It’s that time of year again Football Manager fans!
For the first time in a couple of years, I’m really excited for the launch of the game. I’ve dabbled a bit with the beta and it’s good fun. I’m really looking forward to getting into a full, long-term save with this one.
Hopefully, their pre-game editor will be working on Day One (a problem that has plagued the game for several years in a row) and I can start out with some Level 10 or Level 11 side in England that I can take to Champions League glory over the course of the next year.
With the game just days away, excitement is building around what new features FM24 will bring, so let’s take a look at what we know so far.
Matchdays Come Alive in Football Manager 2024
Several major upgrades are being made to Football Manager 2024’s acclaimed match engine and visuals to make the matchday experience more immersive than ever.
A brand new Inverted Fullback role will reflect modern tactical innovations like Pep Guardiola’s system at Manchester City, with the fullback defending conventionally but then becoming a third centre-back in possession. This unique mechanism facilitates 3-at-the-back formations to unlock new passing angles.
In addition, runs and positioning for existing roles like the Inverted Wingback and Segundo Volante have been upgraded with more intelligent off-ball movements.
Your players will now make more dynamic rotations to open up space between opposition defensive lines, providing more options to methodically play through pressure.
Combined with animation upgrades powered by motion-matching technology and real-world data, these changes will make on and off-ball movements smoother and more realistic.
Ball physics has also been completely rewritten to better model elements like air drag, deflections and how factors like weather and altitude affect trajectory.
This will make long passes, crosses, shots and deflections appear much closer to their real-life counterparts.
All of these improvements to player movement, animations and ball flight will provide a massive visual step-up for Football Manager’s acclaimed match engine while also facilitating new stylistic possibilities for tactics.
Furthermore, lighting visuals have seen big enhancements to recreate real-world conditions whether it’s daytime, night or indoor stadiums. Sharper pitch textures complete the effect. The upgraded lighting and environments generate a far more authentic matchday atmosphere.
Fans can expect Football Manager 2024’s match experience to be the most realistic, responsive and visually stunning thanks to these major improvements.
Set Piece Revolution
In one of the most overdue changes to the Football Manager series, set pieces have been completely overhauled.
In FM24, managers will now have far greater control over these pivotal in-game moments.
The introduction of a new specialist Set Piece Coach staff role adds expert insight into crafting highly effective routines. These coaches have dedicated attributes tailored to set pieces along with preferences for delivery styles, defensive setups and more.
The Set Piece Creator itself has been streamlined to focus on suitable players for key roles based on attributes rather than specific positions. As your squad composition changes, player roles will now dynamically update in corner and free-kick routines, removing the need for constant manual tweaking. You can also dictate priority roles in each set piece sequence.
There are more intelligent player instructions too, like goalkeepers deciding whether a defensive wall is required. Your team’s set piece familiarity will now increase through regular training, helping unlock stubborn defenses. And new match visuals provide greater insight into opponents’ set piece strengths and weaknesses, enabling tailored counter-plans.
With this thorough set piece revamp, managers will now have the tools to get the most out of their squad at set pieces through adaptive, realistic routines and expert guidance from specialist coaches.
Wheeling and Dealing
Several important upgrades are being made to Football Manager 2024’s transfer and financial systems to provide greater authenticity.
AI clubs now have significantly enhanced logic for building their squad and making transfers based on context like tactical style, reputation and form. They will be much more proactive in identifying and filling gaps, prioritizing high-potential prospects over established stars for backup and rotational roles.
The player search screen will also provide more detailed transfer history filtering while club interest is now categorized as rumored or active with contextual reasoning. Offering players out has been integrated directly with the TransferRoom platform for more convenience and Sports Interactive has said that the integration of TransferRoom is just the first step and in FM25 and beyond this should become a bigger part of the experience to mirror what’s happening in the real world of football.
There is also greater accountability for overspending, with realistic consequences like negative budgets, forced sales, FFP sanctions and squad/transfer caps kicking in for excessive debt or rule breaches. Options like Company Voluntary Arrangements are available for insolvent clubs. Fixed TV deals, parachute payments and dynamic sponsorships will make club finances more volatile season-to-season.
This overall improvement in transfer logic, granular detail and financial authenticity will provide a highly challenging simulation of real-world management when wheeling and dealing.
Several upgrades are being introduced that will enable managers to have more focused, meaningful interactions with their squad and staff.
One of the biggest new features is the ability to set tailored performance targets for individual players centred around goals like improving physical attributes, grabbing assists, maintaining a passing percentage or anything you specify. You can conveniently track progress on active targets through a new tab.
