While this month is all about God of War Ragnarok, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, and what have you, it also means a new Football Manager. Sports Interactive’s management sim series is still going strong, and Football Manager 2023 appears to be its best yet (until next year, that is). It’s out on November 8th, so here’s what you need to know before picking it up.
When Football Manager 2023 launches worldwide, it will have three different versions, as per tradition. Football Manager 2023 will be available for PC via the Epic Games Store, Microsoft Store, Steam and Game Pass for PC. Football Manager 2023 Console is playable on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Game Pass, but also for PC via the Microsoft Store. Then there’s Football Manager 2023 Mobile for iOS and Android, followed by Football Manager 2023 Touch for Nintendo Switch and Apple Arcade.
Return to PlayStation
Perhaps the biggest surprise from Football Manager 2023’s announcement is that it marks the series’ return since Football Manager 2014 on the PlayStation Vita. As such, this marks its debut on current-gen consoles due to only releasing on the PlayStation 5. It includes support for DualSense, though in what way remains to be seen. Unfortunately, the PS5 version has been delayed due to “unforeseen complications which have arisen during the submissions and approvals process.” A new release date will be announced when possible.
UEFA Club Competitions License
This year features the UEFA Club Competitions, including UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League, all fully licensed. Along with two different anthems, the pre-match lineups and scoreboards will mirror their TV counterparts. UEFA Club Competition branding can also be seen on the lower thirds for goals, substitutions and cards, while unique walkout scenes and music are also included. Format changes for the 2024/25 season will also be reflected.
With the UEFA Club Competition Licence comes a revamp of Cup Draws. Players will receive different fan mail about ideal opponents, and upon hitting “Start Draw,” a Live Reaction feed with info on the teams and fan reactions will play. You can then view all the teams, allowing you to decide which is more favorable. The Draws are divided into two screens – Live Draw, which features the match in real-time (with a host providing details), and the Overview for the overall state of play. If you want to speed things up, you can skip to the next team or your team’s draw.
Manager Creation Improvements
Since this is a game about managing football, it only makes sense that you should have more creative freedom around designing your manager. Football Manager 2023 offers six new male and six new female hairstyles, new suits and coats, and even more casual outfits like jeans and a polo. Accessories like watches, earrings, and scarves have also been added for more customization.
The Squad Planner is a new interface for assessing your current formation tactic. Your assistant manager will also list up to three players for each role, allowing you to see the options available. From here, you can decide who should be higher or lower and add players from transfer shortlists and youth teams. Changing tactics allows you to know just how prepared you are with the current roster available, and the best part is, no one’s morale will plummet because all this information is for your eyes only.
AI Manager Improvements
Though you’ll have more tools for getting the job done, AI managers won’t be sitting on their laurels. Various improvements ensure they’re handling an in-form team seriously, changing tactics accordingly, and pursuing leads. Depending on their attributes, different managers will have unique styles of play to match.
Social media was probably a mistake, but in Football Manager 2023, it’s a key asset in the new Supporter Confidence system. You’ll learn more about your fanbase, which consists of six different types – Hardcore, Core, Family, Fair Weather, Corporation, and Casual. Each has different loyalties, expectations, and priorities, like Fair Weather fans being impatient for success and less likely to stick around for teams trying to stave off relegation.
You can also monitor fan feedback on transfer activities, tactics, match performance, and so on, along with what they think of you. Managing those expectations, especially before each match, while balancing what the board wants is important.
Data Hub Improvements
Added in last year’s iteration, the Data Hub has even more information on player performance this time around, along with various improvements. Expected Assists or xA is new, and you can view its impact in several ways, from scatter graphs to open play xA vs actual assists and open play xA vs Pass Success percentage. New statistics like open-play crosses and Progressive Passes, per 90 minutes metrics, Passing Dynamic graphs, and more have also been added. You can also choose to show all visual data at once or customize what’s showcased at any given time.
Dynamic Manager Timeline
If you’ve ever wanted to look back on your career’s achievements, the Dynamic Manager Timeline looks promising. It keeps track of different milestones, whether it’s a player nominated for an award or big wins. There are over 50 Event types available, providing a better view of the various highs and lows of a team.
Versus Mode Improvements
Versus Mode has a dedicated leaderboard now, allowing one to filter by friends and all-time performance. You can also auto-export teams from Career Mode when a season ends and bring them straight into Versus. The number of substitutes can also be customized, along with what you want to do in extra time.
Pre-Match Briefing Changes
Pre-match briefings have also seen some changes, with your Assistant Manager offering feedback on players in a more holistic manner. Their reactions will be presented in a three-column grid, letting you see their frustrations, emotions, and more. If multiple players are acting the same, the most influential player stands out.
Major League Soccer, or MLS, is also receiving some changes to better reflect the North American experience, like the Under-22 initiative for signing three players under 22 years for a reduced salary cap charge. Canadian clubs now also get three additional “tenured” slots for players who have been in the league for three years (but are non-tradeable). Canadian youth players trained in Canada or the USA are also now considered domestic instead of international for teams in the US.
Early Access Beta
If you’re keen on playing the game early, then good news – pre-purchasing it on Steam and the Epic Games Store lets you play the early access beta before release. This is a “nearly complete” version with pretty much all the features available. It currently has an 86 percent “Very Positive” rating on Steam from 1,379 user reviews.
Only the minimum requirements are available, but that was the case last year as well. If you’ve played Football Manager 2022 on PC, then the requirements for this year’s edition are more or less the same. You’ll need an Intel Core 2 or AMD Athlon 64 X2 CPU, 4 GB RAM, and either an Intel GMA X4500, an Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT or an AMD/ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650. Only 7 GB of installation space is required.