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Live Championship Manager interview

Beautiful Game answers you. Plus new screens.

Beautiful Game Studios boss Roy Meredith has been answering your Championship Manager 2009 questions live on Eurogamer today.

He's been tackling all sorts, from release dates to demos to Football Manager - the inevitable yard-stick. Thank you to Roy "Of the Rovers" Meredith for joining us, and thank you to all of you for your questions.

As promised, here are the exclusive Championship Manager 2009 screenshots given to Eurogamer.

What follows is the full transcript of our live interview, with the earliest questions and answers presented first.

Our live coverage of this event has finished.

A% Super Moderating Hero: And we're off! First things first, Roy - can you tell us a bit about yourself and why you're so famous, please?

A% Roy Meredith: Not sure that famous is quite right, but nice to hear it said. I've worked in music, film and games EA for over 7 years most recently, working on a wide number of titles (Potter, Burnout, FIFA etc). Been here at BGS for 18 months. I'm often asked why I came here, and truth is I've been playing CM since Jan '95 and it's the game that I've loved the most throughout my life. I'm also a massive football fan, and follow loads of teams in different countries so the opportunity to work on CM was too good to resist.

Robert Purchese

A% Super Moderating Hero: When will Championship Manager 2009 be released? And will we get a demo?

A% Roy Meredith: The crunch question something we've been asked loads recently

We're not announcing the date for the new CM yet until we're absolutely ready we have a date in mind and are working towards this solidly. We will be announcing the date very shortly...

We are definitely doing a demo and it features something very new and exciting, but more on this when we announce the release date.

Robert Purchese

A% Super Moderating Hero: What sort of date are we looking at? This year? Why are you being so cagey about it?

A% Roy Meredith: It's not cagey-ness. We decided at the beginning of dev that a lot of changes needed to be made and if that took 18 months to get the game where we needed it to be then so be it. We're almost there, but we're not going to release (or announce) until we're 100 per cent positive of the date.

Robert Purchese

Q%Danbojones%28405% Which football team do you support, Roy? I think that's of paramount importance here.

A% Roy Meredith: Right you asked for it, in no particular order -

Tottenham, Chester City, Brentford, Hammarby, Tromso, Schlke 4, AC Milan, Barcelona, Caen, Deportivo Wanka (Peru) [! - Edit], Shaktar, Fenerbhace

Robert Purchese

A% cm0102fan from official forum: Can Roy go into more details on the matchday experience and the different options available?

Also from a recent preview, it was stated that CM09 will bring back the fun between match days. This is a very promising comment, as from playing other recently released rival management games I've lost the will to carry on after clicking the same repetitive options over and over again. How will CM09 "bring back the fun"?

A% Roy Meredith: Blimey- short question...

Matchday experience and training are both centered around the 3D engine. The premise of the matchday experience is that the manager should have total control and flexibility over their team, and this is reflected within the flow of the game on match days

Regarding the fun between matches key to this is giving the manager the opportunity to influence their teams performance and results via preparation throughout the week. Training has gone through major overhauls, so that the results of training have a definite impact on the players and the team as a whole. Set-piece creator, training matches (between the A and B teams) and individual player drills offer a great deal of variety in improving your teams performance and skills.

Robert Purchese

Q%scooterwolf%152470% Will CM09 incorporate the 09/10 season? And who's going to win the Champions League next week?

A% Roy Meredith: All the data will be bang up to date for the next version.

And Barcelona how could I say any different. 2-1!

Robert Purchese

Q%Ultra_Manager08%325910% Is there a danger that management simulations can become too factual, too graphy, too statistical - nothing more than number crunching. How do you instill a sense of personality into the game? Will you be able to take a small club all the way to the Champions League final? Will there be a sense of fantasy?

A% Roy Meredith: Yep totally agree. Great question!

The attraction of football management games is the depth and accuracy of the database, and this is obviously statistic and number driven, however the key to the future of this genre, I believe, is how we can evolve them to have that greater sense of personality, whilst allowing managers to have a very personal relationship with the game.

In addition, the games need to offer a much greater degree of variety as per a previous question it's essential that players don't feel they're merely repeating the same old things within the game

Regarding the last bit of question yes, but only if you're good enough.

Robert Purchese

A% Super Moderating Hero: How do you approach development when there's a genre-dominator like Football Manager out there?

A% Roy Meredith: Fairly straight-forward answer. We focus on making our game as great as we can and offering a genuine competitor in the market-place, which we haven't lived up to for a number of years. We need to make a product that offers points of difference, key innovation, new features, and a quality offering.

There is no reason at all why the football management genre shouldn't enjoy two high-quality successful titles every other genre does. As a big fan of the football management genre, I'd certainly want this.

Robert Purchese

Q%RedSparrows%84376% Let's be direct. What have you got that FM hasn't?

A% Roy Meredith: Featurewise quite a bit. Set-piece creator designing your own free kicks and corners which will then be seen in matches. Practice matches the first time that anybody can control both teams on the pitch essential for building a perfect first team squad and also for trying out triallists. Scouting Network building your player knowledge via scouting systems in targeted countries. There's more including a unique feature which we're not ready to announce yet, all of these combine to give an alternative offering that's different to FM.

Robert Purchese

Q%Vertical Stand%2319% Can you tell players to dive like Ronaldo or get defenders to take out Ronaldo?

A% Roy Meredith: Within the matchday there's lots of things you can do to opposing players and also instructions you can give to your own team members. 'Going in hard'; 'Take on'; 'wind up' are all examples of specific player instructions you can use on the opposition (for the whole team or just targeting individuals).

