Football Manager 2018 will include openly gay players-despite the fact homosexuality in modern professional football/soccer remains grossly stigmatised.
Despite it being “rare”, the feature is tied to the game’s computer-generated youngsters who bolster the player database year-upon-year as its real life players retire. When a player comes out, Sports Interactive’s Miles Jacobson tells the BBC, you’ll receive a news item in your inbox. After that, your commercial director will speak of boosted revenues as a result of interest from the LGBT community.
Jacobson says one of the reasons the feature was included is because real life LGBT football players exist, despite the silence and perceived taboo. He and Sports Interactive liaised with anti-discrimination group Kick it Out and feel what they’ve created is a fair representation of how it might happen in real life.
“I just think it’s crazy that in 2017 we are in a world where people can’t be themselves,” says Jacobson. “[In reality] it will be: Right, OK, let’s move on. Everything will carry on perfectly normally, because that’s what we’ve have seen happen elsewhere. It’s not a message that everyone is going to see in their game. It is quite rare, but we want it to be seen as a positive thing.
“We also had to take some legal advice, because in some countries that are less forward-thinking than the UK, it is still illegal to be gay. In those cases we have simply respected their laws, so if a player is based in one of those countries, the player won’t come out.
“Being gay is just a totally normal thing in life, and it’s the right thing to put it in the game because it’s something that we’re going to be seeing in the future.”