Throwback – the date is September 24th 2020, and after much commentary and deliberation about Football Manager 2021 potentially being delayed, postponed and at times rumoured to be in jeopardy altogether due to Covid 19 restrictions, a glum year all round is jolted back to life by the heroic announcement from Sports Interactive that this year’s version of the game will in fact be released as planned and most importantly, just in time for Christmas.
Not much was mentioned about new features, licensing, leagues, match engine or gameplay in general aside from the sleek new kits and colour scheme which we love here at WSFM towers – however shockwaves rippled through the Football Manager community at the announcement that not only will the game be available on PC and Switch as well as the usual Mobile and Touch versions, but will also return to Xbox for the first time in over a decade since Football Manager 2008 (context: Lionel Messi was a 20 year old hot prospect in that version who could only be nullified by the wonderkid that was Anthony Vanden Borre).
Fast forward to Monday 12th October – Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just made some important announcements about new Covid 19 restrictions, however this isn’t the announcement people are talking about. The big news is, Football Manager have released their first feature announcement trailer, and needless to say the team at Sports Interactive have come up trumps yet again.
If you are in any way like our friend Brian and slightly overwhelmed by the abundance of features, graphics and absolute video production mastery from the Sports Interactive content team, below is a quick synopsis of what we know so far in terms of Football Manager 2021 features.
Many FM players have trust or control issues, and at times our scouts don’t do a lot to appease the situation. The introduction of Recruitment Meetings appear to give us additional input and control over the types of players our scouts will both source and recommend – hopefully gone are the days where your Chief Scout recommends a 33-year-old Left Back when you already have a worldie and a wonderkid in that position!
Something makes me think this little guy could have a big future in the FM community – representing all that is good and pure in the world, or in the Football Manager world at least! Player interactions have been given a completely new dimension of reality with the addition of body language in the conversation; we all know how a 121 meeting with a player can take a sudden turn for the worst at the flick of a button, and hopefully this functionality will enable us to keep morale high, motivate and spur on your key player to kick on a notch in your next game, or most importantly convince him to stay when other clubs are sniffing around – we’ve all been there 👀.
This could be the Football Manager equivalent of Tinder. How often have you pursued a player or played hardball with a club to negotiate an acceptable transfer fee, only to find out that the player has no interest in joining at the contract screen? Now you can approach the player’s agent to identify whether or not the player is open to a transfer that the current time – if the response is positive, it might make you think twice about asking said player to sack their agent later down the line when it comes to contract renewals 😏.
It would appear that Press Conferences are about to get a hell of a lot more real – the trailer eludes to multiple members of the press being in the media room, upon which you can select which member of the press or media publication you would like to receive questions from and perhaps more importantly who you wish to ignore! We all know a certain United States President that might enjoy this feature…
“We should switch to a shorter passing style”.
Changes to Short Passing Style.
5 minutes later.
“We should switch to a more direct passing style”.
Unless we’ve hired Ant & Dec or the Chuckle brothers to be our Assistant Manager, nobody needs to be this confused right? It appears that pre-match tactical advice at least has been given a makeover, hopefully making it more intuitive and user-friendly as many of us tend to ignore this advice due to lack of trust and/or control issues. In the Assistant Manager we trust?
XG (EXPECTED GOALS)
Many have campaigned and advocated for this in the past, and finally it’s here. xG i.e. Expected Goals basically allows you to more critically assess just how clinical your attackers are and overall how likely you may be to score and win games based on how and where you tend to have more shots at goal. By assigning an Expected Goal rating to chances from different areas of the field, it enables you to measure the quality of goal-scoring chances that are created against the likelihood of them being scored. While the trailer leaves much to the imagination, it would appear that the Data Analyst will now present a more in depth illustration in terms of goal-scoring opportunities and statistics based on your team’s tactic, strategy and playing style. Stats nerds, ASSEMBLE.
While there is no mention of changes or additions to the match engine (yet!), it appears that the in-match presentation has been freshened up, with noticeable changes to the match score, menu and dialogue boxes that appear – no complaints here, we like what we see so far.
We all love a good cliffhanger. While there is no official confirmation as yet, the appearance of Leicester City’s official logo in the trailer suggests that some form of licensing agreement has been reached. Is it with the club specifically or is there more to this than meets the eye? Might we see Premier League licensing in the near future?
There’s only one way to find out – Football Manager 2021 is out on Tuesday 24th November 2020, with the beta expected to drop a couple of weeks beforehand. Your season starts here.
Be sure to follow WeStreamFM on Twitter for reaction to the latest FM21 updates – you can also get involved in the hype by joining the WeStreamFM Discord where you can find hundreds of like minded FM enthusiasts as well as some of your favourite WeStreamFM streamers, bloggers and YouTubers all gearing up for the next edition of the beautiful game.