Football Manager 2014

It’s that time of year again sports fans. The football season has kicked off, the transfer window has snapped shut and now it’s time for the procession of football games to roll out and engage us for the season, the latest of which is Football Manager 14, which now has a release date.

Sports Interactive have announced that the latest title in the football simulation franchise will be released on October 31st and have hinted at some new features to go with this release date.

The game will be released for PC, Mac, and for the first time, Linux. Pre-orders will receive access to a beta version of the game two weeks prior to the release date on the 31st.

It is hardly a surprising date as the release date for FM games are easier to predict than a starting XI from Paolo Di Canio, it is normally around the end of October or start of November time. What is interesting are the new features that were announced alongside the date.

I have been a fan of this series since way back in the Championship Manager days, before the publisher and developer went their separate ways, however recently I’ve become slightly disenfranchised, feeling that innovation was lacking in new titles.

Sure the last title slightly broke this trend through new gameplay mechanics and the welcome inclusion of Challenge Mode, which was a welcome addition and something that was gleamed from the handheld version of game, which is even more guilty of copying and pasting the layout of games.

The new features of FM14 initially sound like the usual stuff SI tweak to improve the gameplay experience, stuff like more sophisticated interaction with your board, players and the media. There’s the standard boast of an ‘Improved Match Engine’ and the predictable Enhanced User Interface. There is one feature however that seems to break the mould, and may break the predictability of FM titles along with it.

This stand out feature is the integration of the game with Steam Workshop, which means that players will be able to create, modify and share even more FM content. SI have been kind enough to include FM Editor with titles for a while now but integration with Steam Workshop takes aspects from that editor and improve it tenfold.

Players can build custom competitions and make them available to download for the entire FM community. Challenges can also be built and modified, to try and decipher who is the virtual Alex Ferguson and who is more Mark Hughes. On top of this you can build fancy photo and logo packs to add an air of personalisation to the game.

Once players build this sort of content it will be placed on Steam and available for other gamers to download for free. Football Manager games have always been impressive on the continuity front, well as far as football games go that is, but it looks as though this new feature will increase that even further. If you get bored after you’ve guided Accrington Stanley to Champions League glory you can look for new content for the game, which has been built by the community, to keep the gameplay fresh.

As you can tell I’m excited by the Steam Workshop aspect of this game and hope that the FM community buy into the feature and produce some great content to keep the game updated, interesting and challenging.

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