Championship Manager series

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The Championship Manager series is a series of British football-management simulation computer games, the first of which was released in 1992.

The Championship Manager brand and game was conceived by two brothers: Paul and Oliver Collyer. In a scenario typical of many self-made computer game programming teams in the early days of the industry, the original Championship Manager game was written from their bedroom in Shropshire, England.[1] The brothers subsequently founded a development company to take the game further, Sports Interactive, and moved to Islington, North London. Championship Manager became the most popular football management sim of the later 1990s and early 2000s, regularly setting sales records.[2]

In 2003, Sports Interactive split with Eidos, the publishers of Championship Manager.[3] Sports Interactive retained the game's database and match engine, producing a new game based on these titled Football Manager. Edios retained the name and interface, with BGS taking over the development of Championship Manager. Although the two series initially ran alongside one another, the sales of Championship Manager began to fall below those of Football Manager. The most recent full version of Championship Manager was Championship Manager 2010.

Square Enix Europe, owners of the brand after purchasing Eidos, currently release management simulators under the title of Champ Man for iOS and Android handheld systems.[4]

Championship Manager[edit]

Main article: Championship Manager

The release of the first version of the game was not an outstanding success, and sales were steady rather than spectacular. Reviews ranged from the encouraging to the dismissive; the original game was written in BASIC, a programming language not well suited to programming high-performance computer games. Other limitations included the fact that generated names were used for each team, whereas its key competitors of the time, such as Premier Manager and The Manager, included real players in the game.

Championship Manager '93[edit]

The release of Championship Manager '93 one year later built on the original game, ported to the C programming language, adding a real life player database and other features. By now Championship Manager had built a large following amongst hardened football fans all over the UK. This was reviewed many times around July 1993 from its release in around May 1993.

Championship Manager Italia[edit]

The CM93/94 engine was the basis for Championship Manager Italia. This was a version that simulated the top two divisions of Italian football (Serie A and Serie B). There was also a 1995 seasonal update released for this game.

Championship Manager '93 Data Up-Date Disks[edit]

The success of Championship Manager '93 spurred the release of two update disks, the first "contains every transfer, promotion, relegation and manager changes." for the beginning of the '93/'94 season which is known as "The 1993/94 Season Data Up-Date Disk". The update required the original Championship Manager '93 disks, three blank disks and the Championship Manager '93/'94 Season Data Up-Date Disk disk. This was released around September 1993.

The second of the two update disks is known as "End of 1994 Season Data Up-Date Disk." which "Includes all the latest player transfers. All the play-off results. End of season player stats" for the season 1993/1994. This was released around the end of season 1993/1994.

Championship Manager 2[edit]

If the Championship Manager 1.x series laid the groundwork, the success of the franchise went stratospheric with the release of Championship Manager 2 in September 1995. The game again included up to date squads for each team, added photos of each ground to build an atmosphere of the teams you were managing/visiting, and included a now infamous in-match commentary engine with the voice of Clive Tyldesley.

Two seasonal updates followed over the next two years.

Championship Manager 96/97[edit]

Championship Manager 96/97 was released in 1996 and was the first game to feature a non-British league as playable in the standard game - in this case the Italian leagues. It also included several rule changes to reflect the many changes going on in the real life world of football at that time, such as the Bosman ruling.

Championship Manager 97/98[edit]

Released in 1997, this version of the game included nine leagues from around the world, three of which could be run simultaneously, new competition formats to follow those implemented in reality, and many more tactical options. The game remains very popular amongst fans of the series, mainly for its simplicity compared to the huge, processor-intensive games that the series has since developed into.

Championship Manager 3[edit]

This was the first of the seasonal updates to CM3. It also included more media involvement, board interaction and improved scouting functions.

Championship Manager: Season 99/00[edit]

This update saw the American MLS added to the list of playable leagues. It also added the World Club Championship to the equation.

Championship Manager: Season 00/01[edit]

Ten more playable leagues were introduced for this version, including Australia, Greece, Northern Ireland, Russia and Wales. It was also the first version of the game to come with an official data editor - something which has been continued for all subsequent versions.

Championship Manager: Season 01/02[edit]

No new playable leagues were added to this version of CM (until a patch was later released that added South Korea's K-League to the game) allowing the developers to fine tune the game's mechanics. CM 01/02 also contained one of the most infamous players in CM history - the fictional Tó Madeira. The game was released as freeware in December 2008.[5]

In April 2002, Sports Interactive took the decision to move away from the PC platform for the first time since CM2, producing a version of CM01/02 for the Xbox. The success of the game saw a follow up, CM02/03 released seven months later.

01/02 is considered the best of this generation of Championship Manager games, with some preferring it to the successor series Football Manager. There is an extensive modding community online that intend to keep the game up to date with current squads and seasons.

Championship Manager 4[edit]

What all CM fans were waiting for, however, was Championship Manager 4. Released on March 28, 2003, CM4 broke all records on its release becoming, at that time, the fastest-selling PC game ever on its first day of release. By now its fame was international; encompassing fans via online communities and buy-in through the additional leagues in the game. CM4 included thirty-nine playable leagues, plus four more in its update, CM03/04. On the gameplay side, a top-down view of the match engine was included for the first time, a significant shift from the "imagination" philosophy championed by Sports Interactive previously.

