Football Manager is a game which, although relatively niche in the grand scheme of videogame interests, rarely leaves Steam's list of top ten most played games throughout the year.
The latest instalment is due on Friday, but developer Sports Interactive has this time come under fire from a sizeable amount of Asian players who expected Chinese localisation—the result of an old tweet from SI's Miles Jacobson that suggested a translation may occur if it sold a certain amount in that area. Citing Steam Spy data as proof, these players think it has hit this threshold, however Jacobson told gamesindustry.biz such data is "very, very very false" and can be "up to 60 percent wrong" in certain cases.
Steam has in turn been flooded with negative reviews ahead of release, however Jacobson suggests the game's beta has an 87 rating on Valve's digital distribution platform, translation issues aside. "I have to be very careful on this subject, because I have had death threats over this," he tells gamesindustry.biz. "I don't mind, well I do mind, but I'm quite used to getting death threats over a video game. But when people start bringing my family into it, that's not good.
"When people are accusing me of being racist, as someone who is an ambassador for Kick Racism Out Of Football, that's not great. Because I'm not racist, and I don't think death threats over a video game are acceptable, and attacking someone's family is really, really not acceptable."
Another outcome which has brought more attention to Football Manager 2017 than planned is Jacobson's decision to implement scenarios resultant of the UK's recent decision to part with the European Union. Jacobson maintains this was by no means a PR or publicity stunt, and in actual fact makes sense in-game.
"We put the feature into the game because it is part of our lives, and it is going to happen. The feature was designed the weekend after the vote and it was mainly done by me. I sat on my sofa, reading loads of reports, and I was trying to work out how it would affect things," he adds. "I had already looked at what it meant for us as a studio, especially as 30 percent of our most skilled team members here are from the EU.
"I think once people have seen it in game, and experienced it, they'll either love it or hate it, depending on the scenario the they get. In my current game, I've got a situation where we have had a Hard Brexit, but it's the lighter side of the Hard Brexit. So all EU players have to get work permits, but the chances of them getting work permits have actually risen compared to how the system works currently. So I can still sign players for my Watford team, so it's ok for me."
Jacobson's interview with gamesindustry.biz is definitely worth visiting in full—head this way for that. Football Manager 2017 is due on Friday, November 4.