Football Manager 2018: What You Need To Know
If you're one of those supporters whose club has already jettisoned their manager this season, there's every chance the thought you might be able to do better has already crossed your mind. Well, this week brings with it the annual chance to prove your man management skills and tactical nous in the dugout as this year's instalment in the ever-popular Football Manager franchise arrives in stores.
So what can we expect this time? Here's everything you need to know...
So what's the synopsis here?
The central premise to the much-loved management simulator remains as it ever was: pick your team, bring in a few players and lead your club to glory.
What's the gameplay like?
While this year's instalment isn't quite what you'd call a huge overhaul in terms of gameplay, there are some significant new features – more on those in a moment – and a number of upgrades, tweaks, enhancements and improvements which, taken together, do make Football Manager 2018 feel a bit like a revamp.
The games in the Football Manager franchise have never been the most focussed on high quality graphics, but this year's incarnation is a much better-looking creature than some of its predecessors thanks to the fact that developers Sports Interactive have taken on boards some help from Creative Assembly to implement a new graphics engine, which is aimed at enhancing the match day experience in a number of ways.
One of these is the introduction of cutscenes, which offer shots of players emerging from the tunnel, pre-match warm-ups and sweeping shots of your club's stadium, offering a much more visually immersive environment than we're used to, while improved motion capture also adds realism to player movements and team sheets are now animated in the way you're used to seeing on TV.
It's not just on matchdays that the graphics engine is deployed to useful effect; many other screens such as the match preview still contain the same information, but here it's displayed in way that's a little easier on the eye than in previous versions.
What are this year's new features?
The aspects of the game which have seen the biggest overhauls this year are in scouting, tactics and a new feature called 'dynamics'. A revamped scouting hub allows you to specify your scouting focus in terms of the types of player you are looking for, which your scouts will use to recommend particular players. The frequency of these recommendations increases during transfer windows, while the database of players has also been redesigned and its contents will depend on the number of scouts you have, their level of knowledge, and the type of players you've tasked them with finding.
The tactics overhaul isn't quite as major, but does include a new pre-match briefing in which you can take your players through the game plan for their upcoming match. A smaller version of the tactics screen is now pinned to the side of your screen during games, saving you from switching between screens and offering a more visible, realtime picture of what your players are up to.
By far the biggest change though is the new dynamics feature; the name refers to the interpersonal dynamics between members of your squad, showing you who the most influential squad members are, the various groups or cliques that form in your dressing room and any dissenting voices or troublemakers in your midst. This will help you maintain a harmonious dressing room, but beware; upset one of your most influential players and you could find you have a mutiny on your hands.
In addition there are also major enhancements and improvements in the sports science department, first introduced last year, with your medical team providing more info on injuries and also how to avoid them in training. The fantasy draft feature also has a slicker and cleaner look this time around, including an improved interface redesigned with streaming in mind.
Can I see a trailer?
Of course, check out the latest trailer below...