Having received lots of feedback about Manager Mode in FIFA 10 the development team have been hard at work to bring to life the experience that users requested. Based on this feedback and the many suggestions from fans across the world Manager Mode is now changing to become Career Mode and has been built from scratch for FIFA 11.
Play through a footballer's career as a player, player-manager and then a manager. A brand new transfer system brings the ups and downs of the transfer window to life while the new calendar system means it is easier to plan your career, manage your squad or experience the thrill of breaking your way into the first team.
Players created using the new Creation Centre will be available to download into Career Mode so if you want you and your mates to all be a part of your favourite team and then manage them to ultimate glory, now you can.
There is also now a friend's leaderboard so you can see how you stack up against them in terms of stats and earnings throughout your career.
So the big question is; Player, Player-Manager or Manager? The choice is yours.
Career Mode in a bit more detail
Here in the office I've been fortunate enough to get access to an early build of Career Mode (playing as a Player-Manager) and so far it is a big change from FIFA 10. Things seem a lot slicker and refinements in a number of areas are definitely noticeable. So far I've taken Man Utd to Community Shield victory against Chelsea, signed Chiellini and Thiago Silva to replace the ageing Ferdinand and had a bid accepted for Benzema although I'm still to confirm personal terms with the player. Yes, you did read that right, "confirm personal terms with the player". The transfer system is now a two-stage negotiation where you agree a fee with the club in question and then have to agree terms with the player themselves. I've already had the experience of the club saying yes and the player saying no (Higuain) as he didn't want to move country.
There are now a few more search options in the transfer market with you being able to search for a primary attribute and a secondary attribute and respective ratings for them.
The main interface has changed dramatically and now has the look of an online "news portal", a bit like www.premierleague.com. You have a couple of news stories on display working in rotation, league ladder and top scorers lists on the right, career rating on the bottom left and then your menu options top left. The associated screenshot highlights this layout and as you progress through Career Mode you will become more familiar with it.
When changing days between matches the calendar now has a daily view and will stop progressing if there is an important action happening such as an email from a team interested in buying your player or something from the Board. You can easily see when the cup matches are, friendlies, international matches and your standard league matches. When you do get to a match and opt to Sim it there are a few new elements here as well. On the left of the screen you get both line-ups including substitutes and on the right you get a ticker updating you with important events from the match and a summary of key events from other matches happening at the same time. When you score, your players collect cards or get injured the left side of the screen updates with the appropriate symbol so you can easily see who has done what and who has been subbed.
On the side of injuries they are still there and have been tweaked as well. I got two injuries during the first match I simmed both of which were of different lengths; one 82 days and one 27 days. I got a news item on the main screen after the match telling me so and an email from the Coach drilling it in that these players would be unavailable and that I'd need to change my team selection accordingly. Injuries can also happen after matches, I played the Community Shield against Chelsea and got an email notification after winning that Rooney would be unavailable for a period having picked up a knock. Overall there are three types of injury; those that happen but aren't severe enough to sideline a player (stats reduced but can still play), those that sideline the player for a short period as they are unfit to play and those major injuries that can put a player out of action for months.
I'm still getting to grips with all the ins and outs but so far the changes that I have noticed are great and I'm enjoying playing it in the office. Look out for another article in the near future once I've guided Man Utd to victory and started a career as just a Player.