Last week we flew to London to the Sports Interactive studios to try out the new iteration of the most famous football manager in the world. Football Manager 2023, arriving on November 8 on PC, Xbox and PS5, with the build we tested that was practically the final one, net of some small corrections that will be made in recent weeks. Without further ado, we are ready to tell you what are the most interesting news that this new chapter brings as a dowry.
Squad planner and UEFA licenses
A new section appears this year on our manager’s dashboard, called Squad Planner. Here we will be able to analyze the team role by role, sorting the players according to their ability to fill a specific position on the pitch. The real gem in this sense is that we can also include in the analysis players who are under contract with other clubs and who maybe we are willing to buy.
This allows us to see concretely how any new purchases would fit into our squad and in which positions they could be more useful. Furthermore, the Squad Planner not only allows us to analyze the current situation, but also offers us a projection of the following season and the one after it, with relative estimates of growth (or decline) of the players, including those we would like to buy.
Basically the section does not tell us anything really new but clearly summarizes a flood of data that the game has always made available, but all to be researched and studied without being able to benefit from this immediacy. It will also be possible to consult a convenient screen where you can see which players are growing, which have reached their maximum potential and which ones have taken the avenue of the sunset.
For what was our experience in the few hours available, we can say that once you try the Squad Planner section it becomes difficult to do without it. For this new edition of Football Manager, Sports Interactive also wanted to focus strongly on the licensing front, winning those of the three UEFA competitions: Conference League, Europa League and Champions League.
These licenses bring with them the official graphics before, during and after each cup match and even during the draws. The boxes used for the awards in the field during the finals were then faithfully reproduced in 3D, while the patch of the tournament in which they are playing is applied to the uniforms of the participating teams.
The icing on the cake is the reproduction of the official anthem of the competition as the teams enter the field. They may seem like outline elements, but all this care in recreating the atmosphere of the European cups is a breath of fresh air in a game that, by its nature, based mainly on data processing, always risks being a bit aseptic to this point of view.
The role of agents
On the occasion of this visit to Sports Interactive’s London studios we had the opportunity to chat with some of the game’s developers, who explained to us that the role of agents in Football Manager 2023 is much more relevant than in the past (here the review by Football Manager 2022).
In the time available to us it was difficult to understand the extent of these changes having faced only one transfer market session, but we have already had the opportunity to notice an important news: when we are interested in a player, before starting contacts with the club that holds the card, we can contact his agent, who – in addition to informing us of the availability of his client to evaluate a transfer – will give us an estimate of the economic requests that the company that owns the card could make. An excellent solution that allows the player to avoid wasting time on impossible goals or burning potential market opportunities with unreasonable offers.
Supporters and other improvements
What makes football one of the most popular sports in the world is also the great passion with which the fans support their teams and this the guys at Sports Interactive know very well. For this reason they have put all their knowledge on the pitch to make the relationship between fans and clubs as realistic as possible. The fans in Football Manager 2023 are of great significance and can even be instrumental in the manager’s destiny. Just as the management sets goals for the player, the fans also have their requests, which must be met if we want to keep our jobs solid.
In fact, supporters can have a certain weight in the decisions of the club, which differs from club to club. A team like Barcelona for example has a huge number of fans around the world and most of them are mostly occasional fans, so it is difficult for the management to feel the pressure of public opinion directly.
Different speech instead for smaller realities, strongly rooted locally, where the fringe of organized cheering can be decidedly louder in case of discontent and consequently have more weight in the decisions of the management. If we consider that often the requests of the fans do not coincide with those of the club, being able to please everyone could be a really good challenge, especially in some squares.
The developers also told us about several improvements made to artificial intelligence, but we reserve the right to express ourselves in this regard in the review, because the results of this type of changes can only be grasped in the long term. The game engine was also enhanced, but honestly the differences with the previous edition are limited to small details such as the bounces of the ball in certain circumstances or the movements of the players, which now seem a little more realistic.
These are steps forward that could escape a careless eye and that in any case do not make a difference in a technical sector that continues to be too backward, even for a managerial game.