Robert Purchese

Q%backpackant%325894% Training sounds like fun, but when you've done 10 seasons, this can probably get a bit tedious. Will there be an option to allow your assistant to run training after a while? And will the assistant help take care of other areas too?

A% Roy Meredith: Yes to both (nice and quick) you can allocate training and other areas to the assistant manager right from the beginning.

Set piece creator already has some pre-loaded free kicks that you can use (designed by Mervyn Day and Graham Poll amongst others), if you dont want to design your own.

Missed something from the last question you can tell your players to 'go to ground' encouraging them to dive at appropriate opportunities.

Robert Purchese

Q%philreeduk%166745% What is your view on Football Manager Live? Do you think some of the multiplayer aspects could be iterated on and seen in a future CM game? Are there any online options in CM09?

A% Roy Meredith: Played FML at the beginning and was impressed with what they've done it's a really good version of their game but it's something as a player that I'd want to spend a lot of time on personally, which I don't have time for right now.

I'd love to get a CM online game up and running properly in the near future but that's not for now.

There are no multiplayer aspects in CM we're focusing on making it a great single-player experience before we go down that route.

Robert Purchese

A% Super Moderating Hero: Roy - not Roy from popular telly show Catchphrase - has given us some screenshots that we'll publish after the interview. Thanks, Roy!

Robert Purchese

Q%scooterwolf%152470% What will be the PC Specs for the final version of the game? and are there any plans for a PS3/360 version as both consoles are missing a Football Management game. What do you think about World of Warcraft and Quake Live and Battlefield Heroes and their work-on-old-PC approach? Won't they potentially reach more people?

A% Roy Meredith: Game optimisation is going on at the moment, so can't confirm specs yet.

I've no plans for putting out a console version of CM at the moment, and not sure that football management games would ever lend themselves to PS3 or X360, so I remain quite cynical about the prospects for CM on these platforms, but where we feel the game is suited to the platform (i-phone for instance) then we'll definitely release on those formats.

Really like the old PC approach but we've never been an intensive spec game so it's not really a major issue for us.

Robert Purchese

A% Ponting from the official forum: Why has there been so much silence from BGS since the delay? There's been loads of threads on the forum but they either get locked or go unnoticed. Why does it take a Eurogamer interview to make us heard?

A% Roy Meredith: Truth is we've been so busy with the new features and implementation, and we never want to announce anything until we're absolutely ready to discuss every detail and to show stuff in all it's glory.

It's frustrating for us as well, because our community is so important to us and we want to talk about our game. We don't want to have a radio-silence, but there's times when we can't just talk about certain things.

The comment about locked threads isn't really fair we only really lock threads when there's a lot of duplication.

Why Eurogamer? we did a Q&A on the forums a couple of months ago, and will do so again in June, but we also wanted to speak to fans and other gamers who aren't on our forums and Eurogamer are a very strong partner for us to do this with.

Robert Purchese

Q%cmoutsider%325936% Can you give us a demo release date?

A% Roy Meredith: No - very soon is all I can say. You'll understand why when you see the new approach to the demo...

Robert Purchese

Q%knownspace%249669% Any new features in the way of managerial "mind games"? We've seen this season that there are those that can play them and those that try to play them and fail miserably. Will we have the opportunity to pull out lists of "facts" to read to the press is what I'm really asking I suppose!

A% Roy Meredith: No, not this year. The attention of the game is around the features we've announced already (and the other to come!). I'd love to do 'mind games' but it's a major piece of work and we wouldn't have been able to do it justice this time round.

Robert Purchese

seasons?Q%yarko_gadget%325912% Can we twist your arm into telling us something nobody knows about CM09 yet? If not, when will all be revealed?

A% Roy Meredith: My PR is sitting here with a thermo-nuclear device and a rottweiler - there's no way she'll let me announce the new stuff or even hint at it. Please be patient - we're as desperate to tell people as you are to hear it, but it will all be revealed very shortly.

Robert Purchese

A% spursfanatic from the official forum: How can the CM community help and influence the development of the series?

A% Roy Meredith: By continuing what they're doing already. We read the suggestion threads on our forums every day, and we consider every suggestion that's made. I'd encourage people to carry on doing this as much as they can.

We do listen to suggestions proven out by our inclusion of the home leagues this year, following a campaign on our forums (led by Ultra-manager08).

I'd also encourage people to join the research network and contribute to our database it's hugely importance to us and the backbone of our game, and we are growing the network numbers rapidly, but would always encourage more members. If you're interested in doing this please see our website for details of how to apply.

Robert Purchese

Q%Banksy%30690% Do you have anything to do with Championship Manager on the iPhone? Are you happy with it? Is this a serious focus for you?

A% Super Moderating Hero: Yes we produce it alongside Dynamo Games in Scotland, so we're very involved

We're really pleased with the i-phone game. It's received some great reviews and is already number 4 in the sports section of the charts after only 2 weeks. We're also the biggest selling sports management game on the iPhone

The great thing about the App Store is that developers get feedback directly from consumers this means that we're able to look at how we can improve and perfect the game experience. As a result we are now building an update for the game which will be released soon.

Robert Purchese

A% Super Moderating Hero: Roy Meredith has to go now, but we've got time for one more question. Would you rather have lasers for eyes or be able to turn invisible? And why?

A% Roy Meredith: Easy - invisible. Means I could be the second goalkeeper for Chester City and stop them conceding record numbers of goals. Mind you, they're so bad that it would probably need 4 or 5 invisible goalkeepers to improve their score-lines...

Robert Purchese

A% Super Moderating Hero: Thanks, Roy of the Rovers!

Robert Purchese