Miles Jacobson, the man behind Football Manager, talks about the latest version of the award-winning game.
What’s the most fanatical story you’ve heard about from players of Football Manager?
The most ridiculous stories I’ve heard are the things that people do; you know, the suits for the Cup Final! I think that’s pretty nice. I can’t say that I’ve ever done it [Miles looks up and mouths “I have!”].
The press conferences in the mirror is a weird one for me. Yes, I do the press conferences in my head, but looking in a mirror? When you’re doing a press conference you’re not looking at yourself anyway!
Then there was a story from a guy called Tim Pike who got so into the club he was managing that he had his honeymoon there. It was his first-ever trip abroad and he went to see a second division team in Bulgaria playing!
We also get a lot of stories of people having a second club off the back of pressing the random-choice button, so there’s always lots of nice stories. It’s one of the only games where you’re creating your own story. There is no linear story. We want people to be using their imagination to create their back story and play it out in their heads.
What about ideas from fans. How many have made the game?
There are thousands of ideas that come from fans of the game that have made it into the game; I reckon over 50 per cent of the features each year. When we’re making the game and deciding what’s going to go in to the game for the next year, we actually sit down as a team, from 11am until 6pm, every day, for a month. Everyone is invited to every meeting in the studio, whether they are from the testing side, from the business side or from the programming side.
We go through every single idea that has come in that last year – whether it be from someone in the studio, someone in football or someone on one of our forums. We have one thread on our forums that we push everyone to, so if someone asks something on Facebook we ask them to post it in this thread.
We anonymise all of them so no one knows where any of the ideas have come from, so if something comes from our forums it’s treated in exactly the same way as something that’s come from an international football manager, or something that’s come from me. We then vote on everything, which works out the priority of the feature.
It then comes back to me as the director of the game and I then put the jigsaw puzzle together on what should be going in; to try to make sure there’s something for every type of person that plays the game. The community is so important, so if anyone has ideas of things that they want to put in the game go to community.sigames.com and there is a thread called “the wish-list thread”. Please come and post your ideas as everything does get debated. However stupid you might think it is, it will still get debated!
The ‘Tracksuit Manager’ or ‘The Suit Manager’ – which one is your favourite? And any tips or hints?
It’s really difficult when someone asks me what my favourite is as it is like asking “Who’s your favourite nephew?” I love them both equally! If you go down the route of being a more motivational style of manager the players are going to react better to you, and the player power element of the game is part of the jigsaw puzzle. You couldn’t do the one element without doing the other element in the same year. So with player power in there, the motivational skills are very important because players do get upset when they’re not playing, as they do in real life.
If you’re a lower-league manager and you can’t afford to take on any coaches, you need to be going down the coaching route and have your coaching badges to be able to give the players that extra boost. Making that choice at the start is an interesting one, but it’s also for people that don’t play 20-season games and prefer the five-season games; it adds an extra element for them as they can choose a different character every time they’re starting a new game.
I’m very proud of the new interfaces and animations as well, there’s a lot of stuff in there this year that, as someone that plays the game, I am delighted it’s there.
FM2015 is out now!