Women's soccer will arrive in Football Manager, although we don't know when: despite the high costs of the operation, the team believes in the novelty
The Football Manager team has been working for a while now on what is, to all intents and purposes, a historic turning point: women's soccer is ready to enrich the experience of fans of the most realistic soccer simulation of all.
Football Manager's project leaders have announced that the news is on its way, and that there won't be an FM dedicated to women's soccer only, but this will enrich the game as always. Moreover, they say they are aware that the novelty will cost millions in terms of development with a minimal economic return in the short term, but it doesn't matter. The goal is to help the women's movement gain the popularity it deserves among fans: "We believe in equality for all and we want to be part of the solution, to participate in the process that puts women's soccer on par with men's," they say with a hint of pride.
Ambitious project, but expensive
From Football Manager they admit that creating the database for women's soccer will be no walk in the park. "The current database took 28 years to develop and then we didn't stop; to add even one team we have to research a lot of information, let alone multiple leagues," they confess.
To create a women's database that reflects the standards Football Manager has become known for over time you have to look at every single attribute of the game, and clearly establish a yardstick to determine values. For example, speed, agility and acceleration will remain the same, but other parameters may require a different yardstick.
You have to start from scratch, among many questions
You also have to redesign animations such as cheers: "We have thousands of movements of male footballers from motion capture, but when we try to apply them to female footballers... well, it looks like they're moving like cowboys," due of course to the different physical structure.
So we have to start from scratch with motion capture and everything that comes with it, such as the subsequent cleaning of the data and its refinement to make it work in accordance with the game engine. "In addition - they write - our female 3D models in the game are not as advanced as the male versions and even the uniforms are different (again due to the different physical structure), so there is more work to be done there as well."
Not to mention then another difference between male and female soccer that concerns one of the most exciting aspects of Football Manager's game economy: the market, because the system of hiring and transfers between teams is different.
And then? How, for example, do we manage the impact of the menstrual cycle on training and injuries, in light of the literature showing a correlation? Or if there are pregnant players or even staff members, will a 3D model be needed for each phase? All of these steps and many more will take time to go through and will drive up costs.
Agreement with Leicester City Women
To support them, FM has already spoken to a number of potential commercial partners and has already agreed with Leicester City Women: so FM branding will end up on the bench and interview sheets for the club. However, in order for women's soccer to materialize within FM, patience is needed: there are no timelines yet.