First look at Football Manager’s sexy new 3D matches

Yesterday evening we were invited to London by Sports Interactive for a very special announcement on Football Manager 2009. The headline news is that gaming%26rsquo;s premier footie management sim has finally signed a proper 3D match engine. And what%26rsquo;s more, we got a peak at an up-and-running early build of the new matches.

The new graphics engine is being developed by the guys behind Sega%26rsquo;s now defunct Virtua Striker series. What we saw wasn%26rsquo;t exactly on a par with FIFA %26ndash; it looked nice and chunky, although, with only around 40 animations, it also looked a little clunky. But the results were still a stratosphere away from the 2D dots of the past. And, with over a 100 unique animations promised for the final version, the days of imagining that promising young wingback netting his first screamer will become a reality you can actually watch. Insane purists will be glad to know, though, they can still choose the old 2D system.

Other new features include a transfer rumour system (similar to the one that sites like the BBC have), pre and post match press conferences, the ability to build up relationships with football hacks to generate positive media coverage, and a few new stat parameters thrown in for good measure: like squad harmony and club stature. Phew.

The last new, and particularly progressive feature, is you can finally play as a female football manager. So now you can follow in the footsteps of all those esteemed women managers in world football. Oh.

A PSP version is also in the pipeline, which will include a new revamped 2D match engine. Both versions are currently scheduled for a November 14th release.