The full version of the latest instalment of the popular management simulation game is now available, and Goal takes a look at what’s new

The Football Manager video game series is one of the most popular around and its appeal has endured for decades.

From the original Championship Manager years to the newest incarnations, the management simulation game has grown to the point where it has even penetrated the real world of football.

Each year Sports Interactive and their team of creative developers endeavour to ensure that the latest game is the most up-to-speed and in-depth management simulation.

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With Football Manager 2019 having been released, Goal takes a look at new functions, gameplay improvements, and the enhanced user interface.

Football Manager 2019 was released on November 2, 2018, just in time for gamers to get the simulation game into their Christmas stockings – though the game was made available to download on Steam for Mac and PC a day early.

As well as the main version of the game, Football Manager launched two more editions, Football Manager Touch and Football Manager Mobile, which are scaled down versions that can be also played on mobile devices, such as tablets and phones.

Like last year, FM Touch and FM Mobile were released on the same day as the main game.

Football Manager 2019 costs  £37.99 in the United Kingdom (€54.99 in Europe), which means that the price remains the same as Football Manager 2018.

The 2018 edition of the game rose in price last year from £34.99 to £37.99, but fans will be pleased to learn that there is no fluctuation in cost this year.

Those who pre-purchased the game via Steam before the November 2 release date availed of a 10 per cent discount, meaning that the game had cost £34.19 (€49.49).

Pre-purchases also included the perk of being able to play a beta version of the game two weeks early from October 18.

Each purchases of Football Manager 2019 automatically included a copy of Football Manager Touch (for PC/Mac only).

Last year, FM Touch on its own was cheaper than the full version of the game at £21.99 (€29.99), while FM Mobile, which allows users to play on iPhone or Android, costs £8.99.

The base version of the new Football Manager game has been released on PC and Mac.

It would appear that the game is not available on Linux, hoever, with the Steam purchase page only specifying PC and Mac as available operating systems.

FM Touch, meanwhile, made its Nintendo Switch debut in April 2018, regularly placing in the Top 10 chart on the console.

FM Manager 2019 Touch is now available on the Nintendo Switch as a digital download from the Nintendo eShop worldwide, and will launch in North America on December 6.

The 2019 Touch edition brings enhancements to the game, while making full use of the Switch’s innovative control systems and portability – with improved tactical styles, a more streamlined gaming interface and a revamp of training mode.

FM Mobile is generally released on iOS and Android smartphones.

Over the past few years the game’s developers have been gradually expanding the simulation to include as many true-to-real-life additions as possible.

The 2018 edition of the game saw plenty of tweaks to areas such as scouting and transfers, while an all-new squad dynamics window was implemented to provide an even more realistic reflection of the politics and personalities of dressing room.

There were alterations made to the tactics window and there were new player roles added to give managers more flexibility in terms of what they want from their team. It goes without saying that the game’s developers will look to build on these changes in Football Manager 2019.

According to SI, Football Manager 2019 has seen the “biggest overhaul” in the training aspect of the game that has ever been seen in the history of the series.

Training is now split into three sessions per day and there are 10 different areas of focus to choose from, including team bonding and even community outreach. There is also a new mentoring system, which allows you to create groups of mentors, while training ratings have also been introduced for the first time.

In terms of tactics, FM 19 will see even more in-play instructions available to managers, while there are more player roles too, including the ‘no-nonsense centre-back’ and the ‘pressing forward’.

We do know that Football Manager 2019 will feature the proper names of German clubs after the game’s developers secured Bundesliga licensing. So RBL will now be RB Leipzig, BMG will now be Borussia Monchengladbach and so on, giving German football fans a much more authentic experience.

As well as focusing on the granular detail of managing a football team, the Sports Interactive guys have endeavoured to provide a more malleable world that takes into account real-life issues and political developments that directly affect football.

For example, in FM 2017, Brexit was introduced to the game after developers felt that it was too big of a development to ignore. A variety of possibilities were built in, each with different practical outcomes for managers. It will be interesting to see if they adopt the same approach for other political events that directly impact football in upcoming editions.

For example, in late 2017, Catalunya’s push for independence from Spain was a major talking point in Europe and such an eventuality would have had a knock-on effect on Spanish football, with Barcelona — one of the biggest clubs in the world — among those potentially affected. 

Another social issue that has addressed within the simulation is the preemptive idea of homosexual footballers ‘coming out’, something that remains an extremely rare occurrence in real life. There are sure to be more creative avenues for Sports Interactive to explore, but it would seem that in Football Manager 2019 at least, women’s football has not been included. 

However, women’s coaches are involved in the game and can potentially take over the reins of clubs. Miles Jacobson wrote on Twitter that “it’s only a matter of time until someone gives a female coach the chance to manage a team in the UK – it’s already thankfully happened in many other countries.”

Other developments that are in this year’s version of the game are video assistant referees and goal-line technology, which made headlines for positive and negative reasons during the World Cup.

With the next edition of the tournament set to be held in Qatar in 2022, Football Manager will have to start planning for how to fit in those winter fixtures rather than simply change the hosts to another country, as was their quick-fix in previous versions.

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