Sports Interactive is no longer just a video game studio. Its database makes it a benchmark of the planet soccer.
The virtual pitch is usually divided between PES and FIFA. Year after year, season after season, the same speech is repeated when the summer heat squeezes. However, there is a large sector of the community that waits patiently from the bench. When everyone is on FUT or MyClub, coaches from around the world approach the monitor to direct the course of their club to the millimeter.
Football Manager transcends among video game enthusiasts. More and more players break their fears to enter a world completely different from the rest. Once you have your tie ready, you will not miss your club project. Less than a month we are separated for the arrival of the 2020 edition, which we have been able to try exclusively nationally here, in FreeGameTips. We went to the Sports Interactive offices to see firsthand their own theater of dreams.
Beyond the video game
Sports Interactive is one of the great jewels of British development. Since its founding in 1994, the company has been immersed in the creation of soccer simulators with several of the most famous producers in the industry. The short collaboration with Electronic Arts gave way to his current travel companion: Sega. It's hard to imagine a future without being united.
“When I joined the team we were half of what the studio is at the moment,” says Steven Davidson, features producer, during the presentation of the highlights of this installment. And it is that from outside no glimpse of his presence in the London frame is appreciated at all. It is when we go up to the third floor of the complex when the smell of grass begins to sprout.
In England, future generations of footballers are cared for.
Strolling through Sports Interactive is a pleasant sensation, almost of communion among its workers. After passing through a small reception where they treasure their precious treasures achieved along their trajectory, we see a large room in which a central road separated two seas of desks, as if it were the sides of a football field.
On their website they emphasize the breakdown of traditional hierarchies: "There is no one in Sports Interactive who has the specific title of" designer. " Everyone in the studio can be involved in the design of our games. ” That spirit moves throughout the office. No one is more than anyone; The last word is from Miles Jacobson.
A Batfa chairs the waiting room.
Miles Jacobson is perhaps the most responsible for the entire company has achieved the milestones marked during all these years. Through it the integrity of the ideas, concepts and results pass after each edition. It is also who decides, along with the rest of the team, what improvements will focus on their next job. "We have more than 700 ideas to develop," says Steven himself. A brainstorming that accumulates since the last five years and that does not stop growing.
When you spend time chatting and listening to those responsible, you feel that everyone has in common their passion for Football Manager. “We devour the game. We return home and continue playing because we are passionate about the game. ” Putting yourself in the skin of the player, of the user who goes to his trusted store to take his money, allows you to see the full spectrum of the results. “Miles always looks for ways to keep pushing. You spend hours in front of the game, ”says one of the workers.
A multitude of dedicated shirts preside over the walls of Sports Interactive.
But there is another equally important side within Sports Interactive. Although the strict part of the videogame manages to monopolize many followers, it is in its database where they obtain a large part of their income. "We want to be the best manager in the world and at the same time the best database," says Luke Warrington, assistant research coordinator. Its network leaves in diapers the best structure of the most leading clubs on the planet.
The number of registered players rises above 807,000, thanks to the constant and thorough work of more than 1000 scouters. "We receive dozens of emails daily from people who offer to browse their favorite clubs," he says. And it is that anyone from the sofa at home, whether amateur and professional, can participate in the conglomerate formed around Football Manager. The screening of information goes through the hands of head scouters, who decide if the information is truthful or needs modifications.
Gatwick Airport gets dark on our return.
Data that helps teams from all over the world knock on your door. “Many clubs come to make specific orders. We do a search according to your requirements and in a matter of hours you have the resulting options on the table ”. An example is a club that wanted to look for players with a Belgian passport under 21 years of age. "The numbers speak for themselves."
Therefore, Sports Interactive, in the words of several of its leaders, is "more than a video game company."
Hard way of the coach
After knowing the internal ins and outs, we have to put ourselves at the forefront of our own project. At this point we are not going to discover what Football Manager is; The franchise speaks for itself. The number of users that make up their community is so high that it could even be said that they are an active part of the annual development. The 2020 edition brings a multitude of improvements that will make the game a much more complete experience, from the grassroots to the seniority of those who make up our team.
All objectives have been remodeled through the club vision menu. Now, from the high spheres we will be imposed several goals to achieve in the first five years. This long-term roadmap allows us to adapt our work, taking into account at all times what we will be required as professionals for years, regardless of our period of contractual relationship (we play to be renewed).
This club vision responds to the need to root the personality of each squad from the moment we enter the president's office. The study wanted to emphasize the small moments, even in the dialogues that mark the character of a joint passion. Now, more than ever, we will feel the responsibility behind us.
Responsibilities represented within the philosophy of the club. If we are, for example, the Soccer Club Barcelona, we will be required to play in certain specific ways. We cannot arrive and completely change the style of touch and direct offense that the Valverde box has. The board will remain vigilant at all times. The results are not always everything; There are times that how matters. If not, we already know where we should go.
Another of the great advances in structure is found in the development center. In it we can calibrate in detail all the young talents we have in our power, both in the first team and in the quarry, even those who are assigned. Having a complete and detailed tab of the whole future of the club will allow us not only to modify the individual performance plan, but we can also see potential, possible income and the calculation of when it will reach its fullness.
The way we handle the quarry will influence negotiations with other future promises. If we are left, nobody will want to come to form; If we take care of it, we can become a power of rough diamonds at the cost of greater investment. In each of the aspects a balance is required, and we can only achieve that with absolute dedication.
These first steps have allowed us to see that Football Manager 2020 is a perfect entry for new players. Beyond the numerous tutorials, in this installment we wanted to modify the behavior of the staff to serve with greater utility in all sections of the team. Do you want to delegate the medical management of the team? Do it, you can take the reins at any time. The same with all the management of the template, etc. If you only want to dedicate yourself to maintaining high morale, you have a free way.
The best impression regarding last year we get with the changes in the graphic aspect of the matches in real time. All modeling and animations have been designed from scratch to provide greater credibility to the representation of the meetings. Everything has its nuances, that is, Football Manager does not aim at any time to reach the levels of realism that reach the other two great football titles; He doesn't look for it either. But it is true that the change is appreciated, especially to those who enjoy watching their staff roll.
Becoming a coach goes beyond sitting on the board. It is a psychological task that requires coordinating many different profiles to maintain the same group harmony. If a player does not play enough, his morale will fall, which will have an impact on his performance. The depth it reaches in this regard is such that we are even told which players can influence others. Everything is measured to the millimeter.
The best manager heats up in the band
Football Manager 2020 does not disappoint. It offers its best offer gathered all these years to take the options at our disposal a little further. There is no doubt, after an hour and a half behind the screen, of its quality. Sports Interactive demonstrates one more year the reasons why they are the kings of football management.