Football Manager 2021 sees a significant overhaul to the interaction system that puts you right in the middle of your football club with all the tools you need to make a difference.
The way you communicate with your players and the media has changed considerably and will have more of an impact across the whole game.
You’ll feel more in control of the interactions you’re involved in with more tools at your disposal to get your point across, understand where others are coming from and communicate more effectively whether you’re in a one-on-one discussion, a team meeting or a press conference.
As per usual we’ve worked closely with football professionals to make the game as realistic as possible. Throughout the development of the new-look interaction system we’ve been in regular contact with managers, coaches and players on both the content of conversations and the different approaches used in the real world. This has all helped to shape an ambitious overhaul that brings together new forms of communication and significant changes to the existing interaction systems.
With this revamp, there are some new interactions and improvements to the existing interactions. So, whilst some of the interactions you see will be familiar, there are others which you won’t have seen before, and some that have been tailored specifically to the new systems. And there are also significant improvements to the AI and the way the characters in game react to the interactions – not just you as a manager and the journalists you'll interact with, but the board too, who offer feedback via your press officer – all of which sets things up nicely for future versions of the game and expansions in the future.
Here are the major additions and improvements that we’re going to be covering:
- Quick Chats
- Press Conferences
- Face to Face Conversations
We’ve waved goodbye to the previous systems and in their place welcome Gestures with open arms. Gestures are a brand new way to expand on what you’re saying and help create more detailed interactions with players and the media.
With the new Gesture system, you’re able to emphasise how you’re communicating through non-verbal signals.
You have different Gestures to choose from depending on the situation you’re in, whether you’re heading into a positive or negative interaction. So, if you’re giving a team-talk you’ll have a host of more expressive and emotive Gestures available to you that are designed to motivate and prompt a reaction from your players. Don’t worry, you can still lose your temper when you’re trailing at half-time, only now you’ll be throwing a water bottle across the room to show how annoyed you are.
Likewise, in more public situations, you’ll probably want to be more restrained – so the gestures available in press conferences and interviews will (mostly) reflect appropriate managerial behaviour.
Gestures give you much more control over the relationships you want to build in-game. So, if you're a manager who likes to utilise the media... listen up. Media darlings can use gestures that show you're both animated and interested in a journalist’s questions. Likewise, if you’d rather keep the press at arm’s length then simply choose from the more abrasive gestures to make it clear you’d rather be anywhere than in the press room...
The Gestures you choose not only prompt a reaction from the people gathered in the room that’s much more noticeable than ever before but also influence how what you’ve said is received by those in attendance. Just like in real life your behaviour is as important as the things you say.
The world is more connected than ever and that’s just as true in football. We know from those involved in the game that more conversations are taking place away from face-to-face, in-person settings. So, in FM21, we’ve revamped our previous individual chat system with what we call the Quick Chat system, that you can use to talk to players, journalists and opposition managers.
Quick Chats replicate the sort of short, informal interactions that don’t need a full meeting or press conference. These might happen in person or remotely, in a modern, familiar chat popup, and can trigger in relation to a wide variety of topics.
For example, you might have a Remote Quick Chat with a journalist who is trying to get the inside story on a transfer rumour surrounding your club, or you’ll have an In-Person Quick Chat with a player to praise them for how they’ve been performing in training or if you want to ask them to actively look for a new club.
During in-person Quick Chats, you’ll be able to select a Gesture to greet the player you’re talking to and they will react to that gesture in turn. Gestures enhance the FM interaction experience, allowing you to try to define the type of atmosphere you want a conversation to take place in.
In previous games, all interactions took place in a separate space, away from the screen you were looking at, but Quick Chats take place in a window that overlays the current game screen you’re on.
Quick Chats can take place with players who are out on loan too. You can check in with your young stars to see how happy they are with their loan spell or, if you’re disappointed with the amount of minutes your player’s getting, you could have a remote quick chat with the team’s manager to sort it out.
