The developers of Football Manager 2022, Sports Interactive, released a huge announcement yesterday that they were working on incorporating women’s football into Football Manager. Whether women’s football will be added into Football Manager 2022 or not, is not confirmed, but work have begun in the background at the Sports Interactive headquarters to get women’s football added some time in the future via a complete integration into the main Football Manager game.
While the question remains of when we will be able to take on a journey in the FA Women’s Premier League and repeat the feats of Women’s Chelsea manager Emma Hayes, studio director Miles Jacobson says in the announcement that “When we do it, we’ll do it properly”. This means that there will be lots of work ahead to get a great women’s database in Football Manager ready for us gamers.
What’s revealed of this multi-year-project for adding women’s football in Football Manager?
Adding women’s football wll be a multi-year-project that Sports Interactive just have begun the work on. With the announcement of this, Miles Jacobson and Sports Interactive says it’s “the right thing to do” to help advance women’s football generally, and hopefully get other Sport companies and football organizations to increase the focus on women’s football.
“It’s not something the company should normally admit to, but we were a part of the problem, and are now determined to fix that, and to force others along the way as well,” “Which is one of the reasons why we’re announcing it without a timeline – to say that we’re doing it, it’s partly because we need to throw down that gauntlet to others, to be doing the same.”Studio Director Sports Interactive, Miles Jacobson
The Challenges for Sports Interactive to incorporate the women’s game
Building the current Football Manager 2021 database we’re so fortunate to embark in has taken years to come to this detail level and with women’s football, Sports Interactive will be forced to start on scratch building upon the current Football Manager database to incorporate female footballers, backroom staff, leagues and divisions around the world, just like they have done for the men’s soccer game.
Instead of creating a standalone women’s database for Football Manager, Sports Interactive have decided to let you seamlessly manage between men’s and women’s clubs. This means that they will need to build upon the current massive database of 2,500 clubs and 500000 players and staff – something that requires researchers and help.
Remember, it’s taken 28 years to build the current database!
To bring women’s football into Football Manager, Sports Interactive has appointed Tina Keech as the head of research for women’s football and for the coming years, Sports Interactive needs more researchers of the women’s game in order to get the data about in-game player attributes and other behind-the scenes information about the player’s as close to reality as possible in order to serve the same justice to female player’s as they do for mens – something that may require a different scale of attributes in order to get the player’s to perform “correctly in the match engine”.
Since the female body types, height and physic is different to mens, the work on incorporating women’s football into Football Manager will also benefit the current match engine.
It’s not only the accuracy in data that needs to be solved.
In order to make female player’s run and act as normal as possible in the FM match engine, Sports Interactive have started the work on ‘motion captured’ animations.
Until now, all character models in Football Manager has been created for mens players. Since the bone structure is different between men and females lots of work is required to re-create all the animations for females. In fact, sports Interacive is required to go back to scratch and create animation by animation, something that will take time and cost lots of money.
It takes months to clean up and perfect the data generated by each motion capture session and get it looking right in the match engineMiles Jacobson in the Football Manager announcement
It’s not only the data revolving around female footballers, women’s league structure and tournaments that needs to be correct before women’s football can officialy be launched into Football Manager. The transfer system and transfer market is also different with less values of the player’s since the financial structure and wage structure is quite different.
Then there are physical questions and other ethical questions to be answered that influence on training, injuries and fitness of female players. For instance, the menstrual cycle can have a great impact on the player’s performance, something that a few club’s have started to scientificially investigate in the last couple of years. another question is what if player’s get pregnant?
Apart from motion capture animations, 3D models and work going on to get the player’s behave normal in the match engine, Sports Interactive will also need to re-word in-game text and translations. In fact, it’s over 100,000 strings to rewrite for 19 languages. That accounts for nearly 3 million words of gender-specific text that needs to be re-written and then re-translated!
So far, the design team have started the work on taking the information they have gathered to date and turned that into specific tasks and a full design document.
“There’s no hiding that there’s currently a glass ceiling for women’s football and we want to do what we can to help smash through it. We believe in equality for all and we want to be part of the solution. We want to be a part of the process that puts women’s football on an equal footing with the men’s game. We know that we’re not alone in this – the historic TV deal that Sky and the BBC recently agreed with WSL in England is proof of that – but we intend to do everything we can to get women’s football to where it deserves to be.”
Commercial Partnership Agreements reached with Women Clubs
In order for Sports Interactive’s to show their commitment to women’s football they have gotten involved with a commercial partnership agreements for the 2021/22 season with Leicester City Women. From earlier, they have established commercial partnerships with AFC Wimbledon Ladies & Girls and Watford Women as part of our deals with their men’s teams.
This will let you see FM branding feature on the dugout and interview boards for these clubs in the Womens Premier League.
Help needed to build an incredible womens database
The reason for this Football Manager announcement is to try to get people within the FM community involved in this project, as Sports Interactive needs all help they can get to incorporate the women’s game in a manner that it deserves. So if you’re a women’s football fan, or involved within a women’s club or just someone who likes to go and watch football, Tina Keech encourage YOU to get in touch with Sports Interacrive. They requires your help to build an incredible Football Manager database of female players, backroom staff and fully-working divisions with as detailed information about players and clubs as possible.
By adding women’s football into Football Manager it will be a long-term project where it’s build-upon and enhanced for each release of Football Manager just like the game we’re accustomed to. Whether we will be fortunate to enjoy women’s football in Football Manager 2022 is yet to see.
At least, it’s one feature we no longer need to wish for as we now know it will finally arrive, something I and more people in the FM Community will fondly embrace and look forward to!
NB! In an interview with Eurogamer today, Miles Jacobson confirmed women’s football won’t make it into Football Manager 2022, but could be added post-launch in the middle of its year-long life cycle. We can only speculate whether we’ll see it released for the official winter transfer update in March 2022, or if we needs to wait a bit longer until the women’s game is in FM.
Interview with Miles Jacobson and Emma Hayes about why the women’s game is added to Football Manager – The Gamer.com
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