Interviews// Miles Jacobson and Oliver Collyer: Football Manager Live

It is by no means set in stone

Posted 20 Apr 2007 12:00 by
Player ageing is another key Football Manager Live concept, as Jacobson tells me, ?In this game world, each season last for a month in real-time, so after a year of playing the game, you won?t know many of the players in the game world ? they?ll be made-up players generated by the game. The plan is that when we launch the game, we?ll have different types of game worlds for different types of players. So if you only want to play with real players, you?ll be able to find a game world where there isn?t any progression in time.?

Much of Football Manager Live takes place in surroundings that will be familiar to inveterate web-surfers ? the main area in which you set up play resembles a chat-room.

Jacobson elucidates, ?From here, you can challenge anyone to a match. You can set up user-defined competitions ? for example, against your ten mates. There will also be official competitions, as well as friendly ones. You?ll get more points for winning them than for friendlies. We can have leagues and knock-outs involving as many teams as you want, which can be invite-only or open to everybody. The world rankings set your budget, so the higher up you are, the more money you get.?

Prize money is paid out every day, which gives an incentive to constantly keep refreshing your team. Incidentally, as substitutions have to be made, your team essentially consists of two players for each position.

With Football Manager Live?s nature as an MMO in mind, Sports Interactive had to devise an anti-levelling mechanism, which is pretty simple but, hopefully, effective.

Miles tells me, ?If you play just a few games per week, you?ll get more points for each win, but you?ll lose more points each time you lose a game than someone who plays a lot will.?

Oliver Collyer adds, ?This system is taken from the world of chess, so hopefully, it will work well.?

The eBay-style part of the game swings into play when you start seeking players owned by others, Jacobson explains, ?The transfer system takes the form of wage auctions. If I was to bid for a player without a team, it would set off a 24-hour auction; everybody else in the game world who has that player shortlisted will know that I?ve bid for that player and can come into the auction.?

In terms of the games between players they are, unsurprisingly, just like the games played in Football Manager, with the same engine and means of setting up your team ? you can even import your tactics from FM.

A few rules have been added because of the real-time nature of the game, though, Jacobson confirms, ?When you submit a team, you have five minutes to set it up, two minutes to change it at half-time and a one-minute time-out you can call during the match. When you?re playing a competition, you will have matches scheduled to be played by a certain time. If they haven?t been played by then because, say, your opponent is out of the country, you?ll get 24 hours to play your match against an AI manager instead. You?ll get points fines if you start missing a lot of matches.?

Overall, Football Manager Live looks pretty impressive ? it has that reassuringly familiar (and utterly addictive) Football Manager gameplay, but with the added spice of playing against human opposition ? indeed, Jacobson mentions that you will be able to add spice by betting on matches using in-game money.

Sports Interactive was keen to stress that, as the game won?t be out for ten months, it is by no means set in stone ? fear not, we?re going to get involved in the beta programme and will keep you regularly updated.

Jacobson says that the final business model hasn?t yet been set, although he expects it to be subs-based, with free client software. The client will be pretty small ? currently 11Mb on the PC and 15Mb on the Mac ? the idea being that you can carry it around with you on a USB stick. And it could eventually appear on other platforms; according to Jacobson, ?We?d love it to be on the Xbox 360, PSP and even the DS ? we?re not discounting any platforms at the moment.?

A football MMO could just be the perfect game for those of us who find orcs, goblins and their ilk a complete turn-off.
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Nicholas Hyett 20 Apr 2007 15:47
I think someone should start talking to, they are online and have been since i first started college at least 4 years ago. It is the same exact system, you manage your team everyday and are playing against other human people who have managed their team. Look it up.
The Absinthe Review Network 21 Apr 2007 01:47
"In recent years, SI has shown signs of diversifying from its status as a single-product company, albeit with ice hockey and baseball management sims with no appeal outside of North America"

Um, is if there is supposedly no appeal outside of North America, then I'm assuming they were actually released here, right? I mean, the ONLY sport management sims I've EVER known of in the US is the annual horse jockey managers and the recently released NFL Head Coach. I think there may have been a soccer management sim on the PC a while back. But I've NEVER seen an NHL/MLB sim title here...

If any titles were released and SOMEHOW escaped my extensive gaming radar, let me know in the forum, as I may actually like to try an NHL management sim...
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Marc Duffy 21 Apr 2007 06:50
NHL Eastside Hockey Manager
Gary Savage 15 May 2007 11:15
I played Sunday League for a bit but it doesn't even come close to this....if theres no bugs it will be amazing how can it fail?? I dont like the idea that someone can sit there 24 hours a day and will pick up more points than someone who has a life outside of computer games...Maybe if they had a special "game world" for people who work 9-5 i.e. results are only registered in the evening otherwise the people who spend all day at home have the advantage
Alexander 21 May 2007 09:55
5/5 is the lamest game ever and i think that FML will be a success even though i thought that users should be able to play in some worlds with only real teams instead of only fantasy...
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