Later this year, Sports Interactive will show and release Football Manager 2024, the latest in their long-running sports simulation series. In a blog post earlier today, studio head Miles Jacobsen described FM2024 as "the most complete version in the series' history", but also "the last of its kind."
That's because next year's Football Manager 2025 will apparently be, "for the first time in decades, a true sequel," and introduce a new graphics engine, new user interface, "advanced" animations, and women's football, among other changes.
The post on the Football Manager site describes FM2023 as the most played of the series. "However, we cannot ignore that some of our longer-serving players felt that FM23’s progression had not lived up to the standards and expectations we have set over the years – and to be frank, we agree," says Jacobsen.
That's apparently because some features had to be cut late in development, while others "just didn't hit the mark." Football Manager 2024, meanwhile, will be the "most complete version of Football Manager to date" with a host of improvements.
Sports Interactive aren't ready to talk about those new features bar one: for the first time, players will be able to port save files from the previous game, FM2023, into its successor. That means those who play the game via subscription services like Game Pass and Apple Arcade will be able to continue playing their save even when the current version of the game disappears and is replaced by its sequel. All future Football Manager games will also allow save file porting.
It's unusual for Sports Interactive to discuss anything more than the next game in front of them, but FM2025 will apparently be the culmination of an internal initiative called "Project Dragonfly" which was begun in January 2020. This "root and branch" review of the series and its technology has resulted in Sports Interactive switching from their own in-house engine to the Unity engine.
"For those of you who are not familiar with gaming technologies – in simple terms, FM25 will have a significantly better looking matchday experience - both on the pitch and the supporting stadium environments, alongside a vastly improved user interface that will dramatically improve how you navigate through screens and access all the information available to you as manager," writes Jacobsen. "We’ll also have new technology for Newgens and manager creation which are already looking really promising at this early stage."
Football Manager 2025 will also include women's football for the first time, a planned feature announced in July 2021. Jacobsen writes that they've made progress towards the inclusion on "research, the match engine and translation", but that there are still obstacles, "a lot of whihc are legal issues."
I've played Football Manager (and its predecessor Championship Manager) on and off for nearly 30 years at this point, and the relatively paltry collection of new features in certain sequels has often been a frustration. That said, it's never been the 3D engine or the animations where I've craved updates. I'm instead hoping that a switch to Unity increases development efficiency more generally, and therefore allows for more experimentation, more modes, the return of FM Classic to PC, and so on.