Football manager games are a tiny little bit like train spotting; they’re for swots of football or trains respectively. Aside from that fact though, there have been a surge of football manager games in the recent times; with the rise of Sport Interactive’s Football Manager series, the under-fire Championship Manager and the home console choice, LMA Manager.
Football Manager 2006 is already available on the PC format (with many of my buddies already developing an unhealthy obsession to the title) so I pricked my ears when I heard that there would be an enhanced 360 conversion.
Football Manager 2006 could be considered the modern day text adventure, as the game relies very much on half time team talks and dealing with the press as opposed to just picking your team like in other football management games. With such a simple gameplay concept though, it will be interesting to see how this game fairs when played on a TV with a gamepad in hand.
For those of you who are unaware of Football Manager, or the overall experience of a football management title, you play the game by selecting a team you wish to take the reigns of. You then must pick the squad you want to use, motivate the players, manage the transfers and basically do all the things Arsene Wenger and JosÃ© Mourinho get up to every day. In Football Manager 2006 much of the gameplay revolves around dealing with the press and half time talks, and saying the correct things in these scenarios is what gives Football Manager its charm. Say the wrong thing, and you’ll find your players react to the comments and maybe not play as well, or won’t view you as such a valued manager. Say the right comments, and you can motivate your own team and/or demoralise your opponents.
Efforts have been made to achieve the optimisation for the 360, with the main refinements being that the game will be HDTV optimised and will also have a new control scheme to make navigating the game as easy as possible.
Sports Interactive have promised some kind of XBOX Live gameplay, which will more than likely involve you using your current team in the game and pitting it against others from across the globe. Some kind of marketplace functionality is also rumoured, but little has been confirmed on that as of yet. We can only speculate that it might be possible to buy and sell fully trained players or purchase add-on’s and updates to team rosters.
Interestingly enough however, the game may not see a launch in North America. According to Miles Jacobson (of Sports Interactive) it all depends on how well the US version of Football Manager 2006 (World Manager 2006) sells on the PC in North America.
Fans of football management games should not panic however because if the game does not get a release in the US, Sports Interactive have promised to keep the game region free, and thus it will be available for Americans to import.
This game is unlikely to set anyone’s living room alight, but with the extra XBOX Live features, fans of the game should be sure to check out this recommended gaming franchise.