Sports Interactive's preparing Football Manager 2007 for release this Christmas, and aims to deliver over 100 new features across PC, Mac, Intel Mac, Xbox 360 and PSP.
New features include setting up feeder clubs, a revamp of the youth team structure, an easier to use default skin, reworked team talks (including pre-match team talks), and manipulation of the media to address your own players - and also to try and unsettle star players at other clubs around the world with a few words of pointed admiration.
SI says it's been focusing on fan feedback for the Xbox 360 version too, helping it to deliver a user interface that offers a joypad-friendly alternative to the PC without sacrificing the game's noted depth.
Meanwhile, PSP title Football Manager Handheld will have more playable leagues, features, and network play - something absent from the first game, which came out earlier this year.
With the role of feeder clubs and the media's place in "tapping up" rows under greater scrutiny in today's football world, both features are likely to whet the appetites of FM fans keen to adopt the tactics of Wenger, Mourinho and others.
Feeder clubs will work as you might expect, says SI, allowing you to establish your small team as one that receives loan players from larger clubs or, if you're already on the big stage, to set yourself up to farm youngsters out to gain match experience. You'll have first-option on feeder club players in that case, as well as the option to schedule friendlies - you just ask your board for a feeder relationship and choose from the list compiled.
Meanwhile, player interaction through the media will allow you to praise your own players or hand down harsh rebukes, but it's the potential to make deliberately worded comments about world stars that's likely to tickle most football fans - particularly after enduring sagas like the one involving Ukranian star Shevchenko, who eventually joined Chelsea this summer after spending more than a year playing hard to get in the press.
Elsewhere, revamped youth teams now have full squads, offering a much better system for regeneration of players in the long-term game, SI says, while scouting offers more information on players and teams - with what's described as a more realistic methodology for player-scouting.
Naturally SI plans to reveal a lot more between now and Christmas, and managing director Miles Jacobson claims FM 2007 will offer the developer's "most authentic football experience yet" - paying particular attention to the new skin and its associated benefits.
"There will be a new, easy to use default skin, as well as improved hints and tips throughout the game. More in-depth feedback from your assistant manager and coaches, plus interaction with any player worldwide makes this an unmissable and very user friendly experience, and our best football game by a country mile," he said.
Expect more on FM 2007 in the coming weeks and months.
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