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Football Manager 2019: New features announced

Football Manager returns in early November and developers Sports Interactive have started drip-feeding new features

While we’re still enjoying (i.e. addicted to) Football Manager 2018, the next instalment of the long-running football tactics simulator is just around the corner. Yes – on 2 November, Football Manager 2019 will hit the stores, full of new features to offer an even more immersive management experience for the next year.

Developers Sports Interactive have just started to drip-feed the announcements of these new features, from the superficial modifications to the in-depth changes that alter how you play the game. We’ve compiled them all here, so read on for a rundown of Football Manager 2019’s confirmed features, as well as a number of features we’re hoping to see in the final game.

Football Manager 2019: Features

First of all, let’s take a look at the graphical upgrades that have been announced thus far.

‘Manager man’, the long-running cover star of the Football Manager series has been retired. The graphic has been a mainstay since the game’s 2004 edition and will be replaced by a manager’s eye view of their team walking out onto the pitch. Additionally, Sports Interactive a new logo for the game.

The game will include German Football Association (DFB) licensing for the first time, in a four-year deal. That means that the German national team will include real players, rather than the greyed-out fake names we usually see. It also means that real club badges, kits and player faces will be included for all the clubs in Germany’s top two leagues, the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga.

There will also be an overhaul of the user interface, with a new purple look dominating the screenshots that have been released so far. The familiar graphs, charts and tables also look to have been tweaked too.

Onto the real bones of the game and the tactics system, which has undergone a revamp for FM19. New tactical styles based on famous tactical philosophies are included, with ‘Gegenpress’, ‘Tiki Taka’ and ‘Catenaccio’ among those available – all tweakable, of course.

Team instructions for different phases of play – meaning you can tell your team to press or drop back when they lose possession – are another welcome addition. New goalkeeper distribution options are also included, while there are new player roles too. ‘Pressing Forward’, ‘No-Nonsense Centre-Back’ and ‘No-Nonsense Full-Back’ are among these.

A raft of changes come to the training system, too. Using their insider access to a number of professional clubs, Sports Interactive have created a revamped module in order to train your squad. Training is now split into three sessions per day, up from just one in previous editions of the game.

And while previously you could focus training sessions on a broad area such as attacking or defending, that’s now customisable too. For example, you can tell your defenders to work specifically on their ‘Aerial Defence’ skills. There are also preset training schedules if you don’t want to faff about with training, and pre-season is now a distinct part of the calendar.

For beginners, there’s a ‘new manager induction’ system, which walks players through the more complex aspects of the game, as well as new features.

Finally, onto the matches themselves, and the biggest change announced so far is the inclusion of two controversial (for some) pieces of technology that have made it into the real-life sport in recent years. Goal-line technology is included, as is VAR (video assistant referees). So now you have something else to tear your hair out over as you lose 3-0 to West Ham.

Football Manager 2019 is returning to the Nintendo Switch too. The 2018 edition was the first console version of the game to feature the full 3D match engine included, and it got rave reviews upon its release in April. Once again it’s the ‘Touch’ version of the game rather than the fully-fledged PC version, but this time we’ll see it released in November – good news for Switch owners.

3 October update: More minor features have been announced, just a week after the first major batch of announcements. A number of upgrades have been made to manager-assistant interactions, including easier ways to implement their advice.

Other features announced include the option to specify the role your loaned player should play, an expected injuries tally in the medical centre, and colour-coded player ratings.

Football Manager 2019: Release date

Well, we already know that FM19 is coming out on 2 November but you could get it two weeks earlier than that if you pre-order the physical version of the game, or the digital version from an approved Sega retailer.

Pre-ordering will give you access to the early access beta, and also give you a 10% discount on the game. In addition to these pre-order perks, you’ll also be able to carry your save game over from the beta release to the full game once it’s released.

Football Manager 2019: Our wishlist

1. Women’s leagues

It is 2018 and it’s surely only a matter of time before women’s teams make their way to Football Manager.

FIFA 16 added a small number of women’s international teams and has added more with each successive version, but this would be a bigger undertaking in some respects. Although the player likenesses wouldn’t be necessary, there are plenty of clubs to be added – 101 in England alone.

2. Temporary jobs

In real life football, caretaker management is an increasingly popular HR strategy. Someone brought in with a limited amount of time remaining to save the club from relegation. We’d like to see this kind of temporary contract brought to Football Manager 2019 – where you’re only staying until the end of the season. Though of course, if you do well enough, the chairman could agree to make you permanent.

3. Interfering owners

One very real aspect of the beautiful game that hasn’t been satisfactorily replicated so far is the role of the meddling chairman. We’ve seen them at a number of clubs: they want to have their say on the team, from transfer targets to formations.

We’d like to see this replicated in the game – with their reputation proceeding them. You’re offered a job at a big club with a big budget… but an unpredictable chairman who might make you play his son every week. There would be a risk/reward element to this – if you do well in such trying circumstances, other chairmen will take note that you’re a force to be reckoned with.

4. Updated Brexit mode

In the last two versions, Brexit was simulated. The game would randomly select a severity level from hard Brexit – a return to the bad old days of players needing work permits – to barely any change in the softest version.

Now we have (some) more clarity in the vision of Brexit we’re ending up with, this will probably be a little more refined. But as a still-depressed Remain voter, please Sports Interactive, let us turn it off. I come to games to get away from the misery of the real world!

Buy Football Manager Touch 2018 for the Switch now from Nintendo

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