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Football Manager developer Sports Interactive has opened up about many of the challenges the team has faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. While many of the struggles are similar to what other studios have described - adjusting to remote working, working around technical challenges, and personal life necessarily taking priority over work - in a year when essentially all sport was cancelled, they've also had unique problems to overcome.
"It doesn't help that the world of football that we aim to simulate in our games is also in such a world of flux," Sports Interactive studio director Miles Jacobson wrote in a post on the studio's website. "Some leagues have confirmed their plans, some are still up in the air (although we are very much 'in the loop' with many of the possible decisions), the transfer window has moved in England at least, there are new emergency rules that may, or may not, be present next season. And there's a lot more besides."
This, along with the regular problems of working in the pandemic has impacted the development of the new Football Manager. However, Jacobson has confirmed that there will be new games released this year. Although, "they will be delivered a little later than we'd originally planned, but they'll have exceptionally strong feature sets," Jacobson says, adding: "Albeit different to those we thought we'd settled on back in January when I completed my 'dream feature set'."
Jacobson doesn't say exactly what these games will be, or if one of them is Football Manager 21. Though, if it was a new entry in the long-running series and the team was aiming for the same release window, Football Manager 20 was released at the end of October 2019, so that means we should look to a November/December release of Football Manager 21.
While giving an overview of the problems the team has faced, Jacobson also gives some details about what this has meant for the day-to-day work of developing a new Football Manager. "It has taken a monumental effort to make this possible," Jacobson writes. "The flexibility the team has shown through this period has been incredible; we've been changing scope, both upwards and downwards, on an almost weekly basis (and often as a result of changes in people's personal circumstances)."
While until now Sports Interactive has been quiet on the development of its new title, the studio hasn't been silent during the pandemic. The developer was quick to take part in initiatives like the 'Games for Carers' programme and the Humble Black Lives Matter bundle, and it also gave free advertising space in-game to mental health charities. Also, back in March, when the lockdown was first enforced in the UK, Football Manager 20 was made free for two weeks to give people a welcome distraction from the worrying world outside.
Featured Image Credit: Sports Interactive
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