Focus On FIFA – Part 2: Manager Mode and Coverage of Leagues

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If you have been a frequent visitor to then you might have seen our initial piece for our “Focus On FIFA” series. Here is part 2.

Manager Mode

The staple of FIFA’s offline play. A considerably important feature for the FIFA video game franchise. Over the years it has had it’s ups and downs…plenty of downs. Here are a few:

Transfer Negotiations – In the Summer of 2010, Rangers spent a lot of time, effort and money to lure Nikica Jelavic from Rapid Vienna. Player fees were agreed then disagreed. “The goal posts were being moved” throughout negotiations until the player himself forced the move through and eventually Rangers got their star signing.

In FIFA 12, you wouldn’t get a chance to do all this due to the system that is implemented. If you bid for a player and the club knock it back more than once then you’re promptly told “This deal is clearly not going to happen. The deal is off” This is not realistic whatsoever and is really annoying. It’s either: meet the asking price or overbid before the “two strikes and your out” deal comes in force.

Transfers - Manager Mode
Robin Van Persie’s move away from Arsenal lasted throughout the Summer.

Another gripe of mine is the old “this player has just joined this team, he won’t move again.” which is absolute bollocks. Plenty of players have moved after being at a club for just 6 months. There is a rule however, which means that players can’t be registered for more than 3 clubs in one season. If this is the case then so be it, but not because he’s just been there for a few months! Ask Jean-Alain Boumsong about that one. A bosman signing for Rangers in the Summer of 2004 and left for Newcastle in January 2005 for £8m. I don’t think Graeme Souness got told by the Newcastle Utd board, “He’s only been there for a few months!”.

I would also like to see an addition of player-plus-transfer fee deals. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s transfer to Barcelona being one of the more notable examples. Another nice touch, (if it was to be added) would be the prospect of adding a friendly match into the deals. These deals could appeal to smaller clubs receiving offers from the bigger clubs for their star players and it is used as a sweetener to raise the smaller club a wee bit of extra cash with a glamour friendly at their ground.

In terms of selling your own players – I’d like the mechanism of telling any interested club my own valuation of the player in the hope that they would meet the said asking price – within reason of a proper evaluation of course!

Another detail which would be nice to see added is sell-on clauses in player contracts. These have become more prevalent in modern day football transfers where a player’s former club will get a slice of the pie of any future transfers of said player. For example: “Team A” sell “Player X” to “Team B” and as part of the deal,”Team A” get a 10% sell-on clause of any future sale. After a few years, “Player X” becomes a bit of a star and then “Team C” buy him from “Team B” for £10m. Therefore, “Team A” would get £1m from the deal and “Team B” get the remaining £9m.

Same Old Transfers – I have played several different Manager Mode careers and during the transfer windows I constantly see the exact same transfers happening each time. Wesley Sneijder and Jack Wilshere always end up at Manchester City. Carlos Tevez always goes to Inter Milan. Bastian Schweinsteiger transfers to Real Madrid. Daniel Agger is always on the move to Italy and Robinho seems to love Paris. This shows clear evidence of some sort of scripting. You may read that word more than once in our “Focus On FIFA” series!

Same old, same old.

Injuries and Suspensions – Another indication that there is some sort of scripting in this game. (Yep, there’s that word again!) After a while in Manager Mode, I start to simulate games to get the season going. Along the way, the CPU will assign a few suspensions to your squad after some matches, be it from: too many yellow cards accumulated or red cards. I have noticed that on many occasions, once your player’s suspensions expire you get a few convenient injuries to other players on the very same week. Another example is: one player is injured for, let’s say, 3 months. This time passes and on the same week that said player is declared fit to play again, another injury takes place for a similar amount of time, if not longer! The point being that the CPU always makes sure someone, somewhere is going to be missing a game.

