. aunshi says:

    I still think that This with Ninja’s would be amazing

  8. SuicideKing says:

    BUT WHERE IS JIM?

    Seriously, has he taken to Being Hunted full time now?

    • Adam Smith says:

      He’s away for a while on account of having a new baby Rossignol!

      • SuicideKing says:

        Ah that’s the second RPS baby since i’ve started reading. Or maybe the third?

        Anyway, wonderful news, congrats to the Rossignols!

        EDIT: Yup, the third.

  9. The Random One says:

    Phillipa should send that description to molleindustria. That’s a game I’d like to play. A stadium holding a FIFA game is the second closest thing to a corporate enclave from cyberpunk that you’ll find on the real world. (The closest thing are factory towns like you’ll find in China.)

    Also, the first time I heard of Phillipa in the NaG podcast I for some reason imagined she was pippinbarr, and finding that her chat name is Pip only increases my suspicion. I’m on to you!

  10. Cigol says:

    The original FIFA Soccer Manager was a favourite of mine, and although the rest of the series couldn’t hold a candle to Champ Man or more recently Football Manager, they did have some pretty neat UI design (some of which eventually found it’s way into FM).