Back On The Net: Football Manager 17 Feature Reveal

I’m always a little bit upset that I can’t play the new version of Football Manager [official site] as soon as the season starts, though I understand the reasons why (namely, the fact that the bloody transfer window doesn’t stop when the football starts). Usually I console myself by reading about the new features that I can expect once the game arrives. This year, the feature reveal has been a little later than usual, but it’s here now in the form of a half hour video. Social media feeds! Improved transfer and on-pitch intelligence! EXCESSIVE DATA ANALYSIS.

You can watch it below.

This year, there’s no marquee signing to my eyes, but there’s a lot of (hopefully) strong work on artificial intelligence, both in the transfer market and on the pitch. I’m enough of a Football Manager nerd to be excited by mention of players making split second decisions on a more regular basis, which should lead to more mistakes, more heroics and more credibility. That’s what the series lives and dies on, credibility, and anything that makes players behave more convincingly will be a good thing.

The transfer market AI has needed an overhaul for some time now. Play a long-term save and you’ll eventually see clubs with holes all over their squad that they fail to address, while buying players for excessive fees that they don’t seem to need it all. Again, to be credible the game should have clubs and managers go into weird declines of that sort, but it shouldn’t happen consistently, and in the past it has. Sports Interactive reckon they’ve improved that and if the AI in-match and in the wider world really has come on strongly, I’ll be delighted.

I said there wasn’t a marquee signing this year, but the closest thing to that is probably the addition of social media. It comes with a broader reworking of the news system, which now incorporates imagery alongside the usual text, can deliver highlights of players during scouting, and sees particularly impressive goals popping up on social media feeds in video form. Adding an entire world of fake twittering might strike a lot of FM fans as pointless, but I’d argue it plays into the credibility (that word again) of the world, showing fan and press feedback in easily digestible snippets, and showing disagreements and conflicting opinions.

Social media is also where transfer rumours will sprout and lay down roots. The entire transfer system seems to have been rewritten, with potential for the enormous, ridiculous sagas that real life football fans (myself included) agonise over during the off-season. Yes, there was a point this summer when I searched for Pogba news whenever I had a spare second. Yes, I’m a silly person. And yes, I very much doubt he’s going to make much of a difference against Liverpool on Monday.

There’s loads more to see, including a good look at the new match engine with its behind the goal camera angle and fancy animations (PLAYERS HAVE MORE BONES NOW), details on AI managers in fantasy draft, Touch mode (previously Classic), and dealings with the board. The beta will be available soon to anyone who has preordered and if you own previous Football Managers on Steam you’ll liable for a discount:

As a ‘thank-you’ to loyal fans of the series we’ve worked with our friends at Valve to offer a Steam-only discount of 5% off for every Football Manager game owned on PC, Mac or Linux dating back to Football Manager 2013. This means there’s a possible 20% available to fans who own the last 4 versions of the game!

That offer ends tomorrow at midnight UK time, so you’ve got time to digest the contents of this video first and figure out if you’re willing to take the plunge. There will be a half-season demo after release as well, should you prefer to bide your time.

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  1. Gothnak says:

    I’m still playing FM15 Classic Mode, and the biggest problem with the whole game is that when you take a team from the Conference South and get them all the way to the premiership they only increase their stadium size every… 20 years! I’ve been manager for 32 years now (yeah i know) and i’ve been premiership champions and we play in from of a sell out 16046 every single week, god it’s annoying.

    (I am playing Classic mode mind you, i do play other games!)

    • Jac says:

      The problem I used to have in the main mode was not being able to change ticket prices at all or for them to even change organically.

      Not played the last couple of years so might have been addressed.

    • Katar says:

      The hard coded 20 year rule is annoying, but then the board getting the club in massive crippling debt building new stadiums every four or five years was also annoying.

      It is nice to see that there is a 64bit version coming out. If I had known that I might have put more serious consideration to getting an i7 when I built this PC a few months ago. I probably still wouldn’t have done it as prices in the UK were/are insane.

  2. TillEulenspiegel says:

    They keep piling on more and more “media” stuff, and it’s universally shit. Nobody enjoys it. Like, remember when their response to complaints about repetitive press conference questions was “well, that’s how it is in real life”? Yeah but it’s a game. It should be fun.

    The brief mention of improved player AI is promising, though. That could make a huge difference in how tactics actually work.

    • Pantalaimon says:

      ‘Nobody enjoys it’ is complete projection. There are many ways people play and enjoy FM. What might be a feature you never use is something that becomes the core of other peoples’ gameplay.

      • CidL says:

        No, sorry, I decree that TillEulenspiegel is right. The first thing I look for in every year’s feature reveal is that the awful, tedious press conferences have been overhauled. Adding a load of Twitter bollocks is not the overhaul I was looking for.

        “The fans will want to hear a proper answer from you.” Well the fans can fuck off, can’t they? Yes they can.

        • shani ace says:

          I disagree. Yes, it gets repetitive after a while, but it has to. If you follow real-life football for a few years, everything players and managers say (and everything reporters ask) is equally repetitive. Yes, games are supposed to be fun. But this is a simulation (and a game, too, I know). It’s still fun. But it’s also supposed to make things feel real, make them feel believable. Now if the media would ask you new questions everytime – or if they would even ask you intelligent questions – wouldn’t that feel totally not authentic? I actually think the media section of FM is underrated. The way they twist your words and unnecessarily provoke you feels almost human.
          Sure, it can still be improved. But maybe the social media thing is just the way to improve it. Because it mirrors real life football business. All the players are on twitter nowadays.

