First there was text commentary. Then a top-down 2D engine. Now, finally, after years of patient waiting, Football Manager's match engine is entering the third dimension on PC and Mac. Utilising motion capture footage borrowed from SEGA Japan's Virtua Striker, Football Manager 2009 is promising to deliver the visual realism that its stunningly detailed match engine so richly deserves.
The build that Eurogamer saw during the game's London launch party is still very much a work in progress, with just over 40 of the promised 100 player animations in place. The footage shows an isometric 3D viewpoint that encompasses the entire pitch, allowing for the easy monitoring of your team's performance (as with the 2D match engine). Purists will still be able to play FM09 entirely from the 2D match engine viewpoint, while developer Sports Interactive is also considering retaining the original text-only commentary option.