The popular and long-running Football Manager game series will finally include women’s football in future editions, although the upcoming 2022 edition will not include any women’s teams.
Sports Interactive studio director Miles Jacobson told 90 Minutes this week that while he will not yet commit to a timeline for the addition of the women’s games in the series, it’s something Sports Interactive began laying the groundwork 18 months ago; with motion capture work and database construction already underway.
“It was just before the pandemic that we first started working on this, so really the worst possible time. The first stage was to do a motion capture session with the Kmita twins. It was a couple of years ago that we decided to go and over the last 18 months we have really pushed forward. “
The football manager’s recently appointed head of women’s research, Tina Keech, admitted that the lack of available data in the women’s football world has been a source of frustration, but something that – as it has done in the men’s game – a comprehensive football manager database can help address.
Motion capture work is underway for women’s football to be shown in Football Manager / Football Manager / Sports Interactive
“It was one of my real disappointments,” she told 90 Minutes. “There is data out there for women’s football, but when you look at it it is actually not correct, which frustrated me. The game has been professional for several years now, why does no one collect correct data? We start and we will create a good database, but it has been a real frustration for me that women’s football has not received the respect it deserves in that sense. “
In a blog published on SI’s website, Jacobson added: “We have NO interest at all in making a standalone women’s football version of FM.
“What we do is add women’s football to FM … a sport, a game. FM players will be able to go seamlessly from leading a men’s team to a women’s team and back again. Women’s football will be a part of life, breathe the world that makes up each of your FM rescues; that world will only get much bigger and a little more varied. “
The task of adapting the game’s current framework to incorporate women’s games will take some time and effort – from building the extensive player and club database to creating natural movements for players on screen, plus anywhere in the region of 3,000,000 words to be customized and translated into the game’s 20-odd language.
“We also know that it will cost millions to add women’s football to Football Manager and that the short-term return it provides is minimal. But that is not the point.
“There is nothing to hide that there is currently a glass ceiling for women’s football and we want to do what we can to make it happen. We believe in equality for all and we want to be part of the solution. We want to be part of the process We know that we are 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 where it deserves to be. “
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