Developer Sports Interactive has promised that there will be much more emphasis on locker room dynamics in the upcoming Football Manager 2018. In an interview about the game with BBC Sport, the developers state that certain players will come out as gay throughout the course of your coaching career.
A handful of players in major football (that’s soccer, yanks) leagues have come out as gay, but always after they have retired. No existing players will come out in Football Manager 2018, but as in-game players retire and leave the system, they will be replaced with newgens, fictional youngsters to fill the gaps so your career can continue indefinitely. These newgens can rarely announce their sexuality. This will provide a boost in revenue as the game’s LGBT community becomes more interested in your club.
Other than that, a player’s sexuality will have no bearing on other things in the game. In an interview, the developers state that this is just another layer to the immersion that Football Manager 2018 provides. Game Director, Miles Jacobs, told BBC Sport:
Part of the reason we decided to do this is because there are gay footballers. We know from the amount of professionals that there has to be players who are gay but feel they don’t want to come out. I find it weird that it’s still a problem in football so we decided to try and show people that coming out isn’t a big deal and can be a positive thing. I just think it’s crazy that in 2017 we are in a world where people can’t be themselves.
Sports Interactive and Sega are trying to change the world, one gay digital footballer at a time. It’s a small detail, but Jacobs raises a good point: statistically, there must be gay football players. Maybe Football Manager 2018 can play a part in changing the stigma surrounding these ideas and begin the conversation for creating a safe place for gay athletes.
Football Manager 2018 is the latest in the long-running series of sports management simulations. It is available in beta to anyone who preordered the game. Its full release is November 10 on PC.