This year’s iteration of Football Manager promises to be the best ever, with updates and new features aimed towards your job as a manager becoming more like the real thing.
Everything from the way that you communicate with your players and the press, right down to the way that you receive stats and lift the end-of-season trophy has been renovated or refined. There are visual improvements, a streamlined UI and even new recruitment meetings so that you can find the players that you need before the season starts as a team.
With Football Manager 2021 out on November 24, let’s run through what to expect from the new game.
The communication in FM is stepping up a notch this year. The big news from the updates may well be the ability to gesture in Football Manager 2021, bringing a whole new kind of boss to the forefront of the game - you can throw a water bottle across the changing room to show how hacked off you are. Yes, really.
You can communicate through a range of non-verbal signals in the game, meaning that you can open your arms to players to show them that you’re being friendly or prompt reactions through more motivational gestures. You can use your gestures towards the media too - any relationship you have in the game will benefit from this.
Quick Chats have been added too, so whether a journalist is getting in touch or you need to speak to a player who’s out on loan, a window can pop up over your existing window - a bit like if you’re browsing on Facebook while on the internet. Press conferences have been updated too, with your press officer briefing you on the mood of the room, giving you more context around questions and most importantly, telling you which questions you should and shouldn’t be answering. This is where your gestures can come in handy, too.
Face to face conversations have also seen a revamp. Multiple attendees can be added to your meetings, you can observe how each person reacts to the conversation - such as a player, their agent and your director of football - and you’ll get meeting summaries too. Plus, there are more 3D background locations than ever before.
FOOTBALL MANAGER The best formations and tactics you need to try
Ah, the matchday. The most important part of being a manager. From the pre-match build-up right through to the team talks and the interviews, you’ll have even more control over your team than ever before.
Your pre-match tactical meeting will be used to weigh up the analysis with your opponent, plan your tactical setup and gauge how it’s gone down with the players. Now, you’ll confirm your final team selection and make last-minute tweaks before being presented with your opposition’s line-up; your press officer can also provide you with updates from social media of what the fans think of your selection (should you want to put yourself through the rigmarole of getting involved with that).
Team talks have been redone too. You’re now in the centre of the room with your outfield players spread out in a semi-circle - in squad number order - and you can chat to the lads with your gestures and see how the speech is going down. For matches that are broadcast on TV, you’ll get to attend the pre-match one-on-one to chat to the FM equivalent of Geoff Shreeves, before another appears post-match, too.
The presentation of the matchday experience is hugely refreshed too, with the team line-up graphics looking more like you’d see on TV and the match graphics looking far more realistic. You can make quick changes to your team’s tactical style, formation and mentality in-game and your first XI’s formation is laid out in the centre now, where you can see all the key stats.
There’s more in-depth match stats to hand mid-game, with coaches and data analysts able to help you with those. The lighting has been redesigned to look more realistic, players’ movements are better than ever and there’s no more “skating” from the players. And for those of you who aren’t Jeff Stelling, xG has had an upgrade, with data intelligence specialists, SciSports, having had a hand in rebuilding the engine to make it far more realistic than ever.
After the game, your press officer will include the best media clippings from the aftermath, along with those pesky trolls on social media have to say. Plus, all the final scores coming in from the grounds around the country. It’s enough to make you give up your job and play Football Manager full-time.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Football Manager update without the transfer market seeing a little change - after all, it’s a different world out there to the one we faced 12 months ago.
Recruitment meetings are the headline. You can meet up with various members of your team to chat over the positions that you’d like to target for the forthcoming season. From there, your scouts can do a much better job for you, meaning that the long-term vision of the club can more easily be achieved with the players you know you want. There are new recruitment roles too within the game, as new analysts can study data that you bring together even more thoroughly than ever before.
The realism of the market has seen an update with financial uncertainty reflected and you’ll be able to ask agents about whether or not they can see their clients coming to your club - so you know whether or not to waste your time with them before you bid.
In just the same way that clubs intermediaries react in the real world, you’ll be able to work out what exactly it’ll take for your target to come to the club. You’ll be able to weigh up wages and your transfer dealings will be even easier to work on than ever before.
Success doesn't come easy the infuriating world of FM, so your celebrations shouldn't feel half-baked either. The makers of the game have added a number of exciting elements around the culmination of each season, meaning you can now toast victory or wallow in shame with far more gusto than you could before.
The biggest change is the inclusion of a trophy celebration cut-scene. If you're fortunate enough to bag a pot at the end of the season then you'll get to see your players presented with it, on a podium, shrouded in an appropriate blizzard of confetti. There will also be bigger media and social furore over your achievements (or lack thereof) each season. Players will conduct interviews with the press and you'll have to as well.
Haven't won a trophy but still tasted a kind of success? It happens, just ask Mauricio Pochettino. Yes, if you avoid relegation, achieve promotion or drag yourselves to European qualification on the final day, you'll still get to witness celebrations. Players might perform a lap of honour and the media scrutiny will be just as intense.
What's more, as every season is always a little bit different so too will be your celebrations. The makers are keen for your success not o feel "samey" and so a large number of different scenarios have been cooked up, so you never get bored seeing those wonderful moments celebrated in style.
Equally, bad seasons and final results will see players vent their frustrations, fans tell you what they think and the media glare will take on a more biting air.
Good or bad, you'll also have a season review delivered to your inbox, with proper ceremonies to honour players of the year and so on. All in all, it's safe to say you'll be taking a little more time to reflect on the past season than you ever have before.
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