Sports Interactive studio head Miles Jacobson has revealed why its console strategy is currently “non-existent”, and why the studio is in no rush to create FM games for the Wii, 360 or PS3.
Between 2005 and 2007, Sports Interactive had released three Xbox 360 editions of Football Manager, before the studio abandoned its console plans entirely.
“We weren’t happy with the control methodology, we weren’t happy with the way the game transitioned onto console,” said Jacobson in an interview with Develop.
Though classic joypads are seen by the SI team as insufficient for navigating FM’s deep menu interface, Jacobson did imply that motion controllers such as Natal could open new possibilities for a console FM game.
“With the 360 and PS3, if we were going to release the game [using] the motion controllers, Natal and Sony’s thing would need to see a very high penetration rate of those peripherals,” he said.
However, the high penetration rate of motion controllers was not the only condition in which FM would return to consoles.
“Also, we have to make the game for standard definition TVs where the text suddenly has to be big, so essentially we’d have to redesign the game if we wanted to do it properly.
“Let’s wait to see how those things go. Let’s wait to see how high the penetration rate is for HDTVs and motion controllers.”
Even if these conditions were met, Jacobson still seemed unenthused by a console version of Football Manager.
“The thing is, FM games tend not to be the type of game people want to completely concentrate on all the time,” he said.
“People usually play it while watching a film or listening to music or whatever. The console is a different experience; it takes over the living room.
“If we were to do a console game properly we would need to do it the way Fireaxis did with Civilization Revolution; as in build a console game rather than adapting a PC game.
“We haven’t worked out a way to do that with FM yet, and we haven’t spent much time thinking about it.”
Despite the 360 editions of Football Manager failing to impress the FM team, Jacobson said that developing a disc-based console game had added a string to the studio’s bow.
“To get everything working that well on disc meant we had to transform so many of our development practices,” he said. “It was brilliant for us to create those games.”