  3. DEspresso says:

    I hate the series.

    Maybe Hate is too strong a word, maybe its not. Anyways its based on my one-free-weekend-experience some years ago when the German FM got cancelled so take it with a grain of salt.

    The Big Problem I have with Football Manager is that it is incorrectly named. It should be titled Football Coach as the vast majority is spend tuning tactics and babysitting players and board. More like managing expectations really.

    Where is the Big Picture? Why am I only allowed one scout by those penny-pinchers? Where is the option to create my own club without those Budget-cutters? Where is the opportunity of building a Franchise-empire around the Brand? The Private Life(optional)? I admit I even miss the allure of building my (clubs) own Sausage Stand.

    The lack of competition has in my opinion not favoured business-sided managers while tactics-focused trainers prosper(?).

    Aaanyways how about Liverpool eh?

    • Jac says:

      I’m not sure football managers get involved in most of the things you think they do and you’re interested in.

      The game comes with a pretty decent database editor as well so you can set up a club if you want and create players etc or just edit any of the existing ones.

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        distantlurker says:

        There’s a build-a-club option built right in now (since 2016 iirc) so you don’t even have to go to the (excellent and highly recommended) editor if that feels a bit ‘cheaty’. You can even set up whole new leagues and competitions too.

        This’ll also allow you to set rep and budget constraints (to fix your scout probz).

        The ‘franchise empire’ is totally a part of the game now, altho perhaps not as front and center as DEspresso would like; stadium/crowd sizes; shirt sales (greatly improved by signing players with better reps, or the occasional Chinese/S Korean player)); oodles of sponsorship deals and affiliated clubs to sell merch or give you cash to sell theirs, are all IG. It’s been made more subtle than a ‘Tycoon’ style experience so that fans who just want the ‘fitba’ can largely ignore it, but if that’s what you’re actually here for, there’s a lot to play with. Just get a good assistant and let them handle the team.

        Oh, and you can build a sausage stand :D They’re called ‘corporate facilities’ but one imagines in the Northern Premier League Division One South they’re little more’n a disposable BBQ with some Tesco economy bangers :D :D

        Hoping they add the Women’s Super League this time around. Would love to get lionesses to a World Cup Final!

    • pelwl says:

      I think if the game was called Football Chairman you might have a point, DEspresso. No football manager in the history of the game has ever tried to “build a Franchise-empire around the Brand”. It’s also actually the worst thing about modern football that some chairmen and MDs actually do this. (Looking at Karen Brady at London Olympic FC here)

    • Brinx says:

      You’re thinking about this from a very German perspective. In Germany (you know this, just for everyone to understand) we differentiate between trainers/coaches, who manage the team, and managers, who handle the business side of things. However, in the UK the wording manager is completely correct for what is the content of the game. (If I recall correctly.)

    • shani ace says:

      LOL? I’ve been playing Fussball Manager (FIFA Manager) before too and I completely disagre with you (DEspresso)!

      1. The game is not incorrectly named. This game series originated in the UK, and in the UK, they’re called managers, not coaches (yes, they do have coaches, but they’re not what you would call “Trainer” in German).
      2. One scout? Wie kommst du denn darauf? I have 10-20 scouts. Which team are you managing?
      3. Since FM2016, you can create your own club.
      4. Really? I never used the Private Life option in EA’s FM and the same goes for the sausage stands. I actually removed all of them and sold off the land.
      5. And this is the most important part: I played EA’s FM for a long time (and Anstoss 2 & 3 before that) and the transition to SI’s FM took me quite a while. I bought FM2014 but never really played it. Then I started playing FM15 and I couldn’t stop. I played 800 hours! It’s so much better than EA’s manager ever was. And it’s better in any way. SI’s manager is more focussed on tactics and player development. The player stats are actually a lot more meaningful than the general player level in EA’s FM (despite the fact that I still longed for a general player level at the beginning). The media reactions are actually pretty realistic and believable. Basically, every aspect has 100 times more depth than EA’s FM had. Trust me, it’s the (way) better game. EA’s FM was like an Arcade mode, while SI’s mode is a true simulation.

  4. Arnvidr says:

    Since my copy of ’12 started crashing on launch I’m in the market for an upgrade. Almost jumped in when they added linux support last (?) year, but tried a demo that I didn’t enjoy as much as I hoped. Will jump back in this or next year though.

  5. aircool says:

    Classic mode is too shallow and normal mode overtly complex (I usually manage two or three seasons before burning out).

    I somewhat ashamed to say that I’ve been hooked by FUT 17 as the whole transfer system (ie, trading cards) is far more satisfying, if somewhat less challenging that the best bit in the CM/FM series; building a team.

    • Laini says:

      Sometimes I can get really stuck into a game on normal mode but yeah I’ve always found Classic way too shallow.

      I think my problem is I enjoy the faffing about between matches more than the matches themselves, so Classic should be a good fit, but I don’t like losing control of the matches (not that anything I do in match probably has much effect on normal mode anyway =p)

      I’m enjoying FUT a lot more this year though too, all it needs is to make swapping players in and out less of a chore and it’d be great.
      Oh and give us an option to play FUT Draft mode for free, even if it means we don’t get any reward packs.
      It’s such a great mode and they have that option in Madden so it’s a shame it’s not in FIFA. But maybe no-one paid for it in that series ¬_¬

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