What happened to LMA Manager and why do we need it to combat the all-conquering Football Manager? Pause Resume’s ball kicking expert explains …
It was once the premiere console-management sim but it’s now been ten years since the last LMA Manager was released.
From 1999 to 2007 it released a version every year, without fail. For its time, it was more visually impressive than the defacto title in that genre: Championship Manager (which went on to be known as Football Manager) but it didn’t have the in-depth statistics and player data of its rival. What it gave up in raw numbers, it more than made up for in personality.
The LMA Manager series was visually stimulating for players at a time when the popular Championship Manager focused on text-based commentary in order to portray matches. From its match engine to stadium builder and even cup draws, LMA Manager was visually rich and just a simple animation showing three old boys drawing balls from a bag can get any football geek smiling.
Where it did lack though was in its depth, with only the major European leagues covered. Gems from some of the world’s smaller leagues were out with your reach, meaning that you had a limited pool of talent to contend with. In some ways though, it made it more of a challenge.
LMA Manager’s simplicity in running a football club is somewhat missed. Starting a game of Football Manager these days can often see you lose ten hours before you even get to your first competitive match. You’re tasked with not only the buying and selling of players but also their morale, training schedules and even whether you want them to sack their agent or not. For those who want to, they can immerse themselves in a world of football, having complete control over every facet of their football club. For many players though, Football Manager’s move towards an intense hands-on approach is at odds with what many players who pick the game up want to do. Sure, there’s Football Manager Touch which provides a simplified version of the game but it’s second fiddle and feels like a knock-off of the full-fat version.
These days, the true alternatives to LMA Manager’s simplified approach are found in Pro Evo’s Master League and FIFA’s Manager Modes. However, whenever you put your hands on your controller you’re controlling the players and no matter what bad moves you make in the transfer market if you’re good at the basics of either game when it comes to controlling players on the pitch, the likelihood is that you won’t be punished.
With the licences sewn up by EA Sports FIFA series for the foreseeable future and the Football Manager juggernaut rolling on, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a console management sim to rival the two anytime soon. Which, is a crying shame.
Will we ever see the much-beloved LMA series return? Right now, it looks doubtful. We reached out to Codemasters to ask them and received the dreaded “No plans at this time” response when it comes to producing a new football management game.
Codemasters have moved on from their LMA days to focus on driving games while Football Manager appears to have monopolised the football management market. Surely though, if any game can carve out its own slice of the market though it’s the LMA series? Hopefully, one day, we’ll see its return.