Inside FM 2018’s Matchday Experience

FMTV is back with episode six of the previews for Football Manager 2018, this time focusing on the ‘Matchday Experience.’ It looks like the presenter is decked out in the same shirt, but will we learn more about the match engine?

Skipping straight to the second half of the video, we finally get some glimpses of the match engine in action with AFC Wimbledon seemingly handing a beating to Watford. Support for Direct X 11 has been added, an improvement on the previous version’s utilisation of DX9, and new lighting features are promised. Creative Assembly have provided new motion capture for player and goalkeeper animations, and the action shown in the video certainly looks like an improvement.

More variety has been added to stadiums to better reflect the differences between playing in front of 56 fans in an obscure Asian league and an 80,000 sell-out crowd at the highest level. The camera angles this year are customisable allowing the player to change the angle and zoom level of the camera for a better overview of the game or close-ups of the action.

Match stats have been moved to the top of the screen with tabs for tactics, analysis, and updates. Clicking on each of these opens a transparent overlay, allowing decisions and changes to be made in real time as the match highlights play – make sure you have plenty of chewing gum to hand for those touchline decisions.

Backtracking slightly, there will be the now expected visual overhauls of the match preview screens before we get into tactical discussions, which can either be held directly before the match or, as previously announced, in team meetings on the eve of the game.

The pre-match ‘cutscenes’ aim to add TV-style presentation to matches with teams coming out onto the pitch, warm-ups, and graphics to show team formations complete with player faces. All of that sounds great for adding immersion to Premier League and Champions League matches, but I do wonder if it will seem out of place before an FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round tie or a Europa League preliminary round clash between the San Marinese cup winners and the Estonian league runners-up.

Pre-match team talks now have a dressing room backdrop and more contextualised options for addressing the players, taking into account data and feedback from the scouts and sports science team. Data analysts will also be on hand post-match to give detailed breakdowns on player movements, tactics, and team or individual stats. There will also be the option to keep track of individual players during the match, getting live updates on their performance.

Those glimpses of the match engine are bound to whet appetites for the November 10th release. More match videos are promised over the next couple of weeks along with one more episode of Inside FM focusing on the possibly oxymoronic term of ‘football intelligence.’ Stay tuned for updates and comment right here on Gaming Respawn.

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