A man stopped following another man on Instagram the other day and newspapers and websites around the world wrote ominous headlines about it. Football in 2017 is very strange and one of Football Manager 2018's [official site] big new features looks like it'll be bringing some of that strangeness into the simulation. The system is called Dynamics and it models relationships within a squad as well as the social groups that form or fall apart. A video explains all.
I'd be more on board with this style of video if it were marketing some new Middle-Earth: Shadow of War feature and had a big orc in a button-up shirt explaining how it all worked. As it is, I do appreciate that the presentation style does give a proper look at the feature, screen by screen. I'm always excited (yes, really) when Sports Interactive present the data behind their simulation in an attractive way so I'm a big fan of the hierarchy pyramid, and I like the idea of this man management side of the sport having its own systems and screens.
For a lot of people it'll probably seem like busywork, another way for performances to suffer even when tactics are sound, but those people have probably moved to Football Manager Touch already, playing the lighter version of the game. For me, more depth to the simulation is always welcome, although the series has reached the point where I'd like the option to toggle various features on or off, as in Crusader Kings II.
I feel more interested in these Dynamics as an observer than I do as a player; it's interesting to see the make-up of a squad and to have more flavour around its personalities and cliques, but I hope it doesn't have too great an impact on match day. That said, it seems like a much more involving and legible system than current ways of addressing the squad. At least now I'll know why everyone suddenly wants to down tools.
More than anything, I want somebody to mod the heck out of this so that the social groups become things like Goths, Jocks, Punks and Nerds. And that's when I'll sign Berbatov, age being no barrier from an immortal Goth Vampire Lord.
Football Manager 2018 is out on November 10th.