You’ll be prompted to start a Quick Chat in relevant news items, but you can also initiate one with any of your players at any time through the ‘Discuss’ menu on the player profile.
You won’t be wanting to send your assistant to do your weekly press conference in FM21. This year, we’ve radically redesigned them from top to bottom. Everything is laid out in a much cleaner way and the interaction between you and the assembled journalists looks and feels more meaningful and realistic.
Before you head in to face the waiting media, you will be given a briefing by your Press Officer as part of the pre-Press Conference news item. This briefing will list any notable journalists in attendance, the expected topics of discussion and, most important of all, any topics that your Press Officer either wants you to expand upon or avoid.
When you step into the press room, you’ll see the journalists displayed on screen in the form of icons with details of the publications and sources they represent. Questions will appear as speech bubbles alongside their icons so it’s easy to quickly see who you’re talking to and where they come from.
Your Press Officer will join you in the press conference, chairing the session and deciding which journalists get to ask questions. You’ll occasionally be joined by your captain or a team leader, usually around big matches. You can view the body language of those sat alongside you too for an indication of how well everything’s going.
Gestures have been incorporated into press conferences too, giving you the ability to either physically demonstrate how you feel about certain questions or play it cool and give nothing away. If you’re the sort of manager who tends to respond with a ‘no comment’ then you can now show your frustration when journalists repeatedly ask you for an answer.
The journalists' body language and their reactions to your comments and gestures have been brought to the fore in FM21 too. Not only will you be able to see each individual journalist’s body language but the addition of Press Atmosphere helps you gauge the mood of the room and see the effect your answers are having. You’ll need to give insightful and interesting responses to their questions to keep them engaged and interested.
We’ve also improved many of the existing elements within press conferences. You’ll now be given more contextual information on the topics you’re asked about. For example, if questioned about your upcoming opponent you’ll be able to see their recent form as well as their league position. We’ve also added more new questions and responses to add variety and, to help quickly scan possible answers, we’ve categorised responses under headers to show the general message you’d be sending with any chosen response.
At the end of each press conference you’ll now receive a summary from your Press Officer. This will include any notable highlights, changes to your relationships with individual journalists based on how they responded to your answers, and feedback from the board on how they feel you handled any discussion topics you were advised to avoid.
Face to Face Conversations
Though informal and remote interactions have become more commonplace in the last few years, there are still plenty of occasions when you’ll need to have a face-to-face conversation with people involved at your club - for example, if you're asking a player to reduce their wage demands. In FM21, these types of interactions have seen some of the most extensive improvements.
For a start, these conversations can now include more than one other person, with multiple attendees now present in many interactions. Let’s say you’re meeting to discuss playing time with a first-team player who feels like they’re not getting enough minutes on the pitch. In FM21, they may look to bring their agent into the meeting with you, while you might have your Assistant or Director of Football sitting beside you. Just what you need when you’re under pressure…
You can also now observe how each person in the meeting reacts to the conversation through their personal body language, displayed in the same way as for journalists in press conferences. Your possible answers will be categorised here too, just like in press conferences, to help you find the response you’re looking for quickly.
At the end of these face-to-face conversations, you’ll receive a meeting summary from a relevant staff member to recap how the meeting went, any actions that have been taken as a result and any promises you made over the course of the chat.
You’ll also notice we’ve expanded the number of 3D background locations in FM21 to bring a sense of location and realism to all your interactions around the club. You'll have conversations with players and backroom staff in your very own Manager's Office, motivate and instruct your Team and plan with Staff in Team Meeting Spaces and sit down with potential new employers in the Boardroom at clubs wherever your career takes you.
The Final Word
The new methods of communication and improvements to existing interaction systems in FM21 will truly enhance the immersive experience of the game. From match days to transfer windows, press conferences to team talks, Interaction immerses you in your FM world and binds you to the people within it. Will you lose the room or play it cool? You decide.
For more examples of new interactions, check out the accompanying feature blogs here for more information. We’ll also be revealing even more Interaction improvements in our remaining feature reveals over the coming weeks.