With the release of Football Manager 2005 being bought forward a day to November 4th, we caught up with Marc Duffy of developer Sports Interactive, for a pre-match interview before rushing out on to the pitch.


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GamesPaper: So as readers who might not have been closely following the development of Football Manager 2005 know what to expect from the game, can you explain some of the main changes/additions since Championship Manager 4?

Marc Duffy: Football Manager has a fresh and intuative interface as well as boasting more leagues, more players, more teams and more control than any of our previous titles. We've spent a lot of time on the 2D Match engine as well as implemeting a media engine unrivalled in Football Management games. It allows you to build relationships with other managers and react to events that happen in the game, such as your star striker breaking his leg and being out of the season. Additionally, another area which got some major attention was the international management side of the game which makes for an entralling challenge.


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GamesPaper: There seems to be much more interactivity in FM2005, such as talking to the press can lead to your comments filtering through to rival managers who might go and spur on their players to peform that bit better during the next match - what sort of new possibilities does this open up?

Marc Duffy: The main and most noticeable possibility is building relationships with other managers. You may find yourself involved in a fued with a fellow manager in the run up to, and after a big game - or you simply might state how much you respect a fellow manager given his resources available. Your players can sometimes hang off of every word you say (and what others say about you or your team) so it is sometimes wise to say nothing at all.


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GamesPaper: Every football fan believes they can do better than their club's manager... do you forsee the day that real clubs are maybe run via fans sitting at home on their computers as the simulations get more technically advanced?

Marc Duffy: Tough one. What I can forsee is even more players of Football Manager 2005 applying for real life jobs based on their in-game experiences. I think some clubs might to well to listen to these boys though!!!


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GamesPaper: Are we likely to see Football Manager 2005 coming to the Xbox and what major changes would be required?

Marc Duffy: It's not something on the immediate radar. We are actively looking at new technologies and platforms and our R&D department are locked away checking many things out. Watch this space!


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GamesPaper: Finally, what can we expect from the Football Manager series in the future?

Marc Duffy: We're never ever happy, we collect feature requests daily from our forums and we have a rather large internal document of ideas. I guess the most immediate and most noticeable features will be even more media enhancement and 2D engine changes. One of the problems we face is keeping up with the changing face of Football, it's amazing whats happened in the 11 or so years we have been going - but long may it continue.

Football Manager 2005 is available now, published by Sega, and if you fancy your chances of managing a squad players of players from a selection of over 5,000 teams from around the world, then you can find out more on the official website.