The core PC Championship Manager series is "on hold", Beautiful Game Studios boss Roy Meredith has told Eurogamer. When it will come back, he "really, really couldn't say".
As Sven and his charges prepare for the World Cup this week, so too are Beautiful Game Studios - by releasing an update to Championship Manager 2006 that introduces International Management.
The Championship Manager/Football Manager saga has been well documented, but for those who've just come in, here's the latest score. Following a decade of dominance, Eidos acrimoniously split with original CM developer Sports Interactive, with the name reverting to the publisher. While SI went from strength to strength with the newly-branded FM, development duties for CM fell to bespoke outfit Beautiful Game Studios. Something of a tall order, it was a bit like The Beatles being replaced by some buskers and told to follow up The White Album.
Rarely was a studio less appropriately named, as to the surprise of few and glee of many, Championship Manager 5 was a shambolic bug-ridden mess that sullied the good name of the series. When the game informs you that you've secured a 2-1 draw, for instance, even the most casual of football fans will realise that something is seriously amiss.
Nevertheless, those same beautiful people have been tethered to the same typewriters and instructed to try harder. To the studio's credit, this year's model is a considerable improvement on CM5, in so much as it actually works without grinding to a halt. It's still a brutally ugly beast though, admittedly in a genre where looks aren't everything. But if Football Manager is the functional M&S of the bunch, this is in the realms of Lidl, with a cheap and nasty looking interface, whichever of the various skins you choose to use. Blue Gel, anyone?
Calling all Championship Manager fans - the beta for the latest instalment in the series is now available for download.
Championship Manager 2006 will come packed with loads of new features, such as the Gameplan 3D match engine - which allows you to watch games play out like they do on TV - and a Highlight Filter.
You'll have the option to scout around the globe for new players, plus you can keep an eye on your opposition's progress and even observe how each individual player is performing. Talking to players will help you gain their trust, which in turn will make them play better - but don't let them down or there'll be trouble. And finally, if your club's in financial difficulties you'll be able to seek investment from a wealthy benefactor, but unless your team does well the money won't last for long.