Football Manager 2018’s players have a lot more personality thanks to AI

Football Manager 2018 will see huge improvements to the players’ emotions, according to Sports Interactive studio head Miles Jacobson. In an interview with Wired, Jacobson explained the way all the different egos bisect with each other. “There are lots of different types of non-playable characters in the game, and literally hundreds of thousands of individual characters,” Jacobson explained. “All of them are driven by different AI modules that all talk to each other and make sense of each other. Everything is tied into everything else.

This is best demonstrated by an issue Jacobson had managing his own Watford squad in a recent build of the game. Having signed an additional strike to challenge Andre Gray and Troy Deeney, Jacobson found that while the latter was happy enough to fight for his place, the former was furious and wanted to leave. “I told him that he can’t be in the team and he said he wanted to leave, which was fine and I thought that was the end of it. But a couple of other players thought that Andre should be playing and didn’t believe this new player should be ahead of him in the team,” he explained. In the end, Jacobson had to choose between sticking to his guns and riding out the revolt, or appeasing Gray with a regular first team place to calm things down.

If this kind of challenge is tripping up the game’s creator, it’ll likely have a big impact when the game launches this Friday (10 November). But what else do we know about Football Manager 2018?

Football Manager 2018: Features

The latest Football Manager 2018 preview video reveals the steps that Sports Interactive has taken to make the game feel more realistic than ever on match day. Specifically, the latest video shows off the new motion capture animations developed by Creative Assembly, and a match day experience that feels very “Sky Sports.”

As well as seeing the players warm up in a wide selection of stadia (which should make your journey from non-league to Premiership all the more rewarding), the video explains how everything from pre-match team talks to in-game tactical switches have been shaken up. The pre-game atmosphere has a Sky Sports-style photo line up before the match, giving you more insights into how the opposition will try to trample you.

All of this in an engine that now supports DirectX 11 – which means you should see better lighting and textures. While it’s not FIFA, it is undeniably looking a lot sharper away from the glorified spreadsheet management that the franchise is known for. 


Football Manager’s developers Sports Interactive have been revealing details of the latest instalment in a series of videos, presented in a transfer deadline day style. You can see it in full below.

While the video above didn’t reveal too much, it did point to a number of fine-tuned elements, as well as providing us with plenty of screenshots to pepper this piece with. What we are promised is a brand new match engine, a scouting system which more accurately mimics how football clubs actually scout players, improved stadium design and far more depth to the sports science and tactics.[gallery:3]

Most interestingly, however, there’s Dynamics: a new model that’s intended to model the complex balance of keeping the entire dressing room happy, with your players forming relationships with their teammates based on shared histories, languages and playing styles. This can play two ways: if your team gets on like a house on fire, you might find your team defies the odds and launches a title challenge propelled by team spirit. If they don’t mix? Well, your team may well struggle and you’ll likely carry the can for their social failings. You can see more about it in the video below. 

Another interesting new addition is Medical Centre. In the past, injuries and player fitness have felt a little bit down to chance. It was probably the case that a lot of numbers were being crunched behind the scenes, but Sports Interactive is trying to bring a bit more transparency to proceedings with Medical Centre, which offers players their own take on the latest in sports science. Put simply, this will let managers analyse their players in five categories: Overview, Risk Assessment, Current Injuries, Injury History and Season Summary. The idea is that by keeping an eye on these things, you can adjust your players’ training regime and ensure that sick notes are kept to a minimum. 

You can see Sports Interactive explain it in more depth in the video below.

It’s unlikely to be the most transformational feature of Football Manager 2018, but the next announcement may well be the most talked about: Sports Interactive’s Miles Jacobson has revealed that Football Manager 2018 will feature gay players for the first time.

When a player comes out, the club will see a small revenue boost and extra publicity, on the back of ticket and merchandise sales from the LGBT community.

“We know from the amount of professionals that there has to be players who are gay but feel they don’t want to come out,” Jacobson told the BBC. “I find it weird that it’s still a problem in football so we decided to try and show people that coming out isn’t a big deal and can be a positive thing.”

This won’t affect real-life players for legal reasons (“they can’t sue us”), but randomly generated players will – unless they’re from a region where homosexuality is illegal. 

“I just think it’s crazy that in 2017 we are in a world where people can’t be themselves,” Jacobson added.

Football Manager 2018: Release date

Football Manager 2018 was released on Friday 10 November, on PC, Mac and Linux. Football Manager Touch 2018 (PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android) and Football Manager Mobile 2018 (iOS and Android) will also launch on the same day.

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