One more thing I have noticed regarding the injuries in Manager Mode is the number of substitutions you have made in the game. If you have one substitute remaining in a game you can be sure an injury will strike, therefore, having to use up that last substitution remaining. However, if you make all of your substitutions, your players will not get injured. For some reason, there is no mechanism for a player no longer being able to play and therefore, me, having to finish the remainder of the match a man down. What I tend to do in Manager Mode when it comes to substitutes is, for example: I’m 3-0 up – I’ll take off my more important players and substitute them for players who need a bit of game time. You’re guaranteed not to get any injuries once you’ve used up all of your substitutes.

Press Conferences – This feature was added in FIFA 12 and it is extremely underwhelming. For starters: it’s the same generic three choices over and over again. “Praise”, “Unnerve” or select a player and pick “Praise” or “Motivate”. Then the game will churn out the generic standard spiel with the critical details changed to suit the scenario. Do these comments, motivations or “mind games” really make a difference in the game? If so, I certainly haven’t noticed a thing, other than the commentary during the match.

“The Special One” doesn’t seem to like FIFA 12 press conferences neither!

The SPL – This is thee single biggest gripe I have with FIFA’s Manager Mode. The last 5 games of the SPL season are determined by “the split”. The 12 teams in the league are split in half so that we have a “top 6” and a “bottom 6”. The teams in the top 6 play each other for the remaining 5 games and so forth for the bottom 6. It’s possible that the team who finishes 7th actually ends the season with more points than the team placed in 6th position! Let’s be honest, this system is miles better than Argentina’s league system but it is still a very controversial way to do things but it is the system implemented, so we have to grit our teeth and get on with it.

EA hasn’t though. For at least 2 years now, the SPL in Manager Mode has been f***ed due to their incompetence of implementing “the split”. What actually happens is: when you get to match 34, results, goal-scoring charts and everything else stop being recorded but you still have to play/simulate the remaining five games. All records stop. It’s essentially a 34 game season! This is shockingly bad and EA have been told about this for years now on their forums but nothing has been done to fix it. GET IT FIXED EA!

Balanced Coverage of Leagues

Some leagues are good, some are not so good. Some leagues are known for their defensive, tactical play and others are known for a more kick-and-rush style. However, most of the leagues in the FIFA series are just as important as each other. Sadly there is an imbalance of detail and coverage of leagues.

Stadiums – A massive topic of debate every year for FIFA fans – which new stadiums should be implemented in next year’s FIFA? Usually, we are let down in this area. You can always be assured that EA will have too many stadiums for the English Premier League. St. James’ Park was added when Newcastle were in the Championship! England have a total of 7 stadiums in FIFA 12 whereas Italy and France both have only 3. That’s less than half! It’s also about time they put a Scottish stadium back into the game or even a stadium from Turkey or South America, for example: Boca Juniors’ stadium, the Alberto J Armando Stadium.

Licensed Kits – One thing EA has always had over their competitors (Konami) in football games was licenses. Kits were one of the main things this fell under. However, EA have let a few teams slip through the net and have no licensed kit. There are a few teams in Brazil such as Internacional, who have a generic red kit in FIFA 12. This is a big club in South America who recently won the Copa Libertadores, but in FIFA they have no kit! A lot of goalkeepers out-with the top five leagues also have generic goalkeeper kits. Make an effort and get these kits added into the game. You’re not exactly short of money!

“Real” Faces – This is one area EA are improving on and are continuing to add more faces but this could be argued both ways. Neymar, Falcao and Edinson Cavani don’t have a face. Neither do Eden Hazard or Lucas MouraAngel Di Maria and Sergio Busquets have had generic coupons for a couple of years now and they are Real Madrid and Barcelona first team players! I could go on and on. However, there are a lot of smaller teams left out when it comes to “real” faces. There are a lot of other leagues in which players should have more “real” faces such as the Brazilian Serie A, the Russian Premier League and the SPL.

Stay tuned on for more of our “Focus On FIFA” articles and discussion on how to improve the FIFA series.

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