Forget Madden and all its heavily armoured, deathly dull memory games. If you want real sports management, you want to manage a lowly team of journeymen to the top of the English Premier League - if you don't then you're in the wrong place - and you can pick up your helmet, padding and EPO down the hall.
With the beautiful game firmly in my mind and soul, I took a trip across to Sheffield to sit down with Zoo Digital Publishing and take a look at Premier Manager 08
For those not familiar with the Premier Manager
series, it's the charming, smiley brother in the family of the most quintessentially English of all games genres: football management. If Championship Manager
and Football Manager
are impenetrable pre-Lord of the Rings
Tolkein, then Premier Manager
is Harry Potter
. Fun, accessible and kid-friendly.
Instead of a complex interface that hurts your eyes as you try to understand it, Premier Manager
has a user-friendly hub that's never more than two clicks away. Instead of reams of figures hitting you on a daily basis, you'll find the progressor, an accessible daily update with your staff on hand to give you updates. Instead of dense text giving you information on your players skills, you'll find a new RPG-style graphical interface.
In short, Premier Manager
is set up as the friendly Saturday afternoon kick about to other footy management games' brutal Sunday league.
I could go on, but instead I'm going to turn you over to Jon Seymour, the Producer of PM
, and Andy Gray, Zoo's PR and marketing manager, to talk us through what this season has to offer.
So, what we tried to do this year, previous versions of Premier Manager
, it's just been a bit more 'press continue, watch the match'. Everything else was in the background, you could just leave it going and everything'd be hunky dory – your staff, your ground, your training centres.
So, what we've done tried to do this time is concentrate more on the stuff in the background to give you more stuff to do. A prime example of this is that we've put this new system in, it's called the character system.
With every character, whether that be a scout, a player, a trainer, a physio – they all have a base persona. It consists of characteristics: perception, willpower, memory, intelligence and charisma. Then a footballer has all the shooting, the tackling and so on.
The important thing we're trying to link in is you've got the primary characteristics and the secondary characteristics. You need perception and intelligence there. So, if I haven't got a trainer with strong intelligence and perception, I'm not going to get the best out of him.
What we do now is, there's a couple of things. We have a levelling up system. There are eight levels, going from level one to level eight. So we govern you: if you're a level four character we don't let you do anything above level four. You've got to work for it. It's kind of like a reward system. Every so often, your character will level up from his experience, and it'll be be: 'you've unlocked a new training centre'.
Before, on day one, if you had the money you could just go and get it.
There are eight skill levels to hit
We're trying to reward the user for actually playing the game and getting something from it, rather than being able to go to Man U, who've got shed-loads of cash, who can build or buy whatever they want.
What we've also done - there's the perception – there's the PWMICM (Perception, Willpower, Memory, Intelligence, Charisma). It's a graphical indication of how strong a facility is.
You might want to specialise in outfield or goalkeeping. So you can customise your training centre to get the best out of the area you want to train in.