Football manager games are a strange breed indeed. Seemingly a niche market, they appeal to a certain kind of football fan. Unlike other football games, you don’t directly control the action on the pitch. You just watch and wait, hoping your tactics will pay off. Its not the kind of game that you can just pick up and play either. They demand a lot from your spare time and require a certain amount of football tactical knowledge. So it comes as a certain shock to me that Championship Manager, a football manager series, is so popular in Britain but unknown everywhere else. And since the series is quite unknown in America, I’ll give a quick re-cap of the series” history .
SI games are the developers of Champ Manager and have provided over a decade’s worth of life consuming and addictive managerial series. However, after a long-term partnership with developers Eidos, they decided to go their separate ways last year. When the news was released, you could almost hear the pangs of sorrow as thousands of Champ Manager fans cried out “No”.
What would become of SI games? What would become of the Championship Manager series? Well, Eidos were given the right to use the franchise name and that was it. They would have to build a new Championship Manager game with new developers. SI games were able to keep the game engine, and the large database that is at the heart of the game. It details over two hundred thousand professional football players. So, in short, where Eidos got the franchise name, SI games kept the essential components of the Championship Manager series.
After SI games split with Eidos, Sega quickly snapped up publishing rights for SI games” next few games, meaning that nearly a year after SI games split with Eidos their first few games are nearly upon us. Besides an ice hockey management sim, SI games have a brand new football manager sim in development called Football Manager 2005.
The game largely borrows from the Championship Manager series, using a much improved game engine and an enlarged database–but the premise of the game still remains the same. You take control of a football team of your choice, choosing from around 3,000 different teams. You could be the manager of a world-class squad, such as Real Madrid, or a little known squad, such as Stevenage Borough. No matter what squad you choose, your aim is still the same; to lead your squad to glory.
Like Championship Manager, FM 2005 operates on its own calendar, with it’s own schedule of fixtures to be played. In the time between each match day, you can change around tactics, look for new players or staff, and even change training regimes. You”re in control of the team, and that doesn’t restrict you to just handling the action on the pitch.
But of course; on the pitch is where all your hard work and tactics pay off. Like Championship Manager, FM 2005 will rely heavily on tactics but it hasn’t been mentioned whether the tactic system will be updated or not. Regardless, if the tactic system is remotely similar to the tactic system seen in previous SI games you can expect it to be extremely in depth and very complex.
In FM 2005, matches can be viewed via a few different ways: via the match report screen, via a 2-D top down view, or a combination of the two! The match report screen shows the match score at the top of the screen while in the middle of the screen, a rectangular box displays text relating to the action going on in the pitch. The text alternates according to the action on the pitch. Whilst it may seem tiresome reading about every little thing going on in the pitch, it is a good way of explaining all that is happening in the game. A typical description of a manoeuvre might go along the lines of