Football Manager is one of the most successful sport games of all time and the 2016 edition is expected to be one of the best yet. While the franchise has always performed well in terms of sales, the game has lacked dramatic changes in recent years and the series has been criticised for developing editions that are 'too similar' to previous versions.
"There is also a new 'Create a club' mode, a 'Fantasy draft' mode to challenge your mates, and cross-saving capabilities to allow you to play FM16 on your tablet and your computer."
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The 2015 edition, which was released in November last year, received plenty of criticism after a distinct lack of improvements to the game. To the credit of game developers Sports Interactive, they have addressed a range of those criticisms in the improvements that have already been announced for Football Manager 2016.
These improvements include the ability to create your own customised touchline character to appear on the sidelines during matches, more detailed interactions with board members and backroom staff, a Match of the Day-style highlights reel of each week's games, and Prozone match analysis.
There is also a new 'Create a club' mode, a 'Fantasy draft' mode to challenge your mates, and cross-saving capabilities to allow you to play FM16 on your tablet and your computer.
However, there have been a number of major suggestions for the 2016 edition that have not yet been covered in the announcements made so far. Here are just a few of the key improvements that could feature in future editions of Football Manager (fingers crossed they are all in the 2016 version!).
Press conferences are already a feature of the game but they currently feel like a token gesture and need drastic improvement. How amazing would it be if what happened in the meeting with the media had a significant impact on the dynamics of the game around you? You can already stroll into your press conference, but also imagine the feeling of there being an element of risk. Your every word could depend on keeping the journalists and fans off your back. Or, what if you said the wrong thing and it upset the chairman or a player? It would be fantastic if a player's motivation, for example, was influenced by what you said, or did not say, to the media. Picture the scene, you are sat next to Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney, discussing his latest goal drought and how he plans on improving his game. Would he be happy?
Fortunately, this is one area of the game that is set to change for the better. Press conferences on Football Manager 16 are going to break with the trend of repetitive questions and generic responses. Players will need to have their wits about them to handle members of the press, who will ask questions that are more relevant and in keeping with the context of your progress in the game. What's more, unemployed managers will be able to speak to the media to boost their chances of getting a job.
The addition of youth academies would help to create an extra dimension to the lives of every avid Football Manager fan. As we are all aware, players are brought into the game at 14 years old but the developers must consider that, in the modern era, football clubs are beginning to develop a homegrown crop of young talent throughout academy setups. For example, Barcelona's La Masia - which has seen the likes of Lionel Messi rise through the ranks - is just one of the great youth academies that could be introduced into the game.
The majority of top-flight clubs, particularly in England, have their own, individual academy setups that help to showcase the best up-and-coming talents in the club. While there wouldn't be a need to see statistics for all youth team players, you could perhaps see an estimation for their development (i.e. an 'A', 'B', 'C' rating system) or likewise. This would be beneficial for those managers who like to give the younger, fringe members of their squad an opportunity to prove their worth in the first team.
This is one of the biggest "pet peeves" for many Football Manager users. Some teams are still without their full titles, others aren't even acknowledged by their legitimate names. For too long, the likes of Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach have been called Gelsenkirchen and BMG. It's time for change. This decreases the realism of game play, particularly if you enjoy controlling a team in the Bundesliga. If you are an English or Spanish side, you can put up with it. But if you are a team in Germany's top flight, this becomes annoying very quickly.
While there are ways, shortcuts and even fixes to solve these issues, it would be much easier if these were already incorporated into the game. It would also be nice to see logos, league names and player photos to appear immediately from the very start. While the actual gameplay and graphics aren't a major problem, users tend to find the smaller parts of the game remain a long way from being perfect. These could certainly be improved.
Although this mode would be drifting directly away from the whole concept of "Football MANAGER", it really would be a brilliant opportunity to control the entirety of the running of a football club. It would be intriguing - sensational even - to take the role of owner and completely manage the finances, transfer dealings and staff budgeting throughout the season. It would also be kind of fun to sack a manager - even though we all hate it when we are the ones to lose our jobs!
However, there would be plenty of other features that you could enhance in chairman/owner mode. You could expand stadiums as and when you please, increase ticket prices and sponsorship deals, the developers could even introduce a "fan factor" that shows current levels of support that you may or may not be receiving from the supporters. While this may currently be a step too far for Football Manager 2016, it would be a great addition for future editions of the game.