These targets provide motivation and developmental incentives for your squad. They also serve as valuable tools in scenarios like contract negotiations with new recruits, loaning out youngsters, resolving unhappiness or rewarding standout performances.
In addition, Football Manager 2024 features extensive upgrades to the underlying interaction logic that governs conversations.
Players will now have more contextually appropriate verbal and body language reactions, reducing instances of unrealistic overreactions. Specific longstanding issues like unrealistic unhappiness triggers have also been resolved.
One of the more monotonous and boring aspects of the game for the last few years has been staff meetings and thankfully, these are getting a bit of an update.
Staff meetings can now be customized so that you can skip certain topics or allowing you to add sub-sections so you can focus weekly discussions around key areas. When proposing new hires, their attributes will be highlighted rather than overall rating for better context on recommendations.
Taken together as a whole, these nice little interaction enhancements should improve the flow of dealing with your players, but also overseeing your backroom situation in a less boring way.
Customize Your Story
Football Manager 2024 introduces exciting new dimensions of customization through features like Game Modes and overhauled recruitment tools.
The Game Modes enable tailored experiences by allowing you to configure various settings before starting your career:
- Original Mode: Players will start at the clubs they are assigned to in the default Football Manager database, providing the most accurate real-life setup.
- Real World Mode: Squads will reflect the real-life situation on the specific date your career starts. Players will then move clubs on the same dates they did in real life going forward.
- Your World Mode: Club rosters and budgets will be fixed to the date your career starts. Future transfers from real life are cancelled, letting you reshape team dynamics from day one.
Let’s be honest, FM has never really nailed the experience of being a National Team manager, but the squad at SI are putting in the work to try and improve that in FM24.
The national talent pool interface has been upgraded with tactical suitability assessments, comparisons and intelligent filtering options to identify international talent that fits your system. Similar functionality extends to the new National Team Squad Planner for picking your country’s squad.
And speaking of the Squad Planner, several changes have been made so that it is now more intuitive, clearly highlighting issues around squad depth, ability and role conflicts at a glance to smoothly facilitate planning.
One significant detail that Sports Interactive have mentioned is that despite these new features, FM24 has been significantly optimized and runs markedly faster than FM23 with the latest game engine being the most advanced yet while improving performance.
The Little Things
I have to be honest, Football Manager 2023 just left me feeling empty. I’ve been playing the game since the early 1990s when it was Championship Manager and last year’s effort seemed like it had been “mailed in”. While Miles Jacobson, the studio manager for Sports Interactive, hasn’t said as much, he’s indicated that the team felt they’d not hit the lofty goals they set for themselves in terms of innovation in last year’s effort.
The intention of the team is to deliver in spades on that this year and along with the big features, there are a host of quality-of-life improvements that are also coming in Football Manager 2024.
Scheduling algorithms have been upgraded to greatly reduce fixture congestion and pile-ups, especially for clubs in European competitions.
Non-playing staff will now have their attributes tracked over time like players, aiding contract decisions.
Codes of conduct will intelligently default to the prior season’s disciplinary rules, saving managers time.
Accessibility has been enhanced through features like font labeling, improved notifications and enhanced sliders.
A more diverse range of manager customization options have been added, while UI refinements across the board aim to smooth navigation and gameplay.
Reviewing past results against rivals is now more flexible.
One of my least favourite features of the past few years, the end-of-season “Timeline” is even getting a bit of a boost to make it more engaging. The timeline will see events like dramatic comebacks and big moments during the year get a mention and I have to say, in the Beta, this improvement is noticeable and adds a level of satisfaction to the end-of-season process.
Continue Your Story
Potentially the most exciting introduction is the ability to transfer saved games from Football Manager 2023 to FM24, one of the most requested features for over 20 years.
This was announced several months back when Sports Interactive announced their plans not just for FM24, but also the revitalized game engine coming to Football Manager 2025.
Players will be able to directly import their FM23 career saves into FM24 to pick up where they left off, now with all the new features. This works across all platforms and will allow continuing saves instead of starting over each year.
From an immersion perspective, this is awesome – starting a new long-term save in September/October was always fraught with trepidation because I’m always sitting there thinking, “What happens if we get to a pivotal stage and then the new game drops?” With this feature, we’ll now be able to just bring our save into the new game.
And as could be expected, previous save transfers will also be possible from FM24 to FM25 when the time comes.
With all of the changes to the finances, AI, set pieces, and transfer mechanics, it feels like it’s time to dust off the clipboards and spreadsheets, and get ready to take your favourite local club from the depths of lower-league football all the way to Champions League glory.
Football Manager is back this year in a big way, and I for one cannot wait.
The countdown to November 6th begins!