Football Manager 2007 (sold in the United States and Canada as Worldwide Soccer Manager 2007) is the third game in the Football Manager series of football management simulation games by Sports Interactive, published by SEGA. It was released for the PC, Mac, Apple–Intel on 18 October 2006 with Xbox 360 and PSP versions following in December 2006.
The game's developers claim that the new version includes over 100 new features as well as small adjustments and bug fixes but it is, essentially, the second seasonal update of Football Manager 2005, following on from the successful Football Manager 2006.
As a result of user feedback and continued evolution of the game in general, Sports Interactive has introduced over 100 new and revised features to Football Manager 2007. These include:
- A new default GUI, created with the input of user feedback. The new interface is said by SI to be more user-friendly.
- A revamped scouting engine, allowing for more realistic scouting of potential stars. including the ability for scouts to 'learn' from their experience. A "scout report card" is also included, in order to provide easier access to important, detailed information about scouting targets.
- Enhanced media interaction, including the ability to make comments on any player in the game world. In previous versions featuring media commentary, managers could only comment on other managers.
- An improved youth team system. The method for generating new players is completely revamped, with the older "regen" system - using recycled statistics from retired players - no longer in use.
- Pre-match team talks. Previously, only half-time and full-time team talks could be given. SI has also increased the half-time team talk functionality: managers can now target individual opposition players for special attention, such as instructing players to close them down or always to tackle them with force.
- A hints and tips screen appears when the game is being saved or loading is taking place.
- An option to ask your own team's players what staff (e.g. coaches, physios) or players they would like you to bring to the club has been added.
- Interactions with the board are improved. The board can authorise the building of new stadia. Clubs can be taken over by a group of investors, who may opt to fire the manager (a player may get sacked in the process).
- The manager, as well as NPCs, can comment on referees' decisions, which are not always correct.
The PSP version of the game will also include wireless multiplayer for the first time, and will be named Football Manager Handheld.
A significant new addition is the ability to create a feeder club affiliation. This allows larger clubs to set up a relationships with a smaller club and vice versa. This can be used by users managing larger clubs to 'farm' out players to their feeder club to gain the first team experience that they are unable to get at higher levels. They both work together for mutual benefit, Smaller clubs can benefit from the ability of these players on loan deals, and can also receive financial help. The larger club may also profit from merchandising in the smaller club's country.
The smaller club may also benefit from lucrative friendly matches against their parent side, as well as getting "first option" on signing players that are to be released by the larger team. American and Chinese teams used as feeder clubs are generally known to be extremely lucrative to a parent club's income through merchandising.
Many fans had requested of SI the inclusion of feeder clubs in recent years, both on the official message boards and elsewhere. Fans of SI claim that the uncommonly close relationship between the design team and the players leads to the inclusion of such desired features.
On Saturday, September 30, 2006 a demo of the game was released in four different versions: Strawberry and Vanilla for both Mac and Windows.
The Vanilla demo is basic and only includes English language, and the English league, with no kits, player photos, sound, graphics etc.
The Strawberry demo includes playable leagues for Brazil, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Sweden, many kits and player photos, and language support for many other regions.
The game has been met with mixed reaction at release. Many fans are delighted with the faster gameplay, smoother graphics and scrolling, a cleaner data editor, accurate squads, realistic scouting, and generally, the more immersive world.
On the other end, many fans have complained about the lack of options available in the data editor. Features like changing the colours of a kit, changing the amount of kits of one club, creating a club or a competition were removed. Also, an option to edit the feeder clubs is not available. In defense, the editor was created from scratch and there was not enough time to implement all of the features from the data editor in FM 2006. A patch has been released that deals with these editing problems and much more. Also, Football Manager 2007 lacks the "huge" database that was popular with a portion of fans, although it can be restored with an easy hack. The developers have stated that the removal of this size database was due to long-term games becoming unbalanced in numbers. The developers have told people who wish to have a "huge" database to utilize DDT retain player files or to select more leagues from different continents when starting a new game. There has also been an issue with the way club finances are calculated for example leaving teams with crippling debt despite making a profit.
Despite these qualms, however, the game received almost universal critical acclaim on release, with an average score of 88 on Metacritic. GameSpot described Football Manager 2007 as a "truly immersive football experience", while PC Gamer suggested that "no other game comes close.". Football Manager 2007 was also nominated for a Golden Joystick and won "The Gamers Award at the BAFTA'S .
The first patch for the game - 7.0.1 - was released on 30 November 2006. The patch is save game-compatible and fixes a wide range of issues. Due to quickly-discovered bugs, an updated version of the same patch was released seven days later.
The second patch for the game - 7.0.2 - was released on 21 February 2007. The patch is save game-compatible and fixes a wide range of issues. It also updates the database to include January 2007 transfers.
- Football Manager - Main article on the Football Manager series
Below is a list of several external resources which contain various features relating to the Football Manager scene (both official and unofficial) such as patches, articles and downloads.
- FootballManager.net - Official game website from SEGA and Sports Interactive
- Sega Europe - Sega's site showing a brief summary of the game.
- SIGames.com - Official Sports Interactive website
- Myspace - Official Sports Interactive Myspace Page
Sports Interactive has set up an Affiliates section (SIAS) which fansites can join. They offer a number of benefits to users, such as free games to give away in competitions, exclusive news and opportunities to visit Sports Interactive in Islington, London. You can view all the affiliates here