SEGA and Sports Interactive have revealed a few of the new features and improvements to be found in the next instalment of its Football Manager series for PC and Mac, along with news that a PSP version is on the way too.
The two companies have unveiled a list of features for the game, detailed below, and we've got an interview with Sports Interactive managing director Miles Jacobson covering the game - including the PSP version - in more detail here.
As long requested by fans, Football Manager 2006 will offer a Manager Contracts feature for the first time. You'll be able to negotiate with the board of directors for higher wages and transfer budgets, and even persuade them to pay for a stadium revamp. But fail to meet targets and they'll fire you, Sir Alan-style.
There are new Player Interaction features that let you deal with your players on a one-to-one level and ensure that their personal problems won't interfere with performance.
Plus you can talk to your players individually or as a team during half-time, using the tactics screen to analyse the match so far and pep them up for the final push.
The training module has been completely overhauled. The coaches have a far more important role to play now, and training schedules and player progress have been simplified.
There are also new media resources to play with, including cup draw and man-of-the-match news, and you can look at league tables to plan your tactics. And you'll be able to view referee profiles to work out how likely your boys are to get a red card if they kick someone in the shins.
Upgrades to the player positions feature make picking your team easier, and a player position indicator shows where best to place your players and which moves they should go for.
"As one of the lucky few to have played with some of the new features, I really can't wait to play the finished game,” says Sports Interactive MD Miles Jacobson.
“We're delighted with the support that we've had from our community for FM2005, and the next iteration will raise the quality bar even higher.”
So what of the PSP version? Well, SEGA describes it as "a game crammed with all the depth, features and functions that you would expect, combined with an optimised gameplay specifically with the handheld market in mind."
You'll have a choice of leagues from at least six countries, and up-to-date rankings and competition simulations are all present and correct. There's also a proper transfer system so you can sign, borrow, sell and loan out players from your 30-strong squad.
A "realistic radio-style match engine", commentary and computer manager intelligence are also promised, and you'll get coach and physio feedback plus all the stats, facts and figures you need to plan your strategy.
“The opportunity to work on PSP was simply too good to pass up,” says Jacobson.
“The team at SI are working really hard to create a game more skewed towards a handheld experience, whilst retaining the depth of gameplay of all of our games. The results from that so far are very impressive.”
Football Manager 2006 is slated for a winter release on PC, PSP and Mac, and SEGA reckons it's got lots more exciting new features to unveil before then. We'll keep you posted.