Despite its high sales, CM4 was generally not well received by hardcore fans for several reasons. The game ran quite slowly on computers which had previously had no difficulty in running CM games (a common issue with software). The original release contained some functional bugs which in some cases rendered the game farcical - the score in matches could randomly change and lower division clubs were able to sign superstars with ease. In one bug, non-league club Northwich Victoria would move to a stadium with a capacity of 850,000. Sports Interactive also irritated some fans with the euphemistic term "Enhancement Packs" used to describe what were essentially patches to fix the bugs in the original release. This term was dropped for future releases.

Championship Manager: Season 03/04[edit]

This was the final CM game to be developed by the founding fathers of the series, Sports Interactive, before they were forced to start a new franchise under the name Football Manager. CM03/04 ironed out many of the problems seen in CM4 as well as adding new features and more new playable leagues to the game's already bulging portfolio.

The Eidos / Sports Interactive split[edit]

The creators of Championship Manager, SI Games, split with publishers Eidos, and signed a deal with Sega, to continue the series under the new name, Football Manager. After the split, both parties kept their intellectual property. SI Games kept the base code, the game database and programming of the game, whilst Eidos kept the name "Championship Manager" and its interface.

The reasons for the split have never been revealed, although it is generally felt that Sports Interactive enjoy far greater creative freedom under Sega. Nine years later it was revealed in an interview that there are legal reasons why it can't be discussed, but permission was given to shed some light on SI Game's side of the story.[6]

The former working partners are now in direct competition - Eidos and Beautiful Game Studios producing future Championship Manager titles, and Sega and Sports Interactive with Football Manager.

Although under a different name, Football Manager is very similar in gameplay terms to the previous CM games and preferred by original CM gamers, whereas CM5 is a totally new game due to it being written almost from scratch by a new development team.

Championship Manager 5[edit]

This was the first version in the series to be developed in-house by Eidos. Both Football Manager 2005 (FM2005) and Championship Manager 5 were slated for a release date of October or November 2004. However, the release date of Championship Manager 5 was put back by Eidos to March 2005, due to the extent of work discovered in coding the game from scratch. This allowed Football Manager 2005 a clear run to establish itself ahead of the release of CM5.

Championship Manager PSP[edit]

Championship Manager PSP was released exclusively on the Sony PSP in December 2005. It was developed by Gusto Games and was the first game in the series ever to be released on a handheld system.

Championship Manager Online[edit]

This is the first online version of either Championship Manager or Football Manager, and was launched in UK on February 22, 2005. CM-Online is still closed due to Eidos changing hands. This has been an unpopular decision and has brought about many of the CM Online community to start up a Facebook petition to save the game.

Championship Manager 2006[edit]

The follow-up to Championship Manager 5 was released on PC on March 31, 2006 under the name Championship Manager 2006.

Again, this version did little to reverse the growing gap in quality between CM and Football Manager. Basic features that had been a staple of the latter from over a decade, such as international management, were missing from the boxed version of CM 2006.

November 10, 2006, saw the arrival of CM2006 (with CM5 not being ported) on Macintosh. CM2007 is also planned for release on the Mac OS X platform, in 2007.

Championship Manager 2007[edit]

Championship Manager 2007 was released on 13-10-2006.

Championship Manager 2008[edit]

Championship Manager 2008 was released on 2 November 2007. Users can now play in a multi-player mode, meaning that they can have more than one person on an account. Also, users can manage nations and can apply "Club Benefactor", which lets the user have more money, although these additions were added in the previous Championship Manager. Another feature is the addition of more leagues – for example, the Australian League – player tendencies and team talks.

Championship Manager 2010[edit]

Championship Manager 2010 was originally planned for a release in 24 April 2009,[7] however Eidos Interactive released the game on September 11, 2009. A fully 3D match engine (using motion-captured movements to provide more than 500 animations per player) was implemented for the first time, and it was announced on February 6 that new English Leagues, the Isthmian, Southern and Northern Premier Leagues would be included in the game, as well as Croatian, Romanian, Irish and Northern Irish Leagues. The German league system was also restructured for this edition, including the 3rd Liga and 3 Regionalliga.[8] The game was released 11 September with a demo version being available on the website from 14 August.

On 18 August a "pay what you want for Championship Manager 2010" promotion was announced whereby between 18 August and 10 September a digital copy of the game could be pre-ordered from Championship Manager store and was then available for download on the day of launch, 10 September. Each customer set the price they were willing to pay in addition to a £2.50 transaction fee. [9]

Championship Manager World Challenge[edit]

On 18 May 2010 Eidos Interactive and the company GameAccount released an online betting version of its game. The game is available to play for free or with money on several betting sites,[which?] however saving your progress is only available in paid games.[citation needed]

Championship Manager 2011[edit]

In October 2010, Beautiful Game Studios published the latest edition of Championship Manager as an exclusive on the Apple iOS platform alongside an announcement that the game would not be coming to the PC for the 2010/11 football season. The latest version of the game can be purchased around the world from iTunes.

Championship Manager: World of Football[edit]

A new game, Championship Manager: World of Football (a collaboration between Beautiful Game Studios and Shanda Games), was announced by Square Enix, although no new information has been released ever since.[10]

Champ Man 14[edit]

Championship Manager 2014, now referred to as Champ Man 14, was released on October 15, 2013 for mobile phones.[11]

Champ Man 15[edit]

Champ Man 15 was released on August 18, 2014 for mobile phones.[12]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]