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Foot-to-Ball Manager 2012th Edition

Would you rather have seen the numbers? I don't know what the etiquette is for sports management games

You foot-to-ball chaps sure don’t get bored easily. I’d get fed up of any game after 2012 years – why, I’d even be willing to bet my ardour for X-COM would have cooled by just the 819th sequel. There’s no stopping plucky Brit studio Sports Interactive though: they’ve just announced Foot-to-Ball Manager 2012, which as is the custom contains a raft of new features, improved graphicsability, a whole lot more foot, and much more ball.

In the years to come, 50% of men will only buy one game each year – whatever the new Call of Duty is. The other 50% will only buy Football Manager. By 2018, the two will combine into Weapon Unlock Manager, and no other game will ever be required.

So here’s the goss on FtoBM 2012, starting with the easy bit: videos. The new match engine looks rather lovely. I particularly like the way the ground outside the goals gets all brown and smeary as a game wears on. GRASS SCIENCE = HIGH.

I remember when this were all dots.

Also in there is a new ‘adaptive layout’ system, which pretty much proves that SI are really making an operating system. Makes sense, given that, as a far as half the population of England seems to think, a PC is something that’s purely designed to run Football Manager.

Jolly good. Seems like the kind of thing a game that’s primarily about looking at rows of texts and numbers could really benefit from. That sounds sarcastic – it isn’t, honest. Seriously, that looks like a super-elegant way of presenting a crapton of information.

SI are promising over 800 new features for this 2012 FM, but here are the headliners plucked from that comically large number:

Transfers & Contracts – significant changes to the transfer and contract systems, including loyalty bonuses, better implementation of amateur and youth contracts, an improved transfer centre and the ability to lock areas of the contract negotiation when you aren’t prepared to budge. This helps you to manage your budgets and gives you flexibility in what you offer money hungry players, or agents, as incentives.

Scouting improvements – using several real life scouting reports, a new in-game report has been devised which includes squad analysis, tactics information and information about goals scored and conceded alongside lots of other scouting improvements, giving you all the information you need to prepare before kick-off and throughout the season.

3D Match Improvements – new animations, a whole new crowd system, improved weather system, more stadiums, plus two brand new cameras – “Behind Goal” and “Director Cam” as well as all other camera angles being reversible – meaning you can watch and analyse every aspect of every game.

Manage Anywhere, Anytime – the ability to add or take away playable nations in your saved game as often as you want. Manage in that country at the start of the next season- meaning you don’t have to stay in the nations which are chosen by you to be playable at the start of your career.

Tone – a whole new level has been added to team talks and conversations, with the new tone system, which allows you to specify the way you want to say things – be as cool as a cucumber by saying things calmly or throw tea cups around by saying things with passion. There are 6 different tones to choose from with specific comments per tone.

Intelligent Interface – a new adaptive layout system, which means the higher your screen resolution, the more info is easily at your fingertips. The new interface also contains new filters, customisable columns, a new tactics screen, and lots of new overview screens.

Brand New Tutorial – standing separate from the main game, a mode to help new players find their way around the game easily, whilst also offering tips to experienced managers on how to get the most out of the game, as well as a new in-game “how to” system.

It’ll be the most realistic football management game ever, apparently. I BET THEY SAY THAT EVERY YEAR.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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