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Interview: A new vision for Football Manager 2013

Sports Interactive's Jacobson explains how his team is trying to appeal to all tastes

"I don't agree with them myself, but there are some people that say we have become too complicated for our own good," says Miles Jacobson, the studio director of Football Manager developer Sports Interactive.

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Sports Interactive studio director Miles Jacobson

There's no such thing as a 'safe project' in games development, but Jacobson and his team build annual instalments of a series that sits at number one on the PC chart for more weeks than any other position.

But the entertainment industries are transforming at rapid pace, with more devices and services than ever vying for customer attention. Jacobson and his team are adapting to this by building a Football Manager game that can be more accessible, and far less complicated, than previous instalments in the series.

"We have to entertain as many people as possible," Jacobson tells CVG in the interview below.

"The sales and reviews and feedback has been great from people who have time to play Football Manager. But some people just don't have the time to play. If we're not able to entertain as many people as possible, I think that's a bad thing."

The result of this endeavour is Football Manager Classic; an alternative and streamlined play mode available for free within Football Manager 13. More on this new approach can be found here.

In the Q&A below, Jacobson goes into more depth about the Classic mode, and discusses further opportunities for the FM series.


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CVG: Football Manager 2013 will likely launch after Windows 8 is released, so will it be available on all operating systems?
JACOBSON: Yeah the game will work on XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 via desktop mode, but it's not an Windows RT app so it won't run on the cheap Surface tablets that are coming out.

There's clearly been much resistance to Windows 8 from game developers and content creators. What's your view?
I'm currently using Windows 7 and I'm not planning on upgrading.

It appears that the initial response to the Classic version of the game has been highly positive.
Yeah and the idea is that, we know we have a hardcore fan base where people drop out and people jump in. We wanted to make a game for people who have dropped out, because they still want to play it but they just don't have the time. It's the same at the studio with some of the dev team, because they've got kids and all the rest of it, and they just don't have the time to play.

We just want to provide something that all people can play. But the response has been great - there's lots of people who want to try it out and of course we'll release a demo version of it soon.

With the full game, there's also much better multiplayer options in there. We're finally bringing our multiplayer offering into the 21st century.

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It seems that Football Manager is effectively being split into two - with a core version and a light version for different tastes.
Yeah and for us there's probably four versions. We also have Football Manager Handheld on iOS, which is effectively the Maltesers version of our game - "the lightest way to enjoy chocolate" - and we also have Football Manager Online, which will be coming out in [South] Korea.

Will Football Manager Online stay in South Korea?
We're not saying that it definitely won't come out anywhere else, but the initial launch is Korea only.

With regards to Football Manager Handheld, are you referring to a new version?
We will be brining out of Football Manager Handheld before Christmas on iOS and Android. I'm not sure if it's coming out on any other platforms. But we can't talk about it just yet, specifically because we don't know what the iPhone 5 is going to be like and don't know what the feature set yet.

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