Football Manager 2006

Football Manager 2006

Football Manager 2006

Feed the addiction.

To paraphrase the great Bill Shankly, Football Manager is a simple game made complicated by people who should know better.

Ever since Sports Interactive's formative years, Football Manager's inherent simplicity has always been its irrepressible charm: pick a team, choose the tactics, watch the drama unfold, and then spend hours, weeks, months trying to find a successful formula to bring glory to your underachieving, overpaid slackers.

You'll scour the lower divisions, raid the overseas market, meddle with the starting eleven, experiment with youth prospects and spend an awful amount of time doing so.

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Football Manager 2006

Football Manager 2006

On top of its game.

It would be the easiest thing in the world for Sports Interactive to re-issue its footy management games every year with merely a data update and a few bug fixes. However mercenary that sounds, most of us wouldn't mind. At least you'd know what you were getting. Heck, the more cynical readers around here assume that's all the Islington-based team is doing anyway, but those closer to the project know that the changes and improvements never, ever stop rolling off the production line. It's become an obsession almost to match the compulsive nature of the game itself.

The issue isn't whether Football Manager is a good game or not anymore. Anyone who's lost literally years in Sports Interactive's life-sapping 'football RPG' series knows that no amount of FIFA Managers, LMA Managers or, ulp, Mickey Mouse Manager clones ever come close to approximating the depth and sense of immersion this lot routinely capture. It's a 9/10 game before you've even got it out of the shrink-wrapping, and whether you've given it a cursory 10, 20 or more hours, it's just tough - nigh on impossible in fact - to decide its true merits on the basis of a 'review's length' of time. Whether it deserves the elusive 10 out of 10 that the game ought to be getting is a subject that few can answer from the 'first impressions' of a debut season. This game that, after all, only reveals its charms, quirks and flaws after weeks and months of play, not hours. Let's be honest from the start - a review can only tell you so much about a game as oceanic as this, so cut us some slack on that basis.

What we can tell you, probably most helpfully, is what we made of the ton of new features and refinements ploughed into this year's version. First of all, it's important to stress that not all change is good. One of the mistakes SI has fallen into over the years is trying to sell each new version on the basis of so-called improvements. In assuming that more features makes for a better game, it has arguably made the game a fearsomely complex beast that's simply too daunting for the newcomer to fathom, and even a little confusing for the old hands making a comeback after a few seasons drying out their addiction.

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FM 2006 demo, new features

Moving the goalposts.

As noted in passing this morning, Football Manager 2006 will be hitting PCs and Macs ahead of schedule on October 21st and to help celebrate its completion Sports Interactive's hitched its shirt up over its head, run toward the crowd and flung a spanking new "gold demo" toward the spectators. You can grab it from various mirrors, of which we'll be one just as soon as we've completed the warm up (witlessness aside: when it's finished crawling toward our FTP).

FeatureFootball Manager 2006

Miles Jacobson on the Xbox 360 version.

Football Manager - whether by its current name or the one it used go by, Championship Manager - has long been considered the benchmark for the football management sub-genre. However it's never strayed too far from its PC roots - at least, its headlining editions never have. But that could be about to change with the release next spring of the Xbox 360 version of Football Manager 2006. It's fully-featured, and London-based developer Sports Interactive thinks it's going to do very well - and have very nice things to say in general about Microsoft's new console format. Hot on the heels of yesterday evening's announcement, we caught up with SI MD Miles Jacobson to ask him about it.

FM 2006's new features

Jan dealings will be in free patch.

Football Manager 2006 will be more verbose and realistic than ever when it's released for PCs and Macs this November 4th, according to the chaps at developer Sports Interactive. Of course, we thought, they would say that, but then we read the rest of their press release and their claims were given much support. Unlike insert-your-most-hated-club-here.

SEGA wants your face

For Football Manager 2006.

SEGA has announced plans to run the 'Face in the Game' competition once again - giving you the chance to see your very own head on the shoulders of a player in Football Manager 2006.

FM 2006 for PC and PSP!

New features, another platform.

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.