Football Manager 2022 to overhaul Fantasy Draft game mode

As Football Manager 2022’s official release date edges closer, Sports Interactive have published a new blog post breaking down some new manager customisation and Fantasy Draft features.

Sports Interactive released a teaser trailer in recent weeks, showing off some of the new features coming to this year’s title, including a brand new data hub, innovative tactics and new player positions.

Football Manager 2022 is set to be released on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, with Sports Interactive also confirming that Football Manager 2022 will return to Xbox for a second consecutive year, with an FM22 Xbox Edition, after a successful campaign last season.

Along with a brand new blog post being published, Football Manager director and executive producer, Miles Jacobson, has been releasing snippets of information on social media, getting FM fans excited ahead of the games official launch later this year. 

The Football Manager 2022 beta is expected to be released within the next week, with previous beta’s being available to play approximately two weeks before the official release date.

Read about the new features and upgrades coming to Football Manager 2022 below.

Football Manager 2022 Gameplay Upgrades

Manager Creation

We know that your manager’s appearance is a vital part of every Football Manager career. It’s a visual representation of how you see yourself, or how you’d see yourself looking if you were in the hotseat for real. Alternatively, it’s an opportunity for you to impersonate someone else entirely. Whatever look you choose, getting it just right is all part of the unparalleled immersion offered by FM.

For Football Manager 2022, the manager creation module has been redesigned, with new functionality giving you more tools to get your manager looking exactly the way you want them to.

More ways to customise your look

Once you’ve entered your manager’s key details, one of the first things you’ll notice is are further refined manager character models. Brand-new head meshes mean you’ll get five different facial shapes to work with as you bring your virtual self to life. Using the ‘Edit Face’ button, you can further fine-tune your look to get your manager looking the way you want them to.

Manager customisation has been upgraded for FM22.

If creating a male manager, the overhauled ‘Head’ section of the creator contains six tabs: Hair Style, Facial Shape, Facial Hair, Eyebrows, Eye Colour and Glasses. Of those, Facial Hair and Eyebrows are exciting new additions for FM22.

There are five different Eyebrow settings available, ranging from the minimal to thick and bushy. Likewise, you have several Facial Hair options at your disposal. You can opt for a moustache, a hipster beard, or a dashing combination of the two. You can, of course, keep them clean-shaven if that floats your boat.

A variety of facial hair options are available in FM22.

For those of you wanting a closer look at things, there’s a wider range of Glasses than ever before. Like a good optician, we’re here to help you settle on a style that suits your managerial needs perfectly.

We know how important getting your hair right can be and to reflect that, we’ve increased the range of available hair styles. Perhaps the most exciting addition to the manager creator is an RGB colour picker, providing you with literally hundreds of options to tinker with before finding your perfect fit. For those of you who are rocking a headband, you can now change the colour of that for the first time. Want to stick to a traditional tone or go for something out there that ensures you standout on the digital touchline? The choice is yours, gaffer.

Brand new hairstyle options in FM22.

When perfecting your manager’s Body settings, you’ll notice two significant changes for FM22. The first is that setting your manager’s skin tone is now done via a slider, providing greater representation and a better way for you to set their ethnicity.

Likewise, your manager’s weight is also now determined in the same way, instead of the numerical dropdown still in place for adjusting height. With a responsive model on the right-hand side of the screen, you can better visualise what your manager looks like.

Get the perfect touchline outfit

After settling on your manager’s physical appearance, it’s time to decide on your attire.

Unlike in the past, when you worked with a dropdown of the different outfits available, we’ve revamped this section of the manager creator so you can now see the 10 possible alternatives before choosing one. Like with the hair styles, the RGB colour picker at your disposal means you can craft a look that just encapsulates you and what you’d want your manager to look like.

Manager outfits have been revamped in FM22.

For those managers who’d rather fly under the radar, you’ll have a friend in the randomise button. Clicking that button metaphorically throws all the pieces that make up your manager’s look up in the air and sees how they land, providing you with a new profile that’s perhaps a little haphazard but certainly very different. Pink shirts, orange ties and green shoes? We’re completely onboard with it.

Your manager, your way

Our redesigned manager creator means that in FM22 you’ve got all the tools you need to craft your virtual self. Once you’re happy with your initial creation, it’s time to hit the space bar and begin your latest managerial journey.

If you change your mind about what you want to wear or you’ve got a new hair style you want to replicate, don’t worry. We’ve increased the visibility of the edit function in-game, meaning it’s easier for you to change your style wherever and whenever you want.

