Football Manager 2023: Headline feature reveal puts big emphasis on fans, licensing

Football Manager 2023 is on the way, 8 November to be precise, and now we know a lot more.

Sports Interactive have (Thursday) released their headline feature video (42 minutes long) breaking down the five key headline features for this year’s release of our favourite football management game.

Watch: FM23 headline feature reveal

Don’t have 42 minutes to watch? Here’s some notes and thoughts on the five key headline features.

1. Recruitment Revamp

In the video, studio director Miles Jacobson starts by breaking down SI’s conversations with those working within the recruitment space on an interview basis, specifically questioning elements of those involved in recruitment and data analysis on how they go about their jobs, finding players based on the data that they have and processes they use in their jobs, all with an eye on in-game features and making them more real-world.

Game Designer Cyrus Yeganeh details the revamp of recruitment in the game, introducing the squad planner, where based on your tactic, every single position, you can rank and rate all the players in terms of how good they are. The players will never know, but your staff will.

You can bring anyone on your shortlist into your planner at any time to see how your team might look not only for this season but next season and the “season after”. Youth can also be included here.

On the scouting front, there’s recruitment changes including getting rid of the percentage level to which a player is scouted (it’s gone), and getting the scouts to do more work in the background on recruitment (up to 4 key stages) rather than overburdening your inbox with constant player recommendations that need to be scouted repeatedly.

FM23’s recruitment focus

A ‘near matches’ toggle allows you to dip into a list compiled by your scouts of those just outside your specific recruitment focus as well.

When it comes to agents, their influence is coming more to the fore of this year’s game. Any deal to do with a top player, it’s going through the agent so the conversations with agents have been evolved to allow a little bit of backing off or contesting elements of an agent’s proposal around a player (wages, cost, playing time).

Similarly, if you’re going to renew a contract with one of your players, you can now go to their agent first to have the initial conversation to look at demands and interest before broaching the discussion with the player themselves.

Recruitment meetings are changing/evolving too and becoming more bespoke, tailored to where you’re currently at in the season. There will be an early-season recruitment meeting a few days into your new job with suggested targets, with another a few weeks later updating you on the process to sign players, offload players, review targets.

There’s another recruitment meeting specific to transfer deadline day, assessing the focuses you’ve set and who you’ve been able to sign against them

2. Match AI & Animation

AI managers look to have gotten a major overhaul (hello Pep, Klopp, Graham Potter) where they’re now more geared to pick up the right tactic, the right instructions when taking on human managers and other AI managers alike (again leaning more into real-world processes).

This might be just a technical test, but I’m all in favour of having these arrows, lines and circles appear on screen when analysing player movement.

On the defensive side of the match engine, developments have been made to allow players to “absorb pressure, sit in a low block and counter-attack… to be able to defend as well as attack”, by soaking up the pressure and then improving how teams can attack on the break.

There are changes to defensive tactical instruction with more instructions incoming. When it comes to out-of-possession instructions, there are new additions for the defensive line (hold the line, drop deeper), pressing trap (to trap inside/outside) and cross engagement (stop crosses/invite crosses).

Goalkeepers also have the potential to look more imposing. Expect more “chaos of football” and less “tika-taka”.

All of the on-ball actions have been overhauled (in terms of animation) as well. Chest and volley in the same action and look a lot more realistic? Done.

3. UEFA Club Competitions License

We’ve known for a few weeks now that this year’s edition of the game is an officially licensed UEFA product – say hello to the Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League and the rest.

Walkouts will have the matchday props, star ball in the centre circle, trophy lifts being bespoke for each of the competitions, sleeve patches on kits (dynamically changed depending on the competition you’re in – a feature that can extend into domestic league kits too).

Football Manager 2023: A mockup on how Europa League staging may look for presentations.
Football Manager 2023: A mockup on how Europa League staging may look for presentations.

Draws are changing too, away from the list to being a new full-screen experience, including narrative elements so the draw will evolve with your journey (where you started, where you are now, getting more context for competitions and clubs you’re facing).

4. Supporter Confidence

There’s a new supporter confidence feature – you’re not just left scratching your head at the 50/50 tweets in your social stream or the month-end A-F ratings depending on your performance.

The new feature makes sure that fans are represented and can directly impact your ongoing game and choices. We’ll get to see a breakdown of the fanbase, what the proportion of casual/hardcore/fair-weather fans are like.

How much of an influence fans can have on the board, your job security and more will all come into play. If you’re ignoring the fans where they’ve got a big influence on the board, you could be in trouble.

5. Dynamic Manager Timelines

It’s another new feature for the game this year and a big visual element of the game for this year – essentially reframing milestones and achievements in FM.

New changes (on top of achievements like winning leagues and awards), you’ll get a dynamic timeline as part of your end-of-season review including elements like signing player bargains, player relationships, big wins over rivals, youth players breaking through – highlighting more of our personal achievements on a whole-game level as opposed to just lifting trophies.

Wonderkids performing miracles? They’re going on your list.

Football Manager 2023 is out on all platforms from 8 November with the beta release expected roughly two weeks out. We’ll be talking about more features as they arrive on The Football Manager Football Show with new episodes every Friday.

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