Fantasy Draft

The Fantasy Draft game mode was first introduced in Football Manager 2016, bringing a new way to play the game for the first time by drafting a dream squad and challenging your mates. Every year since then, we’ve added to it, improving the mode step-by-step.

In FM22, we’re introducing a raft of new features to the Fantasy Draft game mode including some frequently requested features from the community. We worked closely with some of the leading Football Manager content creators to ensure the features they wanted to see added were integrated into this year’s game, which we hope will make the experience of watching their online content even more enjoyable.

Let’s dive in and take a look at the changes.

New ways to setup your drafts

Upon creating your draft, you will now notice without first glance a few changes in the different options available during the draft setup. The idea behind this was to give more freedom to the users to do what they wanted, the way they wanted it.

Fantasy Draft gives more freedom to the user in FM22.

The first change we’ll pick out is the addition of a new format option: ‘Group Stage & Knockout’. As its name suggests, you will be able to create two, four or eight groups of four teams each, that will play out as a single round robin where each team plays the three other teams in the group once. At the end of this group stage, the two top teams from each group will then qualify in a classic knockout cup format. This game mode will allow you to spice things up a little bit between you and your friends.

Speaking of spicing things up, the budget options in FM22’s Fantasy Draft have been revamped. The slider will now allow you much more freedom, going to much lower values than previously existed but also higher, while we’ve added more budget options in the middle range too. And, of course, you will now see the ability to tick the option to have no budget limit whatsoever if you want to draft with no restrictions at all.

Lastly on the main draft setup screen, you will find a new button in the Advanced Settings panel, allowing you to choose if you want VAR to be active in your Fantasy Draft, as well as selecting the number of yellow cards a player will need to receive before they get a suspension for their next game.

Player selection restrictions

A popular feature request from our community has been to allow more customisation of the rules around drafting players. Many of you will have taken part in drafts where you agree on specific rules to pick your players – such as only drafting players under the age of 23 or players from certain nations. Now, in FM22, these rules can be incorporated into the draft as the host is able to customise the draft pool to include such restrictions.

Players can now add restrictions into Fantasy Draft in FM22.

This new menu will allow you to create restrictions for the entire draft using filters like Nationality, Value, Best Foot, League, Height, Position and of course, Age. You can also combine these to create a bespoke draft criteria to suit you. There’s also an And/Or option that you can use to add more options to the draft pool. The game will tell you in real time how many players will be available in the draft pool depending on your setup.

There’s a second option to customise your draft pool too as you can tie these restrictions to specific draft rounds. You’re able to set these to every five draft rounds, allowing you to create unique draft scenarios. Let’s say you still want to have a draft consisting of only English and French players. You might want to allow English players to be picked for the first five or ten draft rounds for example, and then allow French players to only be selected in the remaining rounds. Now you’re able to create the draft of your dreams.

Lastly, when you’re looking to join a draft, you will be able to see the restrictions in place in the lobby list, so you’ll know what you’ll be getting into.

Improvements to the draft process

The creation options aren’t the only improvements made to the game mode. For starters, in the lobby before the draft itself starts, the host will now be able to select the draft order themselves or leave it to the game to randomly decide.

During the draft itself, various changes have been made to make the experience smoother for everyone involved. Two of the most notable are that it’s now possible for the host to pause the entire draft should it be needed for any reason while we’ve also added in the ability to filter out any player that you can’t afford anymore with your remaining budget, letting you scroll through only your available targets.

Players can now pause the entire draft process at any time should they need to in FM22.

One of the biggest mid-draft elements we’ve made changes to is the Auto Pick function. We’ve significantly improved the logic behind Auto Pick so that it takes into account more information and makes more intelligent selections than ever before. You will be able to influence the Auto Pick function by selecting beforehand which position you want the game to select for you and, if possible, the Auto Pick will prioritise the players you have available in your shortlist that fit the bill. We’ve made the Auto Pick selection more immersive with a short animation to show you the card of the player picked for you. This improved logic will also improve the AI’s behaviour when making their picks as they’ll draft better quality squads and look to utilise their whole budget.

The best Fantasy Draft to date

The changes we’ve made to Fantasy Draft in FM22 make the increasingly popular game mode a more customisable and more enjoyable experience. With new ways to prove your managerial mettle against your mates and a refined draft structure, Fantasy Draft is the best it’s ever been in FM22.

What do you make of the new changes coming to Football Manager 2022? Let us know in the comments!

Football Manager (FM) is the world’s leading football management simulation title. With more than 50 countries to manage in and a database of over 800,000 players and staff it offers an incredibly detailed and immersive experience.

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